Work it Out! Fitting a Workout into your Working Day

If there were twice as many hours in the day you’d have no trouble getting some exercise in, right? In reality, 24 hours should be more than enough time to fit a 45 minutes workout into your day… It’s all a matter of priorities!

So before you say you’re too busy at work to squeeze exercise into your schedule, or have no energy left at the end of a busy day, consider this…

Are you okay with feeling so busy and stressed for the rest of your life, that you never get your body in good shape? Or do you want to give exercise a chance? Are you really as busy as you think, or are you simply prioritising work over your health? Perhaps it might actually help reduce your stress…

If you want to dive in, here are some tips to get you started, and make exercise a non-negotiable part of your routine – just like work!

Why work out?

It’s a vicious cycle. You’re so busy at work that you can’t find time to exercise. When you get home, you’re so exhausted from work that you can’t find the energy to exercise – and who wants to add another thing to the to-do list anyway?

And then…it happens all over again the next day.

Although adding exercise into your day may seem like another task or time commitment, in the end it buys you both energy and time. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to deal with the constant stress we experience as a result of our hectic lifestyles. When you’re less stressed, you sleep better, feel more energised, and ultimately can be more productive at work. Plus, your health is better and you’ve got a better shot at a long, illness-free life.

So realistically, if you spent 45 minutes exercising per day, you’d significantly increase your productivity at work, meaning you actually might be able to get things done more efficiently and effectively… Sounds like a good trade off!

But how do you get started when you’re not in the routine of making time for a workout?

Make the most of any opportunity

For many of us, there are pockets of time during the day that we could use more productively. Get in the habit of recognising an opportunity for exercise when you see one, and don’t waste time – dive into it! Incidental exercise doesn’t actually take up any time at all, so there goes your excuses!

Here are some ideas:

  • Take a walk around the block during your lunch break
  • If your workplace is close enough, walk or cycle to work instead of driving or catching the bus or train
  • Get off the train or bus one or two stops before your regular stop and walk the extra distance
  • If you drive to work, park the car a 5-10 minute walk away from the office
  • Start your working day with a walk by getting up just half an hour earlier, or finish your working day with a walk as soon as you arrive home
  • Treat grocery shopping or a visit to a shopping centre as an opportunity to exercise. Walk a little further for some extra window shopping!
  • Use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator.

Workplace workouts

If your office building has fitness facilities, make the most of them! Many companies now provide access to gyms or offer fitness classes to employees. If there’s a gym in your workplace, it’s even easier for you to fit a workout into your busy day.

Signing up to fitness classes with your colleagues can be a fun way to exercise, and doubles as an effective way to motivate yourself too. If your workplace doesn’t offer classes, why not ask around and see who’s interested in signing up to the nearest gym with you? You might find a few eager workout buddies to give you the push you need.

Here are some more ideas:

  • Early morning yoga or tai chi can be a great way to start the day. See if any of your colleagues are interested in joining you.
  • Start or join a company team – volleyball, basketball or touch rugby make great social activities that will get you fit and healthy, while also offering the chance to socialise and bond with your work mates!
  • Make sure you stretch during the day. Taking a few minutes out to stretch your limbs, shoulders, back and neck will help to keep you flexible and can help reduce neck, back or shoulder strain.

Exercise habits out of hours

Once you’ve finished work for the day, what do you do? Flop onto the couch in front of the TV? Join friends for some socialising? How about prioritising some time for a workout after work instead? It will help you unwind, destress and leave the working day behind you.

Here are some ideas for relaxing exercise after work:

  • Take a walk with a family member or a friend, and use the time to unwind and catch up on the day’s events. Plan a regular walking time before or after dinner.
  • If you have access to a pool or beach, lake or river you can swim in, take some time out for a leisurely swim.
  • Plan a fun family or social activity that involves physical activity, such as a bike ride or a casual game of cricket.
  • Join a gym. Choose one that is on your way to or from work to make it easier to go.

It comes down to priorities

If you’re more of a morning person, we get it! Just know yourself well enough to recognise that, if you’re good at convincing yourself you don’t have the energy to exercise after work, and find yourself glued to the couch instead, plan a morning workout instead.

Going to bed slightly earlier at night isn’t taxing, is it? Then, you’ll be ready to wake up slightly earlier, giving you time to workout before heading to work! Again, if it makes you more inclined to go, find a gym on your way to work – you might even save some travel time in the process.

All it takes is waking up 30-45 minutes earlier and seizing the day! Make exercise a priority, and plan it in your schedule like you would any other work commitment. It’s time to work it out!

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