How to exercise with a busy schedule – The million dollar question! Everyone tells you a different story – Infomercials tell you to buy something outrageously expensive and useless, the food & supplement industry tells you not to exercise at all and buy some magic pills (Something similar to the beans Jack used to grow his beanstalk!) and your gym instructor tells you something extreme like ‘Train till you die!’ or ‘No pain, no gain.’
The truth of the matter is that it is much simpler than that. All you need is a little common sense and a few easy alterations to your daily lifestyle. Firstly, you need to evaluate what your goals are. Are you looking to shed a few extras pounds, are you looking to maintain your current weight or do you want to lose quite a lot of weight? The recommendations stated here maybe followed by someone who wants to maintain his/her current weight or lose a few extra pounds without spending hours in the gym.
Firstly, you need to set a target. My recommendation is to set a weekly target. For starters, it could be something like 160 minutes a week. You can add more minutes as you start to adjust and feel comfortable with this routine. The activity I’ve opted for is one that everyone can manage – Brisk walk. So, to cut it short, you’ll be doing 160 minutes of brisk walk weekly without burdening your busy schedule. Your weekly minutes can be broken down into daily minutes. Let me explain with an example.
My weekly Minutes: 200 minutes
Mon : 15 minutes before breakfast + 15 minutes post Dinner
Tue : 15 minutes before breakfast + 15 minutes post Dinner
Wed : 15 minutes before breakfast + 15 minutes post Dinner
Thu : Rest Day
Fri : 15 minutes before breakfast + 15 minutes post Dinner
Sat : 45 minutes at any time of the day
Sun : 45 minutes at any time of the day
You see what I did there? I’ve broken down my weekly target into very small, manageable intervals. For such a schedule to work you need to squeeze out 15 minutes before bedtime and 15 minutes before breakfast. If you want to add more time, you may squeeze out additional time from your lunch break if you’re a working person. For Saturdays and Sundays, most people don’t indulge in any physical activity. However, I recommend that you cover most of your weekly target on Saturdays and Sundays since you must be having additional leisure time on the weekends.
Let me define brisk walking here since everyone has his/her own definition. How brisk are we talking about? Your walking pace should be such that you should have a problem having a normal conversation. This is a simple identifier that indicates that your heart rate is up and you’re breathing heavily. If you can talk easily, time to speed up! If you’re really out of breath and can’t utter a word, time to slow down a notch.
The brisk walk can be done on a treadmill, in your front street, in a park, on the walk paths; anywhere easy for you! The aim is to get the most, in the least amount of time and I think everyone can manage two 15 minute windows daily if they want to stay healthy and stick to their busy schedule.