Between getting the kids ready for school and yourself ready for work, and putting in 40 hours per week, and getting involved in all of your kids’ extracurricular activities, it can be difficult to find time to catch your breath, let alone work out. Getting regular exercise is key to good health, a good mood and a longer life, according to the Mayo Clinic. Working out offers a range of benefits, from weight loss and increased energy to a lowered risk of certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and cancer.
Here are some workout tips to help include that all-important fitness into your schedule:
Break It Down
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults each week engage in at least 150 minutes of muscle-strengthening activity and a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic exercise. It may seem like a lot, but you can break it into 10-minute chunks spread throughout the day and week.
For example, you could leave your desk and take a brisk, 10-minute walk three times a day, five days a week. Use your scheduled breaks or your lunch hour as part of the time for your exercise routine. Enlist a co-worker to go with you, for added motivation and support.
Enlist a Friend
Study after study indicates that people who work out with a buddy tend to stay motivated longer, stick to their schedule, and experience positive results such as weight loss. That brings us to one of our most important workout tips for busy parents: Find a fitness buddy or two who will help you stay on track. After all, when someone expects you to show up at the gym, it’s a lot harder to not show up. Make a standing appointment to walk, attend a yoga or Pilates class, or do a round of circuit training with someone else to make it easier to follow through.
Don’t Take the Easy Route
If your schedule is so jam-packed that you can’t take a work break, find creative ways to sneak in some exercise. For instance, turn part of your commute into a workout by walking, jogging or biking home a couple times a week. Live too far away? Simply park your car at a park-and-ride closer to your work, or get off public transportation a few stops early.
You also can make some simple changes such as sitting on a stability ball instead of a desk chair. Doing so helps improve your balance and strengthen your core. Store weights in your desk and do a few curls while you’re on a conference call. Take the stairs to the meeting instead of using the elevator.
Remember, getting in 10 minutes of exercise here and there is just as effective as an hour-long workout, so stop stressing and relax.
For working parents: Have you mastered including fitness into your schedule? Share your tips with us on Facebook.