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How to exercise if you don't have the time

Doing small amounts of exercise throughout the day can help you keep fit


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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If you are living a busy life and trying to balance your work, personal life, family responsibilities or study, it can be difficult to find the time for exercise in your routine. If you are very busy, you may feel that when you do have free time you want to spend it doing something you enjoy and exercise may not be at the top of your list. Even a small amount of exercise can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health and it is important to try and make time for it. Here are some ways that you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine without it having to eat into your free time.

If you are going to try a new exercise it is important that you do so safely. YouTube offers loads of instructional videos that can show you the correct way practice exercises and stretches. Avoid over working yourself but instead start small and work your way up to harder exercises.

7 ways to exercise if you don't have the time 

1. Prioritise walking or cycling

You may feel that you rarely have the chance to walk or cycle if your work or school is far away and you have a long commute on public transport. Although you may not be able to do so in the morning, try at least once a day to walk some of your commute home, even if you cannot walk the whole way. By combining walking with public transport you can bring exercise into your routine without it having to take up too much of your free time. Similarly, if you are going to take public transport in your spare time, see if you would be able to walk some or all of your trip instead. Walking can be an enjoyable way to relax and get your body moving at the same time.

2. Exercise at lunch time

Exercising at lunch time may be unrealistic for some people, but if you get an hour for lunch you probably have time to be able to fit in some exercise while still having time to eat. Eating should be your priority at lunch, but you may be able to split your hour into two and use the first half to take a walk, jog, do some stretching or other exercise that is accessible to you. If you spend most of your time during the day sitting at a desk, it is important to regularly get up and move your body. Exercise does not always have to be for long periods of time, what is important is that you are moving your muscles and body, and increasing your heart rate. 

3. Put exercise into your daily activities 

There are plenty of ways that you can bring more exercise into your daily activities. Using the stairs can be an easy way of fitting in exercise even if it means getting off a lift a few floors sooner than where you want to go to, or using a bathroom at the far end of the building. Walking your dog for longer distances or parking your car further away from the place you are going can help to increase the amount of time you are active for. 

4. Practice yoga at home

Finding an exercise that you enjoy doing and helps you relax will make it easier for you to make time for it during your day. Yoga is a great example of an exercise that you can do at home, with limited equipment that can help you wind down. On YouTube you can find a great selection of yoga instructors and follow different videos that can lead you through a yoga routines regardless of your level or ability.

5. Dancing

Dancing is a fun and easy way to exercise that we often do without intending to exercise in the first place. If you are out over the weekend and have the opportunity to dance it is a great way to move your body and increase your heart rate while having fun. You can also put on the radio or music and dance at home by yourself, with your housemates, partner, or family.

6. Taking part in P.E.

If you are still in school, P.E. is a great way to exercise properly and regularly as it is part of your weekly timetable. In P.E. you have the opportunity to improve your fitness levels while being instructed by a trained fitness professional. Exercising with your classmates can sometimes seem like a daunting experience, but with the range of activities offered in P.E. you should be able to find one that suits you. Remember, the important part of P.E. is pushing yourself to be active and not how good you are at a sport.

7. Use the time when you are waiting for something

Often when we are at home, there will be times when we are waiting for something such as waiting for a wash of clothes to finish, the kettle to boil or waiting for dinner to be ready. During these down times you can take the opportunity to do small exercises such as skipping, squats or sit ups. Exercising for small periods throughout the day can be an effective way of getting active without feeling that you have to commit a lot of your free time to it.

8. Exercise in the morning

If you have a busy daily routine, a handy way to fit exercise in is to do it in the morning. Getting up half an hour earlier than you normally do can give you time to go for a quick walk, jog or exercise at home or in the back garden. By exercising during a time when you normally would sleep, you can get active without feeling that is taking time away from things that are important to you during the day.

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Published Sep­tem­ber 18th2019
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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