5 Tips for Everyday Fitness

5 Tips for Everyday Fitness
[Meredith Sell]

If week after week you find yourself too busy or exhausted to work out, if exercising hasn’t been a priority in the past but you want to start, how can you fit it into everyday life without sacrificing everything else you need and want to do?

Here are a few ideas:

One – Start small.

Don’t jump right into daily hour-long workout sessions. Gradually build up your time commitment to exercise so that your new routine doesn’t leave you completely pooped each night. Plus, if you haven’t been active lately, it will be better for your body if you gradually increase physical activity, than if you suddenly jump into two-a-days (and practically guarantee yourself injury).

Start by picking two or three days of your week that have a more flexible schedule and set a specific time to hit the gym, go for a run, or do a workout routine on your living room floor. Plan for half an hour — enough time to warm up and get your blood pumping and heart rate elevated.

Two – Sign up for a class.

A lot of local gyms offer group exercise classes or personal training — all in an attempt to help you work out better. Take advantage of these opportunities. There’s something about writing a check, signing a release form, and knowing that at least one person will be expecting you at the gym that builds accountability. Plus, it’s more fun to work out in company — and you’re likely to push yourself harder than you would by yourself.

Three – Don’t park by the door.

The goal of exercise (aside from getting stronger and faster, being healthier, and having higher energy levels throughout the day) is to keep yourself as able-bodied as possible for as long as possible — so if you can’t fit a workout into a day, make intentional choices to build physical activity into your daily duties. Some ideas:

  • Park further out in the parking lot than you would normally and walk those extra steps.
  • If possible, have standing or walking meetings.
  • Go for a walk over your lunch break. Bonus points if the walk is outside on a sunny day — get that Vitamin D!
  • Be mindful about your posture whether you’re standing or sitting or walking. Pull your shoulders back. Engage your core. Burn a few extra calories along the way (and prevent some lower back pain).

Four – Add basic bodyweight movements to your morning routine.

When you wake up in the morning, run through the following circuit three to five times:

5 pushups

10 situps

15 good mornings

If you can’t do a pushup, do planks and work on pushups in your actual workouts.

What’s a good morning? Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands clasped gently behind your head. Keeping your back and legs straight and your core engaged, fold forward at the hips until your torso is parallel to the ground. Pull yourself back up using your hamstrings and glutes.

Five – Join a sports league.

You don’t have to hit the gym or run five miles in order to get a workout. An afternoon at a rock climbing gym, a weekend game of pickup soccer or ultimate frisbee, or kickball with the neighbor’s kids can do just as much for your health and fitness. Don’t just fit workouts into your schedule — make time to use your fitness.

Read this, too!