You know you need to get exercise, but actually making it happen is difficult.
Running a business is time-consuming, and free evenings are rightly devoted to relaxation and family time. Weekends hold potential, but even if you are able to handle exercise sessions at those times, you likely want to exercise more than one or two days each week. Pre-dawn workouts, while perfect for some, may disrupt your sleep cycle to the extent that your concentration suffers and productivity plummets.
Exercising during the work day can not only allow you to reach your fitness goals but also provide a much-needed mental break. As a result, you may have renewed focus and a higher energy level, which can boost productivity. Get started with steps that require creativity but not loads of free time:
Search for Workout Venue Possibilities
Find a workout location close to your workplace. Preferably this venue will be accessible within 15 minutes or fewer so that you can dedicate 30 minutes to your workout and spend just an hour in total on exercise during the day.
In an ideal world, a gym with studio space, cardio equipment, and strength-training equipment as well as a multi-use trail for walking, running, rollerblading, and cycling will be nearby. But you can still exercise even if neither a full-service gym nor a park-like setting is right outside your door.
Specialty fitness facilities (such as climbing centers or yoga studios) may be around the corner and open at convenient times. If classes and hours don’t mesh with your needs, talk to owners about offering workday-friendly schedules on a trial basis to determine demand. Places to walk or run include sidewalks or roads near your office building.
If there is no place suitable near your workplace, look inside your workplace. You may find space that is suitable for a fitness room. Consult with a local supplier about setting up a facility in a way that is cost-effective and compliant with safety regulations. Alternatively, use this space for studio-type exercise with no special equipment.
Choose a Form of Exercise
Discover what makes sense for you. Consider where you can exercise during the day as a starting point. Then think about what you want to accomplish. Do you want to get started with exercising? Do you want to improve athletic performance? Do you want to be stronger, more flexible, or faster? Your goals can guide your decision.
Owing to the proliferation of specialty gyms in addition to full-service facilities and the open road (or sidewalk), options for exercise are plentiful. These forms of exercise come to mind as suitable for inserting into your work day:
- Walking: A leisurely walk can be a great entry into an exercise regimen while a fast-paced power walk or quick-stepping climbs up several flights of stairs can build cardiovascular fitness.
- Running: Doing hill work or speed work on your lunch break can help you become stronger and faster, serving as a great complement to possible endurance runs on the weekends.
- Cycling: Stay inside for spin classes or ride on trails outdoors (for those who are not bicycle commuting on a regular basis).
- Strength training: Do repetitions on the weights at the gym or simply do bodyweight exercises in a private space at your workplace.
- Yoga: Visit a studio or follow an instructor online in a private space.
Bring Exercise Gear to Work
There’s nothing more frustrating than carving out time to complete a workout, getting yourself mentally ready, and then discovering that you’ve forgotten something essential, such as your running shoes, swimsuit, or extra change of clothes for après workout.
Pack your gear the night before a workout. For double protection, keep an extra set of everything in your car or tucked away in a locker at your workplace. Handy items may include:
- Sport-specific clothes
- Athletic shoes
- Water bottle
- Exercise mat
Carve Out Time
Place your workout on your calendar. Be specific about the time, date, and location. When arranging an appointment with a client, vendor, or employee (and, invariably, reviewing priorities and negotiating meeting times), remember that your workout is a commitment. Schedule engagements to accommodate the workout plus time to travel to and from your workout site and minutes needed to freshen after exercise.
Activate electronic reminders of your workout session if needed; set your phone alarm or send an alert to yourself as a prompt.
The lunch hour may be perfect for your needs, but don’t limit yourself to a noon session. Consider a post-lunch workout as the crowds have often dissipated from local YMCAs and specialty facilities just after 1 p.m. Alternatively, get to your workplace extra early and then work out around 10 a.m. so that you can get some things accomplished before taking a break.
Develop a schedule and routine that works for you. Realize that carving out time just twice each week can make a tremendous difference in your fitness level and mental state.
Julie Rains is a senior writer at Wise Bread, a leading personal finance community dedicated to helping people get the most out of their money. Get daily money tips by following Wise Bread on Facebook or Twitter.