For a lot of people, myself included, exercise is the first thing we skip during a busy day, week, month, or even year. It’s easy to come up with excuses—we don’t have time or the right equipment or the energy. As a mom of two little ones and a business owner, I know these excuses all too well.
But as a professional Pilates instructor, I recognize the importance of exercising and moving our bodies every day. Exercise has been shown to improve our cognition, productivity, and health, and while most of us acknowledge these key benefits, they do little to help us in the practicality of fitting exercise into our jam-packed schedules.
My perspective on exercise changed when I decided that something is always better than nothing and I’ve made it my mission to help other busy women embrace this philosophy as well.
As an entrepreneur, I have what most would call a “flexible” schedule, but with two young children at home and a full-time business, my life feels far from flexible. I can’t go to the gym for an hour or go on long runs like I used to (my kids don’t last that long in the jogging stroller), but I can schedule in my exercise and make it a priority so even on those “busy” days that we all have, my health and fitness doesn’t fall by the wayside.
Finding time for exercise can still be a challenge (we are currently selling our house and planning a big move—I get it!), but the following tips have helped me continue to prioritize exercise for myself, for my family, and for my business.
If you’re looking to fit exercise into your busy schedule I hope these will help you too!
Focus on quality over quantity.
One thing I love about Pilates is the focus on quality over quantity. I love the quote by Joseph Pilates that says, “A few well designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.” This is one of the main reasons why I often have my clients doing just 10-15 minutes of Pilates a day because these short, focused workouts are not only efficient, but also effective.
Break it up.
We often think that we need a large chunk of time to workout, but many of us don’t have an hour to dedicate to exercise. If you don’t have time for a full-length workout, try 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. You can even do three 10-minute chunks of exercise throughout the day and get the same results!
Skip the sweat.
A lot of us think that a workout = sweat, which leads us to skip exercise because we don’t have time for the extra shower, blow dry, etc. Low intensity forms of exercise (like Pilates) provide a full-body workout but don’t require a post-workout shower! Win-win-win.
Do double duty.
Instead of meeting a friend for coffee, invite them for a walk (or coffee AND a walk). I often take conference calls while I’m walking outside too. Or if you want to reconnect with your family at the end of the day, head to the park for relays, tag, hide-and-seek, and other games that get your body moving.
Wake up early.
By exercising first thing in the morning, you get it done before the challenges of the day interfere with your good intentions. Those who exercise in the morning are often the most consistent.
Schedule your exercise.
Whether you are waking up early to exercise or fitting in some movement on your lunch break, schedule your workouts into your calendar. It may be as simple as 15-minutes here and 10-minutes there and a class on Saturday—just make a point to add it your daily schedule until it becomes more routine. You can also add “working out” to your daily to-do list to help keep you motivated.
Utilize online workouts.
Okay, I may be biased here, but online workouts are convenient, affordable, and perfect for busy women on-the-go. There is no driving and no need to get dressed. You can sneak in workouts throughout the week without needing to a secure a babysitter. Online workouts are easy and effective, and can be done any time of day.
The most important thing to remember is that something is always better than nothing.
Don’t let a busy schedule keep you from making time for your health and well-being. In order to show up and be your best for others, you must first take care of yourself.