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How to balance work and staying fit

Finding time to keep fit when you’re already balancing work, family commitments and a social life isn’t easy. 

Many of us start the working week with good intentions – planning early morning runs or gym visits after work. Yet, those good intentions can easily give way to the realities of 9-5 work: peak hour traffic, meetings that run overtime, project deadlines and long to-do lists.

The key is to be realistic about what you can achieve and find an exercise plan that easily fits into your work schedule. And we’ve done the thinking for you, so all you need to do is … well, the moving.

Plan ahead and communicate

Let’s face it, very few of us ever really want to exercise. So, to give yourself the best chance of succeeding you need a solid schedule. Look ahead at your week and block out at least two slots in your calendar when you will exercise. Be sure to allow for travel time so there’s no chance you will miss your workout. 

Most importantly, when you have your schedule you need to make sure your friends, family and colleagues know the times that you are unavailable. The better you communicate this; the less likely people will be to interrupt you. 

Exercise with your colleagues

If you’re struggling to find time to keep fit, you can be sure that many of your colleagues are in the same boat. 

Try reaching out to your co-workers to set up lunch time walking or running group a couple of times per week. You could also instigate walking meetings as a way of being more active and still very productive.

Not only is exercising with colleagues a great way to keep each other motivated, it also helps nurture your work relationships and is a great endorphin boost for the remainder of the day! 

Focus on incidental exercise 

If you’re struggling to find time to complete dedicated work outs, incidental exercise is a great way to help you stay active – this is exercise that happens naturally throughout your day. 

There are many ways to increase your incidental exercise without really noticing. Here are some ideas to consider:

•    Take the stairs instead of the lift
•    Park a little further away from work and walk the rest of the way
•    Wear a pedometer and aim to get to 10,000 steps each day
•    Get up to speak to your colleagues rather than emailing.

Exercise smarter

It is possible to exercise for less time and burn more calories. Yes, you heard right!

If you’re time-poor the best way to burn calories and increase your fitness is high intensity interval training (often referred to as HIIT). Basically, this exercise focuses on intense bursts of cardio followed short periods of rest. Better yet, research suggests that even just ten minutes of HIIT training can outperform longer traditional cardio in weight loss and fitness building. 

So if you’re looking for the best return on investment try a HIIT workout. There are hundreds of free fitness videos online, such as FitnessBlender.

Choose a gym that is close to your work 

If you’re someone that prefers to hit the gym then the key to keeping up your exercise commitments is to be strategic! If you need to go past your house (or go home to get your exercise gear) before you get to your gym you will find it so much harder to stay motivated. 

Finding a gym that is closer to your work (and making sure your gym gear is ready to go) will put one less barrier in your way to exercise.