How to Incorporate a Consistent Exercise Routine Into a Busy Schedule

For decades, people have turned to movement to get into and stay in physical shape, to keep their body healthy, and to feel good inside and out. However, it wasn’t until the last 10 or so years that people started to value the impact exercise has on our mental well-being. While the physical benefits of a workout are great (and so important for a healthy life,) the mental aspects are equally important (if not more). 

As teenagers, we have heard our parents, family members, doctors, school counselors, and coaches tell us how important it is to exercise regularly. What they did not mention, however, is that in order for a workout to benefit us mentally, we have to enjoy what we are doing. When you enjoy the workout, the benefits of it increase. Many people argue that there is a workout type for everyone; whether it’s weight-lifting, indoor cycling / spinning, zumba, dance cardio, boxing, barre, pilates, or walking. Thanks to the internet and the digital revolution, there are thousands of workout options we can access right from our phones, computers, or tablets, many of which are very affordable or even free via Youtube or Instagram TV. Our responsibility is to make it a priority and fit it into our already stacked schedules. 

For me, I found exercise when I began running track in middle school. I then sought out other types of workouts to get stronger, faster, and become an overall better athlete. I fell in love with strength training and it became an important pillar in my life; every afternoon after school and practice I would spend 40-60 minutes lifting weights. It was a great stress-reliever for me, however about 2 years later I discovered the world of low-impact workouts like pilates, yoga, and sculpt. I completely transitioned to these styles of workouts and I quickly learned that it was the right decision. I realized that high-impact, intense workouts were not best for my body and that slower, low-impact ones felt better internally and had a transformational effect on my mind. Now, I turn to yoga and pilates (and the occasional cycling class) to feel good in my own body and to let some of that pent-up energy and anxiety go. My new mentality is to focus on feeling good, being present, and moving slower throughout the day. Long story short, I want you to try different workouts and see how your mind and body feel. If you exit a workout not feeling great, that is a sign that it may not be for you and that there is something out there better for you specifically! Remember, everyBODY is different and what works for one person might not work for you. Once the goal switches to just feeling better, that’s when the results happen, externally and internally. 

Finally, here are my tips for carving out time to move your body and staying consistent.

HOW TO WORKOUT WHEN YOU HAVE A BUSY SCHEDULE:

  1. Find workouts you enjoy: there are a multitude of ways to get moving that aren’t boring or horrible. If you belong to a gym or club, try out some classes they offer (depending on COVID restrictions and staying safe of course). Try out something you have never done before and don’t judge a workout by its cover. Try barre, mat pilates, yoga, and more- you would be surprised! One of the best things about the world wide web is the access we have to thousands of workout classes online. For free, search on YouTube for any kind of workout you are looking for and get moving. Nowadays, there are so many fun & awesome classes. Check out MadFit, Melissa Wood Health, Sydney Cummings, Five Parks Yoga, PopSugar Fitness, and Hot Pilates for great, free options. There is also a multitude of paid on-demand subscriptions like Variis, CorePower Yoga, Peloton, and The Sculpt Society that offer free trials. Also, you can check out websites such as Sweats & The City and The Sweat Review which have in-depth reviews of online workout classes so you can learn about what they are first! All of these and more will be linked below 🙂
  2. Any length of workout is great! Remember that a workout does not have to be a whole hour. Even if you can find 10-15 minutes between classes, club meetings, and volunteer work, that is more than enough! Studies say that getting moving for a few minutes to break up the workday is so beneficial. However, if you can find the time to work out for 30-45 minutes, that is great too. Don’t get caught up in the numbers: feel good about exercising for however long your schedule allows. Because guess what? After those 10 minutes, you will feel just as good. (Tip: search 10-minute workouts on Youtube for a ton of quick, effective classes).
  3. Write it on your calendar! It is good to use a planner or calendar to write out your events and tasks anyway, but if you can visually see when you have periods of time between activities, you can schedule your workout (location, time, etc.) which can be very helpful in staying consistent. If you see it on your schedule and treat it like a non-negotiable, you are way more likely to do it.
  4. Listen to your body. Understand that each day will feel different. Some days you might have a lot of energy and feel amazing. Others, you might be in a negative headspace and not want to get moving. I do believe that the days you resist working out are the days you need it the most, but please listen to your body. I will say it again because it is so important: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Your body knows and will tell you when you have energy for a hard workout and it will also tell you when you need rest. Don’t ever feel bad about giving yourself a day or two to rest because that is also a form of self-care. Take advantage of high-energy days and let yourself relax on days you don’t feel great. 

The goal is to start somewhere and be consistent. If you never workout, I encourage you to start with a 15 or 20 minute workout 2-3x a week. If your schedule allows, increase the days you workout and the length. Make it work for you. Remember, there is a workout for everyone and there are so many options via the internet for free. Make sure to eat well, drink water, and get enough sleep as well. Working out should be fun and a great way to release stress and pent-up energy. Don’t forget to listen to your body and take it day by day. In the end, it’s all about feeling good and being present in your body.

Resources

YouTube workouts:

MadFit
PopSugar Fitness
Sydney Cummings
Five Parks Yoga CorePower Yoga
Alo (yoga + strength)

Paid Subscription Services:

Melissa Wood (pilates + yoga)
The Sculpt Society (dance cardio + sculpt)
Peloton (all styles of workouts)
Body by SJ (pilates, mediation, strength)
Aubre Winters / Sweat Sessions (dance cardio, sculpt, barre, HIIT)

Other Class Review Sites:

Sweats & The City
The Sweat Review

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