How to fit exercise into your routine - 10 fitness tips for busy people

By: Quinton de Bruin

It has been a rather busy day and normally at some stage there is a period I can take a few minutes to consider what I have done that day and what about that would be interesting to share with you! Today did not offer me a luxury of a few minutes to ponder a great range of healthy living tips, and in that was my topic. There are times when it is literally impossible to see where you are going to find time to get the daily dose of exercise in. Rushing from one thing to the next between kid's activities, work and community engagements, it is easy to throw out a 'reason' why you haven't been able to invest time in yourself.

Investing time in yourself is a foreign concept to some people. We have this desire to ensure those we love are looked after and we invest in them through running them around or supporting their work. At the end of the day we simply say I just didn't have time to exercise again today. What if there was a way to make time – life hacks to create this gap in your day where you got to look after yourself – an opportunity to reduce the stresses of daily life and enjoy it. It starts with a commitment to yourself, realising that if you don't prioritise your health higher on your list, you may be dealing with some consequences you don't really want to down the track. When we live in the here and now, we can park these thoughts but stop for a minute and think about what your future looks like without a bit of time taken now for you.

I won't dream of stating or think that I am busier than the next person. However here are a few ways that I have found exercise can be worked into your routine, no matter how busy you currently are. If you are sighing just at the thought, hear me out. Once you have made that commitment to yourself, read some of these tips and see which ones you can mould to work for you.

My number one hack is skipping lunch! Not the meal but the time. I researched a training program that was gym based that I could get through in 45 minutes daily.

Which leads onto being efficient with your exercise. Have you ever heard the saying "failing to plan is planning to fail"? Have a program, whether that is for the gym or your outdoor run or whatever, have a plan so you know you can fit it into that lunchbreak or before school pick up – any kind of gap that you have.

Turn commutes into exercise. A friend of mine lives in Cambridge and works in Hamilton. He is a fan of cycling and gets an extra 40km of cycling in per day when he cycles to work and back home. If you live and work in the same town / city, your commute could be a run or walk.

Do what you can. Just because your normal routine includes a session in the gym doesn't mean that if you can't do this for some reason that you can't train at all. When it was just my son and I around, morning sessions used to not only be exercise but a bonding session. I ran a mini HIIT (high intensity interval training) circuit at home where he would join me and we have a great fun time before school and get exercise in.

Take the stairs if the option exists. Every time you go into a building that has stairs, choose to use those and not a lift. This makes for a great leg workout and a bit of cardio at the same time.

Find an office workout buddy because this makes it even more difficult to put your feet up in the staff area at lunchtime when you said that you were going to the gym or for a run with them. Impossible to say you have too much work on then too!

On that note, accepting now excuses is important, not from your workout buddy (although I would suggest it is your job as workout buddy to keep them honest) but from yourself. So, you are working a bit late and you don't feel like it or daylight saving has ended and the bed is so much more inviting than the chilling air in your lunges on those early morning runs. STOP IT! This is something for you, rather than beat yourself up for not having done it, just defy those reasons/excuses and do it anyway!

What will help with this steel-like resolve is creating your own likes and dislikes. You will absolutely have forms of exercise that you hate and that is ok. Why make it even harder on yourself just choose exercise or activities that suit your lifestyle and that you gain enjoyment out of also.

Something I have noticed about busy people is that they are focused on outcomes. If you use events as motivation, you know you have a certain amount of time to get your runners on and getting a sessions under the belt because the Auckland Marathon is only so many months away (or if you are a short-term kind of person, the Waipa fun run is on Sunday 12th March 2017!)

When you have had a long day and you are looking forward to catching up on the latest episode of Suits, you can swop the couch potato pose for activity. Every 40-minute episode is a huge number of push-ups, burpees, sit-ups, crunches or you spice it up you can add small dumbbells, kettlebell or a skipping rope.

Life gets busy and we are thrown the odd curveball which changes our day. Going back to one of the first articles, where we said that leading a healthy lifestyle is not about perfection, it is about doing the exercise activities you enjoy doing and that are good for you regularly. There was a time when I thought it might be possible to fit exercise into a busy day. These days, after a few life events, I am convinced of it. I hope you can take something from these tips, commit to making health a priority in your life, and never settle for less than feeling strong and fit.

The small print: now is probably a good time to encourage you to have a discussion about your personal situation with your doctor, a nutritionist and the Body and Motion trainers to work out how best to achieve any challenges you have in mind. The thoughts in these blogs are my own personal opinion and shouldn't be taken as direct advice. Some of the choices around what I consume or what activity I partake in may not be endorsed by Body and Motion. However, the team will always be keen enablers of your fitness goals! Talk to us today.


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