Do you start your day with a to-do list of things to accomplish? For some working out is an item on that list and for others it's simply a part of their unwritten daily routine: eat, sleep, brush teeth, workout. But for all too many of us caught up in our busy day to day lives exercise doesn't make the carefully bulleted list OR the daily routine. Don't let your mind play tricks on you - make exercise a priority!
Making time for exercise can feel selfish because, well, it is. Exercise is time that you take to improve yourself not only physically but mentally. You may ask, "how can an hour of mindless jogging improve my mind?" An hour of exercise clears your mind and gives it a break by letting you concentrate on simply putting one foot in front of the other or lifting a weight in and out of a curl. In today’s fast-paced world, we sometimes neglect to take down time to clear our minds of the needs of others and focus on our own needs. So, go ahead and be selfish. It's for a good cause!
Make the Most of Your Workout:
Most exercise governing bodies recommend at least 60 minutes of physical exercise per day. Does an hour seem like a long time to set aside each day or is it fighting traffic, finding parking, changing clothes, working out and then packing everything up to go home that adds up? All considered, a task that should only take you an hour ends up taking two hours. Here are some tips to maximize your workouts for greater results in less time!
Get up early: Find a boot camp, early morning aerobics class, or a running buddy. It is easier to get up early if you know that a person or group is waiting for you. You benefit both from increased accountability and also from eliminating the stress of spending the rest of the day trying to talk yourself into an evening workout session: you're already done! Morning exercise also starts your day on the right foot and increases your ability to deal with stress.
Split up your workouts: Get up and run for a half an hour in the morning near your home and in the evening do another 30 minutes of calisthenics or weights. You can do resistance work in your living room while you watch the evening news. Hand weights or resistance bands can be purchased in any sporting goods store rather inexpensively.
Increase your intensity: If you only have a half an hour to workout, bump up your intensity to make the most of those thirty minutes. If you are running or cycling dedicate at least 10 minutes of the workout to a sprint. If you are lifting weights, lift heavier weights for fewer reps and work the entire body in 30 minutes! Small increases in intensity are guaranteed to add up.
Workout on the weekends: If you can only realistically workout twice during the week then make sure to reserve some time on your weekend days to workout. Working out when you have time to focus on it is so rewarding.
Do something!: If you absolutely cannot take 30 minutes or an hour to work out once a day, just commit to getting up to do 10 minutes of push-ups, sit-ups, lunges and squats before hitting the shower in the morning. Something is better than nothing and it gets the blood following and keeps muscles healthy which in turn boosts endorphins and your mood!
Most women have a lot on their plate – job, family, home, organizations and clubs. It seems your tasks will never end and I certainly am not the person to be doling out relaxation advice, but in order to be good for our lives we need to be good for ourselves. Taking time for ourselves only makes us better for others. When you are 80, retired and still active you will thank yourself! Start now.
About the Author: Lauren Lorenzo is an owner and Director of Training and Operations at Operation Boot Camp of North America. She is a graduate of JamesMadisonUniversity, an AFAA certified group fitness instructor, ACE certified personal trainer, certified Power Pilates instructors, and certified turbo kick instructor with over 11 years of experience. Lauren has taught classes at Atlanta Kick, The White House Athletic Center, The GreenbrierAthleticCenter, BaltimoreAthleticCenter and Athletic Club Northeast. She is currently pursuing her masters in nutrition.
Edited by: Sarah Mansfield
Operation Boot Camp is a 30 day fitness program with the mission to help people get fit through positive changes in nutrition, exercise and attitude. For more information on Operation Boot Camp, please visit www.operationbootcamp.com.