Exercise tips for busy professionals


by Anton Maartens

Exercise can be a time-consuming affair for people who lead busy lives. Some merely use it as an excuse to dodge their personal fitness responsibilities, but others really do face a dilemma.

Successful business executives and corporate personnel often do not have much time proper workouts. And whenever they do have the time, they usually don’t feel up to it.

It is a fact of modern life that time equals money.... no doubt about that! However, time also equals health! It is no use having all the riches in the world if poor health won’t allow us to enjoy it.

Let’s face it, our health is a priceless commodity. No matter how much money we spend on state-of-the-art fitness equipment, expensive nutritional supplements or trendy health club memberships, our personal fitness will always be a long-term investment that requires a minimum amount of time and effort.

Fortunately research suggests that exercise does not have to take up much of your day. Moderate activities done at intervals throughout the day can be as beneficial as demanding, serious workouts. Try the following tips to fit more exercise into a busy day:

Get Serious. Make a commitment to your personal health. Fitness is a responsibility, and exercise is an act of self-respect. You owe it to yourself, your family and your employer. One day, when you retire, your career achievements will soon be forgotten, but your health and fitness will remain a joyous part of your life.

Set Goals. Goal-setting is your road map to success. You won’t take on a new investment project or product range without a proper business plan, would you? The same principle applies to your fitness program. Set short, intermediate and long-term goals and make sure these goals are realistic and attainable. For example, your short term goal may be to climb an extra flight of stairs each day, while a long-term goal would be to lose a certain amount of weight or participate in a corporate fun run. It is important to remember that goals can change.

Get Organised. Many busy people get so caught up in meetings and deadlines that they forget to fit in any physical activity at all. Some even forget to eat! Why not schedule a daily appointment with yourself. Make notes in your diary a week in advance or ask your assistant to remind you take a ‘fitness break’ once or twice a day. You can also save time by placing your home exercise equipment in a corner of your office. Or leave it in a place at home where you have easy access to it. Hiding it in a dusty closet will not encourage you to use it. Also try to avoid going home before you go to the gym. Get in the habit of packing your workout gear the night before and take it with you to the office. Stopping at home to get dressed is too much of a temptation...

Surprise Yourself. Your fitness program does not have to be a highly organised, structured affair. Forget the rigid workout schedules. Do whatever you can whenever you can, as long as you do it on a regular basis. Short bits of exercise can be just as effective as long workouts. Traditional recommendations stated that people had to exercise continuously for at least 30 minutes at least three times a week to obtain health benefits. More recent recommendations state that short bouts of activity of at least 10 minutes each, several times a day, can be just as effective. Try to accumulate 30 minutes or more a day of moderately strenuous activities, such as walking, cycling, housework or gardening, on most days of the week. It all adds up in the end!

Don't Give Up. If you skipped a workout, because you had an urgent matter to attend to, don’t give up. You can always make up for it tomorrow. Fitness should not be an all-or-nothing affair!

Have Some Fun. Enjoyment is a powerful stimulus to continue an activity. Bring some fun into your workouts. Exercise does not have to be dull and dreary. Ask a friend to join you or change your routine by using use different combinations of exercises. Why not make weekend exercise a family affair? A hike in the woods, a game in the pool, sharing gardening chores or an evening of dancing is not only a great way to exercise and reduce your stress levels, it also adds up to quality time with the people love.

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