Fit Fitness into a Frantic Schedule

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5 Ways to Make Fitness a Permanent Part of Your Life

1. Make exercise a priority. You're not going to find time to exercise until you make time to exercise. So commit to exercise like you've committed to your favorite TV show, or to eating three meals a day. Remember that exercising will help you sleep better at night. Exercise is a great outlet for releasing stress. Exercise gives you an excuse to splurge on junk food occasionally. Exercise keeps your heart healthy. Exercise is good for your mind, body, and spirit.

2. Create a workout plan that fits your lifestyle. If you're not exercising at all right now, then there's no need to commit to daily two-hour workouts! Start small, say with 20 minutes of cardiovascular activity three times a week, slowly increasing your time as you go along. This is better than no exercise at all. Once you're exercising, you might find it easier to do one more fitness activity, like a couple short sets of sit-ups or push-ups. The key here is that you need to force yourself to get at least 20 minutes of cardio three times each week. Then you can build on that as you wish.


3. Ask for help around the house. Your spouse and your kids are capable of doing things around the house. Maybe it's time to assign the kids a few more chores, like dusting the living room, doing their own laundry, emptying the dishwasher, ironing -- whatever it is that will give you the extra time you need to exercise. We're not saying they should be toiling away at home all the time, but chances are they won't miss the extra TV time, and they won't turn down a small raise in their allowance for their efforts.

4. Stop working insane hours. If long hours at work are a problem, then perhaps it's time to talk with your supervisor about how you could change this. Occasionally nine- or 10-hour days are a necessity, but they shouldn't be the norm. Your boss might be able to help you manage your time better during the day, or perhaps it's time to expand your department by hiring an intern or an assistant. Either way, it doesn't hurt to ask your boss for some help. Remember, it's the quality of your work, not the quantity of your hours, that really counts.

5. Exercise in the morning. This is not punishment for getting up -- it's actually quite practical for a few reasons. First, exercise produces serotonin in your brain, the chemical responsible for good moods, and it has long-lasting, energy-boosting effects that are even better than a large cup of coffee. So exercising first thing in the morning will have benefits all day long. Second, one challenge with exercising is the whole routine -- the warm-up, the cool-down, the shower -- it's all very involved. But if you exercise in the morning you can wash away your sleepiness and your sweat all in one morning shower. Third, imagine starting your day knowing you've already overcome your toughest challenge!


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