Exercise for health in a busy routine
Taking regular exercise supports fitness and wellbeing, so it is a key part of living InSync – but it can be difficult to take time out from a busy day to focus on it. Here are some ideas for getting essential movement into your daily routine without committing to a time-consuming programme or losing your motivation.
Stretch out the mornings
Simple daily stretches can help you feel energised and prepared for each day. Be gentle and deliberate in your movements, and take a few moments to breathe deeply and relax into it. Here’s one to try:
Get into a simple lunge position, careful to keep your bent knee in line with your ankle. Feel the stretch in the back of your extended leg and your hamstring. Breathe in and out slowly, hold for 30 seconds and swap sides.
Charge up your commute
You probably spend more time getting to and from work than you do in a gym session – so it’s a great idea to find ways to pack more exercise into these moments. One of the easiest ways is to increase the amount of walking you do getting to and from other modes of transport. You could hop off the bus or train a stop or two earlier or park the car a bit further away; it’s not a workout, but every few extra steps adds up to more movement in your day.
Having a seated job can have an impact on your fitness and posture. Include more natural movement in your day by setting a timer to get up, stretch and top up your water glass at least once every hour. Schedule walking meetings so you can get exercise while you work and ensure colleagues motivate each other by starting lunchtime and after work activities such as a walking, running or cycling clubs. You can even ask your HR team about bringing in an outside instructor for inclusive activities such as an all-levels yoga class.
It’s a HIIT
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a great way to pack the benefits of exercise into limited time. Although it’s recommended that you do this for 30 minutes five times a week, it doesn’t have to be consecutively – you can break it up into more short intervals.
If you enjoy the benefits of running but find long jogs take too long, try mixing 2-minute bursts of more intense sprinting with 30-second walking breaks. Many gyms also have shorter classes based around HIT, such as lunchtime spinning classes, which suit those looking to breathe new life into their routine.
Little changes can make short workouts more effective – so you really make the most of your time out exercising. To avoid excuses, have your exercise gear clean, ready and waiting the day before your planned activity – or even just keep a pair of trainers in your desk drawer for lunchtime walks. Make sure you have a light, energising snack and keep hydrated before, during and after exercise so that you can put the most effort in. At work you might do the hardest bit first to get it out of the way – but with exercise try warming up with the bit you like best to kick-start your motivation and get in the right frame of mind to have an energetic workout.
A little friendly support – or even competition! – can go a long way towards helping you meet your goals and look forward to including exercise as a regular part of your lifestyle. If pounding the pavements solo is boring you, look for local park runs to keep you motivated. Or join a weekend class with a local friend or neighbour. You can track your workouts using a smartphone app, which helps you keep a record of your achievements and share updates with friends and family online.
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