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Finding the Keys to Fitting Exercise into Your Busy Life

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Clock in the middle of exercise equipment

Most of the time, life seems like it’s on the fast track. Whether we’re busy with work, kids, traveling or other duties, it might be hard to find the time to get into the gym.

Whatever your restriction might be, there is always a solution to get in time for physical fitness. It’s been proven that physical activity helps you live better both sooner and later. So what’s keeping you from a regular fitness routine? Mary Edwards, MS, Fitness Director and Professional Fitness Trainer at Cooper Fitness Center, takes a look at four common restrictions when it comes to fitness and what you can do no matter your situation.

“I have little to no time.”
It’s understandable that many people don’t have much extra time in the day by their choice, but what you do with your extra time is your choice. Mary’s heard it all from clients, but her advice is, “You always have time, it just depends on how you budget your day.”

If you’re just starting out with a new routine, Mary suggests setting realistic exercise goals for the number of days per week and time per exercise session. It can be as simple as 15 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular activity or creating a circuit workout of strength and cardio you can accomplish in 30 minutes or less. Whether you get up a little earlier or get home a little later, there’s always time for fitness. Most importantly, add your workout to the calendar!

Exercise: To conserve time, try various exercises in a circuit, where you constantly change from one move to the other to keep your heart rate elevated. Think in terms of pairing basic exercise moves such as squats, rows, chest presses, lunges and core exercises using resistance tubing or weights. Do each movement for about one minute and try three rounds at a continued, rapid pace.

“I work from home.”
Once the kids get home from school, time is even more crunched to get to the gym. Mary advises not worrying about getting to the gym all the time, but trying to find cost-effective ways to make your home a personal gym. Stability balls, resistance bands and light dumbbells are inexpensive equipment that can be used a multitude of ways for full-body workouts.

Exercise: Using a stability ball, try hamstring curls (laying on the floor, place your lower legs on the ball, raise your hips and bring the ball in and out with your feet) or simple crunches. If you lift weights, laying or sitting on the stability ball is a great source of balance for your core. Of course, an occasional walk or jog around the neighborhood is always an effective way to get in cardio. Mary also recommends jump roping or utilizing the stairs in your home.

“I am a frequent traveler.”
Business travel and pleasure travel alike can sometimes present difficulties for exercise. Mary suggests packing a resistance band, Pilates ring and/or water-filled dumbbells (yes, you read correctly!) in your suitcase. You might also consider a Valslide, a small, portable sliding tool for strength training. Make sure to call your hotel ahead of time to see if it has a gym. Make the effort to avoid compromising your fitness routine.

Exercises: Use your body’s weight (or the Valslide) for lunges, hamstring curls and planks in your hotel room. If the hotel does not provide a gym, try running in place or jumping jacks for a cardio workout. You can also do these exercises in the pool if provided.

“I am constantly busy with my kids.”
Kids can oftentimes take over schedules. As parents, Mary advises it’s essential to teach your children the importance of exercising regularly. Also important is making sure you’re not sidelining you own health when staying busy. Remember, you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others.

Exercise: Try to find a gym with good childcare. When you can’t visit the gym, make sure you’re taking the kids outside to play soccer, baseball or just running around—and do it with them! Make a bike ride or walk a weekend priority.

There’s always time or ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, and it’s your job to figure out when and how. If you budget your time correctly, fitness can become a seamless addition to your calendar.

For more information about Cooper Fitness Center, click here or call 972.233.4832.