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You know you should be exercising regularly, for your health and your body shape, but you just can't seem to find the time to do it. We understand -- between family, home, work, and, well, life in general, you barely have time to read the newspaper headlines in the morning.
So we're going to help you tackle this problem. We've got some quick tips on how you can incorporate exercise into your everyday routine. And we've got bigger ideas for helping you make fitness a permanent part your life. Read on.
1. Buy arm weights for your home. Arm weights can be used while you're watching TV or talking on the phone. Start with 8-pound weights and do three sets of 15 bicep curls each day. After two months, graduate to 12- or 15-pound weights, and add another exercise to your repertoire. Check out our How-To Exercises for more ideas.
2. Buy a fitness video. A 15-minute aerobic routine is an excellent, quick way to bring cardio into your life. Or if Pilates is more your style, invest in a Pilates video instead. Either way, whether your fitness style is high-impact aerobics or intense yoga, there are lots of great fitness videos that you can use in your own home.
3. Use your lunch hour wisely. A brisk 20-minute walk during your lunch hour is a great fitness solution, especially if you can do it three or four times each week.
4. Take 15 in the morning. Wake up 15 minutes earlier and do arm weights or a quick aerobic video routine.
5. Take 15 at night. Do 50 sit-ups and 50 push-ups before you go to bed each night.
6. Invest in a good pair of sneakers. Having the right equipment means you have one less excuse to avoid working out. Plus, once you glide into those comfy, bouncy new shoes, you'll want to run or walk practically everywhere.
7. Take a walk in the evening. This is an excellent fitness activity to do with a loved one or a close friend. Leave your cell phone behind and it can become a time for bonding and connecting with one another, too. Or try it solo and use it as quiet time to reflect.
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!