Top athletes and movie stars have the time and motivation to stay in great
shape. The rest of us, though, often find it a challenge to fit fitness
into our lives. It's a matter of attitude. If you view exercise as
a chore or punishment, that makes it hard for you to do what's necessary.
You'll secretly try to avoid it.
Instead, start thinking of fitness as fun. If it's something you want
to do, then you'll figure out ways to find time for it. For example,
if the word "workout" sounds too much like work, think of it
Use fitness as an excuse to get out and enjoy the beauties of nature—or
as a chance to play with your children or your dog. When you see how much
it adds to your life, you'll make time for it.
It also helps to focus on health, not vanity. Looking good is really a
short-term goal. As soon as you lose those pounds or get your abs looking
tight, you say, "OK, I'm done."
But your health is with you forever. And if you devote a little bit of
every day to feeling good, pretty soon you're going to start to look
Time out for health
Once you view fitness as a priority in your life, it's easy to come
up with ways to fit it in. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Break it up. If you don't have a half-hour or an hour block of time to exercise,
that's OK. Studies show you'll still get benefits by working out
for just 10 minutes at a time. Find at least two or three such periods
during your day.
Make an appointment with yourself. If you have a busy schedule, schedule an appointment time for fitness
on your calendar, too.
Make it easy on yourself. Find a place to work out that's close and convenient. For ultimate
convenience, you can exercise at home with a simple set of hand weights
or on a staircase.
Do it early. If you leave your fitness routine until the end of your day, it may fall
victim to late meetings and traffic delays.
Do more with less time. For example, if you're strength training, lift heavier weights for
shorter sets with fewer reps. Or, do compound exercises, such as squats,
that work several muscles at the same time. Strength-trainers can also
save time with "supersets." Simply work back and forth between
opposing muscles—for example, your chest and your back—without
resting in between.
Lunch on fitness. Instead of spending your lunch hour at your desk or in the cafeteria,
brown bag it and take a brisk walk.
Make weekends count.
If you struggle to squeeze in short periods of exercise during the week,
schedule one hour per day on Saturday and Sunday to build endurance.
Double up. If you simply can't turn off your favorite television show, do floor
stretches or step-ups in front of the TV. Grab a hand weight and do some
bicep curls while you read your morning newspaper.
Work out with the kids. Bicycle with your children, or, if they're younger, trot alongside
them while they bike. When you take them to soccer practice, do laps around
the field or climb the bleachers a few times instead of just sitting and watching.
Ask a trainer. Even one or two sessions with a professional trainer can help you assess
your needs and figure out how to meet them safely and effectively.