Thirteen Ways to Squeeze Fitness into Your Busy Schedule

It's not always easy to fit exercise into our busy lives. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to fit in everything we want to get done. 

Trying to insert a workout regime into our already packed schedule can seem impossible. But there are a few things you can do to make it a little easier, so read on to find out my top tips for squeezing fitness into your daily routine...

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1. Make exercise a priority
Make your physical fitness a priority in your life, not just something that you need to do and get out of the way. Reframe the way you think about exercise - it shouldn't feel like a 'necessary evil' or a punishment for eating too many biscuits. It should be a part of your life that you look forward to because it makes you feel great.

2. Be organised 
Pack your gym bag or lay out your workout clothes the night before. Sleep in them, if necessary. Anything to make your transition from sleep to exercise easier in the morning. If you have to drag yourself out of bed and then go hunting for your sports bra, earphones and trainers then you'll be less likely to bother.

3. Get up earlier 
Sorry if you're not a morning person (I'm definitely not) but setting your alarm an hour earlier and fitting in a quick workout before life gets in the way is the perfect way to get it crossed off your list for the day - and you won't be able to talk yourself out of it later in the day when you're tired from work and just want to go home rather than heading to the gym.

4. Walk to work 
Use your commute to fit a little fitness into your routine. If you live close enough to work, try walking, running or cycling there instead of driving. You could also use your lunch break to go for a little walk or fit in a few yoga stretches.

5. Write it in your diary
Make an appointment with yourself to go to the gym or for a run. Treat it as something that can't be missed, like an important work meeting or a dental check-up. Your health is important, so fitting in time to look after it is just as crucial as anything else you might have going on.

6. Make a workout date with a friend
If tip #5 doesn't work and you won't keep an appointment with yourself, you'll probably be more likely to keep it when you have someone else you don't want to let down. Set a date and time to meet a friend to work out with - this will keep you both accountable and be more fun than training alone. 

7. Try HIIT
You don't need loads of time to fit in an effective workout. HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a technique in which you alternate short, intense bursts of activity with quick rest periods. This keeps your heart rate up and can help the body to burn more calories in less time. Overall, it gives you a shorter, more efficient workout.

8. Work out at home in your spare time 
You can't always get to the gym, but don't let that stop you working out. If you can afford it, buy some fitness equipment such as an exercise bikefree weights or a skipping rope to use at home (you might even find some in the January sales right now). Do some squats or lunges while watching TV or run up and down the stairs a few times.

9. Be more active in general
Take the stairs instead of the lift. Park farther away from the door at the supermarket. Get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way home. All these little things add up and help to make a big difference to your overall fitness.

10. Find something you enjoy 
Doing an exercise you hate isn't exactly going to inspire you to keep going. Experiment with different things until you find something you actually like - you'll be more likely to want to fit it into your busy life if it's something you enjoy doing.

11. Anything is better than nothing
You may think you don't have time to exercise because you don't have a spare hour or two to devote to training, but even a quick ten minute workout can be effective and is better than doing nothing at all. As the saying goes: The only bad workout is the one you didn't do.

12. Wear an activity tracker
Wearing a fitness tracker such as a Fitbit or Garmin can be very motivational. Seeing how much you've achieved will make you feel good and motivate you to move more. Only 512 steps until you hit your target of 10,000 for the day? Go for a quick run around the block and there you go - done! 

13. Remind yourself why you're doing this
If getting fit is important to you, then you'll find a way. If not, you'll find an excuse. Keep in mind the reason you decided to start working out - was it to feel healthier, drop a dress size, get more definition or train for a marathon? Knowing why you want to do this and setting small, achievable goals to keep yourself motivated will help to keep you on track when the going gets tough.

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