Making time to exercise

Posted on May 14, 2018 by Brynna Gabrielson

Woman exercising at home

The link between physical activity and mental health is an important one. Studies have shown time and again that adding physical activity to our routine can benefit our mental wellbeing and help us cope with issues such as stress, anxiety and depression. In fact, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommends those with mild to moderate depression engage in a minimum of three 45-minute exercise sessions per week.

For some, adding physical activity to their life is a simple task. But it's not so easy for all of us. Introducing a new activity to your day means you'll have to find time for said activity. For those of us with daily lives that are already very busy, it can seem near impossible to find time to squeeze some movement in. While guidance from NICE is that those with mild or moderate depression should exercise for 45 minutes three times per week, general guidance for exercise is that all people should get 150 minutes per week. So if you can't do three 45 minute blocks, then try breaking it down differently such as 30 minutes over five days.

Utilise your lunch breaks

If you find yourself with an hour, or even half an hour of time at lunch, this is a great opportunity to squeeze in a bit of fitness time. If you have gym facilities at your office, or nearby, why not use this period to nip out for a quick 20-30 minutes gym session. It doesn't have to be a long one. Studies have shown the benefits of exercising for even just 10 minutes at a go!  No gym nearby? You could also use this time to go for a run, or a brisk walk. If you're worried about needing a shower after but are lacking facilities at the office, consider using baby wipes to get you through the afternoon. Dry shampoo is also a great help for your hair! 

Workout at home

If finding time to actually leave the house and get a work out in is proving difficult, working out within your own home is a great alternative and can easily be squeezed in between other chores. There are plenty of DVDs and videos on YouTube to follow along. All you need is your screen and a little bit of space. Even if you lack a TV to help you follow videos, you can still design a great home workout on your own using helpful articles and tips available online. You might even find it useful to supplement your home workout with a few small pieces of equipment. Adding hand weights or kettle bells can be really useful!

Make it family friendly

If lack of childcare makes it difficult to get out and get some time to yourself for exercise, you could consider finding ways to incorporate physical activity into your whole family's routine. An evening walk with your brood could be nice. If you have an infant, you might consider getting a good stroller for jogging. If your little one is older, you could always get them a bicycle and jog alongside them. Or get your heart rate going at the play park. Have a go on the swings, or try a game of tag!

Adapt your commute

Swapping a car or bus ride for your own feet or a bicycle is a great way to adapt your day for physical activity. If you work within walking, running or cycling distance, why not try leaving the car at home a couple times a week or more. You might find the combination of exercise and fresh air in the morning will leave you feeling quite refreshed and ready for your day!