How to balance workloads with workouts
Like everybody in modern civilisation, you are a busy person – right? There is work, traffic, household tasks, family and social responsibilities and endless other engagements. Understandably, sticking to a fitness regime is hard.
Moreover, for many of us, being “on the go” really means not going at all, but rather sitting still – in meetings; in front of a computer; in your car. Consequently, the busier our schedules get, the idler our bodies become, leaving us unhealthy and unhappy.
Unfortunately, the knowledge of this flaw in our culture does not change the fact that our lifestyles are subjected to it and we need to do what we can to stay fit in spite of it.
So, how do you balance work and life with a healthy amount of exercise? And how much do you actually need? Is it really necessary to spend hours in the gym (or for the most of us – feel guilty because we don’t?). And with all the options out there, what type of exercise is recommended?
We will try to answers some of these questions.
There are different opinions on how much exercise people need. Furthermore, your unique body and your individual needs (weight loss, marathon training, recovering from an illness, etc.) will also adjust the target. Thus, no one, simple answer exists, but there are still some general guidelines which might be helpful. (Remember to consult your health care provider before starting a new fitness program.)
Put your heart in it
Popular thought is that one needs a daily minimum of 30 minutes cardiovascular exercise (the type that makes your heart beat faster) at least five times a week to maintain a decent level of fitness. This could also translate into 150 minutes spread out in any which way over a week. However, if you up the intensity of the workout from moderate (like walking or swimming) to hard (like running or aerobics), you can reduce the number of minutes to around 75 a week – three 25-minute sessions. Remember, this is a minimum: more minutes mean better heart health and increased weight loss.
Flex those muscles!
Cardiovascular exercise is however not the end of the story. You also need to do strength training (like weight lifting or muscle exercises using your own body weight) 2-3 times a week, covering all major muscle groups. This type of exercise builds muscle tone in a way that cardio cannot (which has many health and ego benefits) and it increases your basal metabolic rate, meaning you burn calories while resting – do you need a better incentive than that?Combining the above two types of training (e.g. in boot camp or circuit workouts) could be a great way to tick both boxes at times.
Take in the rest
Ready for some doable fitness advice? Give your body a break by not breaking a sweat 1-2 days a week. This does not entail a couch potato licence, but it does mean that light or casual exercising (like strolling around a mall and stretching) is sufficient.
Fitting in fitness
Some suggestions on how to squeeze in gym hours or outdoor walks with all the things you need to do:
- Opt for less frequent, but longer training sessions – that way you save on travelling, prep and clean-up time, but still get to clock in your necessary minutes.
- Avoid traffic by working out near your workplace during rush hour, before or after work.
- Take household duty- and exercising turns with your spouse.
- Use lunch hour wisely – sweating instead of sandwiching will leave you surprisingly refreshed!
- Get up earlier to exercise and go to bed earlier (instead of wasting time on social media).
- Get help to plan your schedule better
A different mind-set about movement
Remember: fitness is not just about the exercise you do during the times you exclusively set aside for workouts.Movement should be incorporated into your daily life and small bursts of exercise spread out throughout your day also contribute to fitness.
Tips on how to be moving while on the move:
- Set a reminder to get up around the hour and do 2-5 minutes of stretching, walking or muscle exercises (like squats).
- Always move around instead of sitting down when on the phone.Always move around instead of sitting down when on the phone.
- Step up your daily step count by taking stairs instead of escalators, parking further away from buildings, and rather walking or cycling to destinations.
- Have “active appointments”: take strolls as social or business meetings.
- Play actively with your children! Put on music and dance while cooking and cleaning.
- Put on music and dance while cooking and cleaning.
- Use waiting time effectively: plank while the kettle is boiling, walk around during hold-ups, etc.
Life is busy – we know. But your body is the vehicle with which you need to live that busy life. Keep it fit to keep it up!
For help with a fitness regime that suits your unique needs, find the right professionals at www.myhealthandfitness.co.za
About My Health and Fitness
Welcome to My Health and Fitness, a rich source of articles to help you become the best version of yourself. From diet to exercise and general health, our content contributors (including Biokineticists, Physiotherapists, and Fitness Professionals) will cover all your frequently asked questions and more!
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Disclaimer: Our articles are not meant to replace any medical advice as given to you by your doctor or healthcare specialist. Always consult your doctor before trying out a new exercise routine or making drastic changes to your diet, especially where pre-existing conditions are applicable.
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