9 Ways To Carve 20 Mins Into Your Day For Physical Activity
“I’d love to get to the gym today, but I just don’t have the time.”
Sound familiar? It will for a lot of us. The fact is: life is busy. We get that. Sometimes life gets moving pretty quickly, and it’s difficult to slow down and make the time for ourselves. The fact is, there’s always time to get out and enjoy a 20 minute walk, and there’s always a few ways to get a couple of 10 minute stair climbs in at the office between meetings.
The key is investing your energy into reimagining how you can get it done; each and every day. There are literally a million ways to get in a few extra steps, or slip in a workout before work.
20 minutes isn’t much. You deserve it. Here’s a list of our top 9 favourite ways to carve 20 minutes of physical activity into your busy schedule:
Make Your Workout A Priority
We design our respective lifestyle’s around a set of priorities, so if your workout routine or a bit of exercise isn’t one of them, it’ll be increasingly difficult to find the time – or the motivation – to satisfy a perceived extracurricular activity, or something that doesn’t matter as much as having that second morning coffee.
Making your exercise regiment a priority in your life can help you to focus on what’s really important to you – like your health – by adjusting and reassessing those so-called required day-to-day activities. We’re willing to bet that you’ll begin to recognize how important exercise is to you, and you’ll wonder why you hadn’t made this ideological switch a long time ago.
Maybe this is easiest for you by creating a written list, or an in-phone schedule that you try to stick to. Find a time when you’ve typically got a free moment and dedicate it to a quick jog, a dog walk, a trip to the gym, or even a quick physical activity video to help flex your creative energy. This way, when you check your schedule each morning, you’ll have your workout primed and in your mental periphery all day.
Turn Your Commute Into A Workout
If you’re anticipating an overly crazy day, make it your mission to ditch the streetcar or the subway during the evening commute by walking home, or bring along your gym bag and go for a run after work. Running and jogging is great transportation – you may even find that you get home faster than relying on public transportation.
Is a 5 kilometer jog home out of the cards? Consider parking a few extra blocks away from your office in the morning, so you can work in a brisk walk on your way to the car. And instead of ordering in at lunch, bring a bite from home and head to a nearby park for lunchtime.
Take The Kids
Having young kids or infants can mean that you’ve got to work extra hard to accommodate a daily workout. Get creative and make a regiment out of your daily at-home cleaning routine. Break up a few jobs so you force yourself to walk the stairs a few extra times.
Further, your kids have all kinds of energy. Get outside and play with them! Running, crawling, building and digging in the yard are all great ways to get your heart rate up. Playing with your kids won’t feel like a chore, and you’ll likely catch yourself playing for a solid hour before you realize you only set out for 20 minutes of exercise.
Do overhead lifts when you’re lifting up your kids all day; work squats into cleaning up towels, coats, bibs and toys off the floor; try calf raises when you’re making lunch at the counter. If jogging is your thing, consider trying out a jogging stroller for your infant so you can enjoy your mid-morning jog with them.
The Early Bird Gets The Worm
Being an early morning exerciser means you get to stroke your workout off your list before the day has really begun. Make sure to get the right amount of sleep by adjusting your schedule for a dawn attempt at the gym – sleep is equally as important to ensuring good health.
If you’re having a hard time getting out of bed, sleep in your gym clothes so you’re ready right out of the gate. You’ll be home in time to pour yourself that crucial morning coffee.
Motivate With Money
There’s nothing quite like realizing you’ve spent a small fortune on an 8-week yoga workshop, a pricey new gym membership, or the new gym clothes you’ve been Googling for the last few weeks to make you get up and head out for a bit of well-earned exercise.
Putting some money on the line may be a good way to hint to yourself just how dedicated you were when you made the decision to invest in your health. Don’t blow your rent, but spending a few bucks on yourself can serve as a good reminder that you know you’re worth the cost of being active.
Consider looking into physical activity workout programs, apps, or other subscription based models that can help you carve a workout into your day.
Cater To Your Likes and Dislikes
If you really dislike the traditional leg-day motif, modify your approach! Just don’t skip your workout altogether. Concentrate on what you enjoy and hone your workout into a part of your day that you look forward to – focus on building a new routine into your life that will help support your goals.
Maybe this means choosing to go for a strenuous hike instead of spending 20 minutes on the elliptical, or going for a quick jog around the block instead of using the treadmill indoors. Maybe you live in close proximity to the gym and can opt to walk or bike there, rather than drive.
There are always alternatives that can help you hone the areas of your health that you’re most interested in. On the contrary if you live in a snowy region, going to the gym, local community centre, shopping mall, or arena for a slush-free walk may be just the ticket for getting in a quick 20 minute workout after a long day at the office.
Make An Event Out Of It
Working out and getting exercise doesn’t mean you’ve got to be a lone wolf with your headphones in at the gym each day. Invite some friends out for a weekly game of softball, soccer, or beach volleyball. Sometimes the competitive edge can have an advantage in motivating.
Dust off your skis or snowboard and hit the slopes with your friends, or try organizing a bike-to-work initiative at the office with a few of your co-workers. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, coordinate a daily morning walk to the library, coffee shop, or a weekly hike with your kids as a way to get some exercise in and spend some time with friends and family while you’re at it.
Making a game or an event out of exercise is a great way to help prioritize how you spend your time. Getting away from the TV or tablet and interacting with your colleagues, friends or other parents can be the perfect ticket to spicing up your exercise routine.
It’s A Date!
Dinner and drinks is quickly becoming a cliche of the modern dating realm. Toss it up a little bit by inviting your love interest on a quick day-trip, or a walk in the park. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try your hand at a dance class, a picnic, or a spin class.
Bonus tip: recent studies suggest that a shared activity can help to build attraction (you’re welcome).
Not all screen time is bad! Training yourself to spend more time planning and implementing a workout plan via your phone or tablet with the use of a specialized app can revolutionize your level of exercise motivation.
Using any number of in-phone apps or subscription based physical activity services that help you to plan and track your workout regimen, schedules, and even step-counters all contribute to changing your perception of what exercise really means.
Pedometers are great tools to help you maintain a daily average step count of about 10,000 – as we get older we tend to decrease our daily movement to about 4,500 by the age of 60. Pedometers can be purchased from any number of sporting good retailers, and you can download apps that transform your phone into a mini pedometer.
Taking 20 minutes to yourself each day to go for walk, get outside, or play with your kids on your hands and knees is such a critically important aspect of a healthy human psyche. Not only do these areas promote overall healthy and physical wellness, but they can be genuinely fun too.
With these tips and tricks – from the technological to the classic style – you’ll be well on your way to rediscovering what’s important, and what you already know you’re worth.