Running your life: Five tips to fit exercise into your routine
Do you find it hard to fit in exercise as part of the daily grind?
If you’re stuck in an exercise rut and only manage to do it sporadically or at weekends, here are five tips on how to fit exercise into your week:
1. Together is better – make a date
Running or walking together is better. By partnering up with a friend or a group of friends, you’re more likely to stick to your plans and train together by making it a date.
Socialise on the move. Rather than meeting friends regularly for coffee, suggest going for a walk or signing up to a class together. If you are lacking in motivation, find a friend that will act as your ‘cheerleader’ and check in with you and encourage you to reach your goals. Wearing a pedometer or using a fitness app or recording your activity on your phone can really help to measure the amount of exercise you are achieving in a day and it can be a great help in goal setting.
Even a brisk 30 minute walk or a short run will have serious benefits for your health: it will boost your aerobic fitness and reduce stress.
2. Work that commute!
It can be harder to get motivated as the day goes on. It can be tempting to kick off your shoes and reach for the remote control at the end of a busy working day but if you try to build some exercise in to your daily commute, it can make a massive difference and just become part of your daily rhythm.
Getting out in the fresh air first thing in the morning will have a positive effect on your mental health - setting you up for your working day.
Running, jogging or walking can be a great transportation. If you travel to work by train or bus, get off one stop earlier or if you drive, then do the same by parking a little further and walking the rest of the way. If you can, cycle, walk or run the full commute, even a few times a week.
3. Get the kids involved
From lost schoolbooks to missing hairbrushes, school lunches to last-minute requests for school projects, it can be a nightmare trying to get the family and yourself out the door in the morning. But if you get your children on board and the distance is not too far, why not try to do the school run on foot or on bike or scooter at least a few times a week?
By getting the kids involved, you are not only spending some extra time with them but encouraging good healthy living habits that could last them a lifetime.
If you have a young baby, strap them in to your carrier and take a walk that way, or sign up for one of the many parent and baby classes now running around the country and bring the buggy with you!
If you’re doing the timed runs at parkrun Ireland around the country to train, then why not sign them up for the Junior parkrun which is fast gaining pace and popularity for children aged between 4 and 14. If you’re on the sidelines while your children are playing sport, rather than standing still chatting, use that time to do your own exercise or better still get some of the other parents to join you.
4. Work out – at work or before work
It might seem obvious, but there are plenty of chances to burn calories and get fitter dotted throughout your working day. Always take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator – it’s surprising how many uphill climbs there can be in one day. Walk or cycle to meetings when you can and if you have an office gym or membership discount for a gym or pool take full advantage of it. Otherwise use your lunchbreak to take in some exercise. Ten to twenty minutes of exercise five times a week can make all the difference and squeezing this in during the day and during lunchtime takes the pressure off as the events of the working day inevitably catch up.
Getting out of the office during lunchtime will leave you feeling fresh and motivated for your afternoon at work.
If you are feeling really motivated, try to squeeze in some exercise over some extra sleep. If you set your alarm clock 45 minutes early, you could start the day in the best way possible and another time saving tip is to leave your workout clothes ready the night before. Starting the day like this will definitely help with your productivity later on in the day.
5. Set a schedule – stick to it
When starting any exercise plan it is essential to set up a schedule and write it down if possible. This also applies to nutrition. If you keep it realistic, you are less likely to shirk from it once the initial enthusiasm wears off. If you keep a schedule on your computer or phone and set an occasional alarm it can be the prompt that you need!
A useful way to fit everything into your routine while keeping to your schedule is multi-tasking. If you have a lot of phonecalls to make, try to take those calls or make those calls while walking, or if you are fit enough, pop on your earphones and take a jog. All those ‘stolen moments’ in a day can really add up. House work is another way to really burn calories while keeping to your schedule so it’s a win-win to consider this as part of your training!
By building your fitness plan in to a regular pattern in your daily life, its more likely that it will continue to build in momentum and become a step towards a more generally healthier lifestyle and life long fitness.