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Hacks to make movement easy when you’ve got a busy life

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“I really want to start working out, but I just don’t have the time.”

If you’ve found yourself saying this, you’re certainly not alone. I hear this from folks all the time. And honestly, I’ve felt this way myself many times. How are we supposed to squeeze workouts into our days when they already seem so jam-packed?

The truth is, it’s going to take some intentionality, planning, and a little bit of sacrifice. But the good news is that it’s 100 percent possible to fit in activity, even with a hectic schedule. I’ll take you through my top hacks for doing so.

How much movement do we need per day?

1Before we dive into my tips and tricks for getting moving, let’s first talk about how much movement we actually need each day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. That’s about 21.5 minutes per day. Sounds doable, right? Of course! Especially when you can sneak in small bursts of movement throughout your day.

Now let’s get into ways you can be more intentional with your activity.

My top seven tricks for making movement easy when your schedule is full

1. Wake Up a Little Earlier

Remember when I talked about sacrifice? Setting your alarm even 15-20 minutes earlier can allow you to get up and get a workout in before you even get your day started. This hack is especially helpful for busy parents or professionals who tend to wake up and jump right into the chaos of the day before allowing themselves any alone time. 

Of course, sleep should be a priority as well, so make the proper accommodations and adjustments to your bedtime routine to ensure that your earlier morning wake-up call still allows for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

2. Schedule Some Breaks in Your Day

Take a look at your schedule for the day and identify less busy times where you could fit in some form of movement. Maybe you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media in the evenings after dinner. Instead, get outside for a walk, hop on your bike for a ride, or get down on the floor and play with your children. Locate the lulls in your day (I promise there are some!) and put some intention into them. 

3. Book Workouts in Your Calendar Like You Would Any Appointment

When your schedule is already jam-packed, just the “idea” of wanting to fit movement into your day probably isn’t going to be enough to actually execute. So you need to book workouts into your calendar as you would your dentist appointment or work meeting. Identify the time slot, write it down, and show up for yourself as you would for any other commitment in your life.

4. Have a Plan

One of the best ways to waste time in the gym is to go in there sans plan. If you’re just wandering around looking for inspiration to get started or performing random exercises, you’re not making the best use of your limited time. Make sure you’re going into your workouts knowing exactly what workout you’re doing. This can look like taking a fitness class, using an app to do a programmed workout, or even hiring a personal trainer to guide you through your routine efficiently and effectively.

5. Ditch the All-Or-Nothing Mentality

Many of us believe that if we can’t get to the gym and spend a good amount of time completing a full workout, we might as well not even try. This saddens me as I know first-hand the benefits of being more intentional with movement throughout the day—and not worrying about having a solid 60-90 minute workout. Some days you simply don’t have the time to dedicate to a full workout, and that’s OK. Do what you can with what you have, and know that every little bit of extra movement counts.

6. Gamify Your Fitness!

If you’re like me, you love a good challenge, and what better way to nurture your competitive spirit than to get in shape while doing so? I love making up little games or challenges for myself to do throughout the day. For example, you could challenge yourself to do ten air squats every time you stand up to go to the bathroom. Or, set an hourly timer or watch the clock, and commit to standing up and doing 20 jumping jacks. Not only will this help get you moving, but you’ll notice that your energy levels and mood improve, too!

7. Choose to Stand and Walk Around When and Where You Can

If your job entails lots of phone calls and video meetings, see if you can turn that chat into a phone call and take it outside and walk while you talk or listen. Beyond helping you get up and get moving, you’ll also get a nice little brain boost that can spark creativity and reinvigorate you for the rest of your day. Is the weather not conducive to an outdoor walk? Try pacing around your home or doing a bodyweight movement like squats or lunges. 

With a little strategy and commitment, you can find the time in your day to exercise, even if you can’t get a full 60-minute workout. Movement is movement—it all counts! So do your body and mind a favor and make fitness a part of your daily routine. You’ll quickly notice the far-reaching benefits of doing so.

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