How to Stay Fit When You’re Busy

Busy lives often mean busy schedules, and fitting in workouts can be tough. But you don’t necessarily need an hour of your day to get into good shape. Balanced fitness doesn’t require spending hours at the gym or having a super-toned body; it’s about creating balance in everything that you do.

Staying fit doesn’t require a lot of time, only the willingness to carve out some for exercise each week. With a little planning and creativity, even those with busy lifestyles can find room in their schedules to stay fit and healthy.

The first step is to take a look at how you spend your time during the average day—that’s where potential gym time lies waiting to be unearthed. For example, a study from the University of Illinois found that adults who watch two or more hours of TV daily are 54 percent more likely to be obese than those who spend less time in front of the tube.

So if you find that watching is your primary downtime activity, try fitting in some exercise during commercial breaks—get up and do sit-ups, squats, or push-ups during each break. Getting in 10 to 15 reps of each can burn up to 100 calories.

Yes, it sounds like a lot of work…but the idea is that small changes made over time—like spending just one hour less per week watching TV—can add up to big results down the line.

It’s All in the Planning

Busy lifestyles often mean chaotic schedules that don’t leave much room for planning ahead—but just a little time spent mapping out your week can pay off in big ways when it comes to fitness. If you know where and when you’ll be exercising, you can do easy additions like taking stairs instead of elevators, walking instead of driving short distances or parking your car at the farthest end of a mall parking lot.

Take a moment to think about how you spend a typical day and see what changes you can make in terms of staying fit. Even if it means getting up 30 minutes early each morning to workout before work, that time will pay off when you’re sitting at your desk and only thinking about how good you feel.

Schedule in Exercise Sessions

When it comes to getting regular exercise, scheduling regular sessions is key—and the more intense the workout session, the less frequently you’ll need to do it to see results. If time is really an issue, try working out twice a week, each time doing 20 minutes of an intense workout like running, bicycling, or jumping rope.

You can also try working out three times a week. Alternate between 30-minute sessions of strength training exercises and light cardio—such as walking—to give your body time to recover in-between workouts.

For example, try doing 20 minutes of cardio on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, then strength train Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (or vice versa).

With a little creativity and planning your workouts around your schedule, you can fit fitness into even the busiest lifestyles as you can see above.

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