Think you don’t have time for the gym? Have an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to working out? The good news is—you can incorporate movement into your day with some easy approaches. They shouldn’t take the place of purposeful exercise, but instead can be an addition to regular movement or ways to incorporate it on days when, well, when life happens and things “get in the way.” Read on for some simple actionable steps to make this happen.
Busy lives should not equal no exercise
Most of us lead fairly busy lives. Our society is constantly moving and we do not always get to choose our schedule. We often have to be flexible and make adjustments to our plans. When I ask clients what their biggest obstacle is to maintaining a physically active lifestyle, they often respond with, “I’m too busy” or “I just don’t have the time.”
I’ve had clients tell me specifically that they don’t have the time to do the whole “gym thing”— travel time to and from the gym, working out, showering, and getting ready for the day. I get that. I am a working mom with two small children and I have learned that doing the typical gym routine doesn’t have to be the only way I incorporate movement and exercise into my everyday life.
So, what options do I have to incorporate movement into my day?
When I do not have time to go to the gym or it just feels like there is too much going on that is out of my control, I focus on adding movement in throughout my day.
We do not have to give up on our ability to be active simply because we do not have time for the gym. There is value and long term benefits to maintaining an active lifestyle and it is much easier than you think. At the end of the day, consider this main idea: some physical activity is better than nothing. If we adhere to this idea that physical activity is only limited to the gym or that we must have a minimum of 45 minutes of hard intensity for it to be considered a “workout,” then we are setting huge limitations and missing the big picture. Yes, ideally we would like to have consistent workouts. But if we have a week that is messy, then we want to make sure that we do not throw in the towel and do nothing, but rather find pockets of time to do something. Our bodies will thank us later.
What is the importance of having daily physical activity?
Physical activity has so much value outside of the most common benefits. Any individual, regardless of age, whether they are “healthy” or have a chronic health condition, will experience these benefits. Our bodies are meant to be moved. How we do it may look different and that’s expected.
Some physical benefits that we may achieve from movement
How to increase physical activity with limited time:
Steps: Let’s focus on the basics: walking. We walk everyday, whether it is from the bedroom to the bathroom, or the home office to kitchen table, from the car to the grocery store, steps are being taken. One of my favorite hacks to increase activity level is to lengthen my walking distance. This can be done by parking further away from the entrance of the store, doctors office, etc. Another strategy is to make multiple trips instead of one. For example, instead of grabbing all of your groceries from your car at once, take multiple trips. Two of my current favorite ways to include more steps is by doing standing chores back-to-back such as vacuuming and mopping, or dusting and organizing. or going outside and doing yard work while my children play.
Mini movement moments: For clients who travel, I often recommend doing mini bodyweight circuits. These mini circuits are wonderful for someone who is unsure if they will have 30 minutes, 10 minutes, or even 5 minutes for their workout due to the nature of their job. Doing a mini workout gives you a chance to move your whole body, but it doesn’t require a huge time commitment. It allows you to take control of a small portion of time and use it to take care of your body. It is important to remember that all physical activity is beneficial, even if it is a 5 minute walk around the hotel or doing 3 sets of 10 squats before hopping in the shower for a work brunch. These mini circuits can also be split into 2 or 3. You can do 10 minutes in the morning and another 10 minutes in the evening, so at the end of the day, you’ve completed a 20 minute workout.
Workout Apps: There are a plethora of workout apps available, and many of them offer 10-15 minute workout options which are great for busy individuals. Many apps will also include a way to select a level of difficulty such as beginner to expert or low impact to higher impact. Another benefit is that some will allow you to add filters so you can select what equipment you have available and if you have no equipment, many will have a bodyweight option. These apps are great because you just select and go, there is no thinking or planning.
Some of the preferred workout apps of some of my clients are:
Mindbody app—great for booking virtual classes if you prefer live option
Do you have any additional ways that you like to incorporate movement into your days? Please share in the comments below!
Note: Remember to consult your doctor or healthcare provider when adding new activity into your day if you have any underlying health conditions or are suffering chronic conditions.
About the Author:
Gabby Ennis is the founder of BlissFit. She is a a wife, mom and personal trainer. Having children changed her life in the best way and it also changed her outlook on fitness. Gabby’s goal is to help her clients find joy through movement while making it a part of their every day life. Gabby and her team offer both in-person training in the Charlotte area as well as virtual training.
This is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute any practice of medicine or professional health care services of any type. The use of information on this blog is at the user’s own risk. The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, for diagnosis, or for treatment. Please seek the care of your health care professionals for any questions or concerns.