How can I exercise regularly when I work all day?

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This challenge is presented daily and the answer is simple, find the time :-)!  Yes, that might not be a simple answer but exercise is vital to your health and well-being.  Being active will lead to many lifelong benefits and many more than if you are to not exercise. 

You must first figure out a time in your day when you are able to squeeze in 30-minutes of exercise.  Consider missing a TV show in the evening hours to get in that exercise so DVR that show and get moving.  Another option, go to bed a half hour earlier to get up a half hour earlier.  Complete your exercise in the morning.

Again, exercise will benefit you so much more than not exercising so be sure to stay active!

Michael E. Raemisch, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Remember, "Early to bed, early to rise...".  Finding time to exercise is a challenge.  Here's an opportunity:  ask yourself what you do from 8-10pm?  Be honest about how valuable that time is.  Now, what if you went to bed 2 hours earlier, and then got up 2 hours earlier.  You may find those 2 extra hours in the morning are your most productive "Me" time!  Try to resist the urge to stay up late watching TV.  Go to bed early so you can make "Me" time to exercise in the morning.  It will change your life.

Working all day is a small hurdle that you have to overcome if you want to fit in a little exercise.  Remember, exercise does not have to be done one full 30 minute session – and actually if you learn to add exercise into your everyday life, you might actually do it and stick with it.  You can add things into your day while you are at work to burn calories like:

  • Standing at your desk for phone calls – doing this burns 30 extra calories for every 20 minutes you are on the phone.
  • Fidget while sitting at your desk – doing this can help you burn an extra 350 total calories a day
  • Do squats at your desk while you are on the phone
  • Take a power walk at lunch time

There are also a number of things you can do around your house:

  • Lunge to go get your laundry
  • Do squats while waiting for the microwave
  • While watching TV create active commercials.  Get up and so a set of ab exercises or pushups
  • Get the kids outside and play tag
  • Take your kids to the park and play on the playground with them.

The easiest thing you can do to make sure you are moving enough is to get a pedometer to track your steps. You should be logging 10,000 steps per day. Once you learn to be creative about how you fit your exercise into your day, you will feel healthier and see the results on the scale.

Shayne Adair
Fitness
My favorite time to exercise when you work all day is at lunch time.  It does take some planning, but once you start and get into the habit you will really look forward to the time. 

The easiest way to get started is to take a walk.  If you work in a warm climate you can pack a change of clothes like you would if you were going to the gym.  Take a quick minute to change and then head out for your walk.  In inclement weather you can walk up and down stairs in your building or walk the hallways.  Of course you need to be creative to find a path that does not have a lot of people crowded in the hallway.

Another idea is to have a group of people and work out together.  Maybe do calesthenics in a conference room.  You could do a 5-10 minute warm-up by marching in place.  This is a good time to catch up so you will be ready to get serious when the warm up is over.  Take turns naming calesthenic moves for the group to do for a set time, like 30-60 seconds.  At the end of the workout make sure you take the time to cool down and stretch.

After your workout freshen up when you change back into your work clothes.  The mental break from the stress of the day can make you approach the rest of your day with renewed vigor.
Exercise comes in many shapes and forms.  When you are short on time and in need of burning extra calories and just getting regular exercise into your day, accidental exercise may be the answer. 

Park in a space that is furthest from your place of work or the store you are shopping at. Depending on the size of the parking lot, you can burn extra calories with the additional walking.

Take the stairs to burn calories!Skip the elevator or escalator whenever you get the chance, and opt for the stairs. This can be at work, the doctor's or any other building with more than one floor.

Get exercise playing with your kids.  Get your kids away from the TV and video games and interact with them. Find a physical activity you can do like going to the park, for a walk, roller blading or doing laps around the house.

Whenever it makes sense, walk instead of drive.  If you are driving somewhere within walking distance, save the gas and get some activity in.

It's hard to find time to exercise when you work all day. You would be surprised where and how working people fit exercise into their schedules. Many people make time in the morning before the day even begins. Psychologically the best time to exercise is in the morning. The reason that most people feel that exercising in the morning is the best time is because people tend to find they feel better throughout the day if they've started their day with exercise. Feeling better can be interpreted as feeling more productive and able to think more clearly. Many people also find that the morning is easier because they tend to have less obstacles. After an entire day has happened there are many obstacles that can get in the way of an evening workout. In the evening it can be difficult to get away from work and (after a long day) motivation and energy for exercise is less because people are tired. The evening is usually spent having dinner with family.   

People find it extremely helpful to keep a time diary. For three days write down everything you do during the day with the corresponding time and length of time. For example, 8-8:30 eat breakfast, 8:30-9:30 work, 9:30-10:30 walk, noon-1 lunch, 2:30-3:30 meeting, 4:00-5:00 work on project. If you look at this you'll notice that there are several blocks of unutilized time between 10:30-noon, 1-2:30 and 3:30-4. You shouldn't have to utilize every second of everyday but this does show that there is time available during this day. Managing time starts with an awareness of how you are spending your time. People think they don't have time but realize they either do, aren't managing their time efficiently, or are so busy that it feels like there isn't any underutilized time available. Once you become aware of how you are using your time then you can be better prepared to find gaps of available time for exercise. 

Remember that exercise really means activity, so lots of things you don't consider to be exercise actually are. Just as important, you don't have to be active for large blocks of time to reap the benefits. Several short "bursts" of activity in a day can be just as good for you.

Try to make the most of opportunities to be active during the normal course of your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the parking lot and walk to the store. Set aside 10 minutes of your lunchtime for a brisk walk. You may be pleasantly surprised with your total daily activity level if you take advantage of opportunities like these.

Continue Learning about Types Of Exercise

Types Of Exercise

Types Of Exercise

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.