Staying active in a busy world can require a fair amount of commitment and discipline, or at least a few pragmatic ideas to keep things flowing. Hectic schedules too often lead to that all essential exercise being put on the back burner… and before you know it, it has been weeks since you did any proper physical activity. The last thing you want is for this to become a habit, as we all know well that the longer you leave it, the harder it is to get back into the swing of things.
With this in mind, the XOH!DNAIR crew has come up with a few ideas to help you stay active regardless of the demands of your daily schedule. With a little improvisation and (when necessary) forward planning, you can keep your body in tip-top condition all year round. Don’t let a busy life keep you from being your best self!
Here’s how to stay active whatever your schedule:
The first step is to make a commitment to staying active. Even if you can’t yet foresee regular time slots to allocate to physical fitness, take it week by week. Get a diary, then every Sunday night, review your week ahead and make a promise to allot at least a couple of hours for staying active.
It might mean reshuffling a few plans or duties, but if you want to do it, it can be done. It can also be useful to make a list of outdoor fitness groups and drop in classes that you can just turn up to when it suits you. That way you don’t have to commit to a monthly gym subscription that eats away at your finances unnecessarily.
It should be easy enough to come up with a list of local running or cycling clubs, park yoga sessions, tai chi and boot camps, for instance. The same goes for local yoga drop-in classes or martial arts clubs. Organize the list by date and time, and try to plot one or two in each week around your daily duties.
Hitting the gym isn’t always going to be an option, so if you appreciate the fitness levels associated with regular gym use but can’t quite squeeze in regular visits, know that you can still achieve the same results - without the equipment and weights! Improvising with your own body weight is the answer.
The best part is that this can be done at home, and you actually don’t need any weights to build and maintain good muscle tone. All that is required is a little education on bodyweight exercises and you’re good to go. Note that if such activities are new to you, you should learn about the correct positioning so as not to hurt yourself. The last thing you need is a bad back putting you out of action entirely!
Provided you don’t have any injuries, you should be able to perform squats, lunges, push-ups, pulls-ups, rows and planks… and those are just a few. Since those exercises are the primal movements, you can incorporate them into a regular routine any time you’re at home. Your body is your equipment, and you can use walls, couches and tables as a workout aid when required.
Oh, and don’t forget the cardio! Speeding things up then pausing for short periods of time equates to HIIT (high intensity interval training), which will keep your heart healthy and your waistline in check. Lastly, if you do want to use weights, even those can be improvised. For example, you can fill 1, 2 or 5 liter water bottles with either water or sand. The same goes for hessian sacks with sand; all can be used to add weight to your squats, sit ups, and so on.
You don’t need to stop there. A little bit of imagination can turn plenty of standard procedures into fitness activities. If you’ve missed your chance to work out at home or make a drop-in class, all is not lost. If you’re genuinely serious about staying active, all you have to do is make mindful choices from day to day.
For instance, instead of jumping on a bus or in a taxi, why not take a long walk or get on a bicycle? Although the pace may be slower, you’ll burn off a couple of hundred calories en route.
When faced with the options of elevators, escalators or stairs, be sure to opt for the stairs every time - and don’t hang about. Those quick bursts of cardio will kick off the fat burn and tone your legs. If you find yourself staying in a hotel, don’t forget to use their pool for a few lengths.
Walk your dog more; weed the garden… even cleaning the house is a win-win! There are so many daily activities that help you burn calories. The trick is to see the more challenging options as the healthy options. All of these little choices can add up over time… and it really is true that every little helps!