Squeeze Fitness Into Your Life, Not Your Life Into Fitness

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To Do ListIf you’re anything like me, you usually find yourself short on time. Work, home, kids, spouses, even the dog needs a walk from time to time. We usually have a to do list a mile long and things get thrown at us at the spur of the moment. The last thing we have time for or feel like doing is working out. So does that mean we give something up for the sake of health or realize the only flexibility we have is in our schedule and not in our bodies?

All it takes is some creativity, and you can have your fitness cake and eat it too. Here are some tips:

Maximize your workout while minimizing your time. Many of us have trouble finding time to squeeze in a long workout. It’s just not going to happen most days but it doesn’t have to. You can break your workouts into shorter durations and get great results. The trick is to keep the intensity high to make the most use of the shorter time. I post daily challenges to Facebook and Twitter. Most of these take less than 10 minutes.

Instead of a longer workout, try 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening of sprints or high intensity exercises like jumping jacks, squats, lunges, and push ups. The more intense workouts will give your metabolism a boost and help you burn calories even after you’re done. Most of us can find 15 minutes here and there. Even if you only manage the morning workout, you’ve accomplished something.

Get the kids involved. If you’re a working parent like me, you spend a good part of the day away from your kids. You don’t always want to take more time away from them to get a workout in. Try getting them involved for family bonding time. Hit the playground and burn off some of their energy while you burn calories too. Slide, swing, play on the monkey bars. All of those are great calorie burners and can help build strength too.

Create a family challenge. Instead of the family sitting and watching TV after dinner, get up and get moving. Do rounds of 10 push ups and 10 squats during the commercial breaks, and see who can do more – the parents or the kids. Mark off a distance in the backyard and race to see who gets to the finish faster. Pair off into teams and have one partner time while the other does an exercise. Trade off and see who gets the most reps.

You don’t need a gym to get a workout in. Even if your budget is tight, you can still find room for fitness. You can be your own gym with bodyweight exercises and not have to spend a dime. You can buy a set of exercise bands and a stability ball for around $30, and set up a home gym in your living room. You can even get creative and use gallon water jugs, a back pack with a few books, cans of soup, or other household items. You just need a bit of imagination.

Squeeze in mini workouts when you can. If you find yourself waiting for soccer practice to end or stuck between appointments, this is the perfect time for a quick workout. Keep an exercise band in the car just in case. You can do bicep curls, band rows, overhead presses and more. Other parents may see you and join in. You could start a fitness trend or find a workout buddy.

There are all kinds of things you can do for your health that don’t require a huge time investment. You’ll also get some great bonding time with the family and set an example for your kids. The key is to work fitness into your life and not fit your life around workouts.

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