The most common excuse I hear for not exercising is “I don’t have time”. In fact, most of us over-schedule ourselves so that there is little or no workout time left. But there is hope. I’ve heard from thousands of people who have become fitter and slimmer without spending even a full hour in a gym. By infusing your day with short segments of walking or other exercise, you never have to be tired. Most of those I’ve heard from who do these “exercise insertions” feel a boost of energy from each recess period.
Effective use of 5-10 minute segments:
Remember how good you felt after recess period in elementary school? Research shows that children and adults think better and work better even after short periods of minimal exertion, like walking. You can also receive about the same conditioning benefit from piecing together segments of exercise, as from one continuous session, according to several studies. I’ve seen results from as short a segment as 3-5 minutes. As you accumulate the number of these segments, you will burn calories, infuse energy into your day, and relieve stress. At the very least, 5 minutes of exercise is infinitely better than no exercise at all. When my clients get out for 5 minutes, they tend to do 10…or 20, according to my experience.
When one has only a few minutes available to exercise, the tendency is to focus better and to work at a higher effort level. After an easy minute of warming up, pick up the pace. Don’t push until you hurt or can’t talk, but it’s OK to huff and puff a bit. This will improve your performance in that activity, as you burn more calories during the workout. Many of the folks I coach have been able to burn as many calories in two 10 minute sessions as they used to but in one 30 minute session.
Scheduling the night before:
Before bed, go over your schedule for the next day. Target the times when you could squeeze in a workout and insert those into your busy schedule. Remember that even a short exertion will make you more productive and bestow a better attitude. It helps to have a workout bag with you at all times: clothes, shoes, deodorant, etc. Just by focusing on your day, the night before, you will find more opportunities, even on the busiest of days.
Endurance training on the weekend:
Schedule your longer workout when you have an hour or more available. This one longer session will build stamina that is lacking from the shorter bursts during the week. Most of my clients do this early on Saturday or Sunday morning, before the other family members have arisen.
Most of us have short periods during the day when we can sneak in a walk. Some of the most fit people I know have transformed former “coffee breaks” into “vitality insertions”, away from the phone/computer. This can allow you to gain control over your day.