Do you find yourself constantly putting off a fitness routine because you’re too busy? You work full time, have a family, friends, or other obligations? You aren't alone. The number one reason people say they don't workout is, “I don't have enough time.”
We all know exercise is important for our physical and mental health. It’s beneficial in preventing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression and obesity to name a few. How much exercise do you need to prevent these things and stay healthy?
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that healthy adults accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate intense exercise each week. “The scientific evidence we reviewed is indisputable,” said Carol Ewing Garber, Ph.D., FAHA, FACSM, chair of the writing committee. “When it comes to exercise, the benefits far outweigh the risks. A program of regular exercise – beyond activities of daily living – is essential for most adults.”
ACSM recommends that:
- Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
- Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).
- One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise.
- Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk.
- People unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.
With these, keep in mind the last point -- Even if you cannot meet these minimum recommendations, you will still benefit from adding additional activity/exercise into your daily routine. It's all about balance and finding a routine that works for you.
In addition to cardiovascular exercise, the ACSM recommends that “adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment,” as well as “flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.”
Now that you have some basic guidelines on how much and how often you should be exercising let's focus on how to make time in your busy schedule.
- Keep fitness in your family's daily routine
Focus on making fitness part of your daily routine. Pick a specific time of day, every day, or on certain days that you'll either go to the gym, go for a walk, bike ride, hike, etc. Write it on a calendar, hang it up, and get the whole family involved. Also remember that creating new habits typically takes about 21 days to develop, so stick to it and give it a few weeks before it feels like a real routine
- Meal prep to allow extra time
If you don't already meal prep, now's a great time to start. Taking a couple hours, one or two days a week, will free up time during week and enable you to eat healthier. Keep it simple. If you need some tips for meal prepping, check out our video “7 Tips for Successful Meal Planning”
- Make fitness a priority
Put it at the top of your to do list. If you know you don't have a lot of time, get up a half hour earlier and go for a walk, do some core work in your living room, or even just a few minutes of stretching. Always make it a priority.
- Get a good night's sleep
A good night's sleep is key to your overall health and also your fitness routine. It'll help you wake up feeling better and more energized to workout. A good workout will help keep you energized throughout the day and improve the quality of your sleep at night. So, make getting a good night's rest a priority. Try to avoid large meals, sugary foods, and alcohol before bed. Also, try to get to bed at the same time every night. Again, as I mentioned earlier, it takes about 21 days to form a habit, so stay contestant with your bedtime routine and it will pay off.
- Find accountability!
Working out alone, makes it easy to skip workouts, eat crappy, and be lazy. If you can find a group fitness class, a coach, a personal trainer, or a good friend to hold you accountable, you're less likely to fall off the bandwagon, especially if you're paying for it.