If you’re working towards a job in healthcare, then there is a high probability that you are juggling work, school and perhaps even an externship with the rest of your day-to-day responsibilities. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with everything on your plate and to allow your own health to suddenly take a backseat while you are caring for others.
Exercise provides many benefits to your health, including maintaining a healthy weight and also a healthy level of stress. I am all too familiar with the work-school grind, which is why I’ve put together a list of five tips for fitting exercise into your busy day.
1. Consider the location
If you are going to work out using equipment or machines, try to choose a gym that is close to your home or workplace so that you aren’t discouraged by traffic or the price of gas. Perhaps, there is a gym at your job or where you live that you could go to before or after work.
If you like to work out in the privacy of your own home, you might want to consider investing in some free weights or a yoga mat for stretching. There are a lot of great videos on YouTube that show different exercises that you can do – no equipment necessary.
You can also research some local parks or trails in your area where you might be able to walk, bike, run, roller-blade or do whatever it is you like to do, when you have time and the weather is nice. Getting outside is a great way to up your Vitamin-D and relieve stress at the same time.
2. Set realistic goals
You can maintain an active, healthy lifestyle without making it a do or die endeavor! Make it your goal to exercise several times a week and eat healthy meals as much as possible. Don’t beat yourself up if you “cheat,” just stay focused and remember how good and bad habits will affect you in the future.
Set short-term goals that are relatively easy to meet and long-term goals that are a bit more challenging. My short-term goal is to work out two to three times per week and once on the weekend. I don’t always meet it, but having a goal in mind keeps me motivated and gives me a sense of accomplishment when I do find the time to work out.
3. Choose a time that works for you
If you hate getting up at the crack of dawn, then don’t plan on exercising at six in the morning! Instead, try to pick a time when you will be at your peak level of energy for the day. For a lot of people, this is mid-morning, so if you bring your lunch to work, you can take a quick walk on your lunch break, or if you followed step one, perhaps even hit the gym for a thirty minute workout.
Personally, I can’t commit to being at the same place at the same time unless it’s for work or school. That’s why I give myself a window like Thursday evening or sometime on Saturday, and I don’t stress out about the exact time that I arrive or leave. If you are super busy, build some flexibility into your schedule, so you can prioritize working out with your other activities.
4. Exercise with friends
Working out with a friend is beneficial in more ways than one. Using the buddy system makes you less likely to cancel and risk disappointing your workout partner, but why would you want to cancel when it has the potential to be so much fun?! You can chat in between using the machines and also trade advice on what exercises to do.
The other great thing about working out together is that you can celebrate your successes. My friends and I sometimes like to go for a coffee or smoothie when we finish up. We’re working our way towards treating ourselves to something fancier, but in the meantime we just enjoy each other’s company.
If your friends don’t work out, you should encourage them to start! If that doesn’t work, consider hopping on a website like Meetup and finding a local group to join. It’s a great way to make friends and try different activities without having to commit to one activity or group of people.
5. Buy new work-out clothes
This one is not so much about time, as it is motivation. When I first started working out, I felt really self-conscious. I never played sports, and I always dreaded having to change for gym and be seen in anything other than my regular clothes. Dressing in stylish workout clothes has given me a boost of confidence in the gym and has made me forget about how much I used to hate going there.
When you can afford it, treat yourself to new workout gear. There are plenty of places to buy inexpensive, quality athletic clothes that are functional and flattering. Toss the free t-shirts. An awesome outfit is a nice distraction from a lack of skill or general out-of-shapeness. Remember most people are focused on themselves anyway, and you should be too!