Past the Excuses

For a lot of us, when it comes to exercise, it’s easy to think up a billion and one reasons to put your exercise time on the back burner. But a simple way to stay committed and turn workouts into a no-brainer habit is to schedule them. Put your planner to work! Whether it’s writing it down or creating a Google Calendar or setting a reminder on your smart phone. Schedule it! Your workouts should be just as much a habit as brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. If you make it a regular part of your routine, you won’t even think about it. It may take a few months but exercise can and should be a regular feature in your daily routine.

* Use time wisely.

When the goal is making workouts consistent, even a shorter-than-usual gym session or a walk is better than none. So if you’re short on time, go for quality, not quantity. Get that heart rate pumping without running against the clock.

* Be accountable.

Sign up for a dance class, book a training session, meet up with a workout partner or one of your teammates. It’s harder to ditch workout plans if someone is waiting for you.

* Break it up.

When life gets hectic, setting aside a solid chunk of time to work up a sweat can be tough. One solution: Try scheduling in shorter, 10-15 minute blasts of exercise throughout the day to reap the same benefits a single workout. Using your breaks at work is a great way to get these workouts in. Instead of sitting in the break room on your break or lunch, grab your water and go for a power walk. It increases your heart rate and clears your head!

* Be realistic.

If you hit the snooze button five times each morning, it’s unlikely an early morning fitness routine will last longer than a few days. The most important part of figuring out when to workout is to find a time that's convenient for you.

* Add some variety.

Schedules are great for starting a routine, but even the most exciting workouts can start feeling stale — and easier to skip after a while. Whatever goals or interests you may have, try designating different days for different workouts. Don’t limit yourself to weight machines and treadmills. Try different things like a kick-butt cardio class on Monday, strength training on Wednesdays, and some time-to-unwind weekend yoga. Whatever it is, find something that feels more like fun then work!

* Stay flexible.

Even the best-laid plans can go awry. Deadlines at work, family obligations, and travel plans can all get in the way of a scheduled workout. Don’t beat yourself up about missing a workout. Instead, focus on eating well, stretching, or making other healthy choices until you can get back into your scheduled workout.

* Have fun (seriously).

No surprise here: The more fun the workout, the more likely you’ll keep at it. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to make it a habit. Though the first few minutes of a workout may be unpleasant, the exercise high at the end might make up for it and keep you going back for more!

Finding time to work out can be a challenge, but carving out time in your weekly calendar for some fun, effective, and totally tailor-made “you” time can make exercising regularly a reward and not a chore.