Ahh, summer. That joyous time of year when the weather gets super warm, the kids are out of school, and you get to spend time outdoors doing what you love: boating, hiking, walking, beaching, vacationing, kayaking… the opportunities are endless.
While it all sounds like a dream, the chance to do everything outside comes with another unexpected part of summer: a busy schedule. Especially here on the east coast, we find that everyone so badly wants to take advantage of the warm summer months that every weekend fills up with plans quickly, oftentimes without us even realizing it.
Once May hits, you look at your calendar and realize you don’t have a free weekend until August. That’s crazy! With work during the week and other responsibilities, finding time for yourself – particularly to exercise – can be difficult.
But again, the benefit of the season is that the outdoors is your oyster. Let’s use that to our advantage to fit in a workout no matter how busy we get. Here are a few ideas for always getting that exercise in:
- Choose workouts that require no equipment. Running and bodyweight workouts are a great use of your time and require no equipment, so you can always be at the ready to fit in a quick sweat session. Throughout the busy summer months, be sure to carry sneakers and a workout outfit in your bag at all times for when inspiration strikes.
- Think of creative ways to use your time. Where in your schedule do you have a bit of time you may not have taken advantage of for a workout before? Could you wake up 30 minutes earlier and fit in a quick jog? Could you head out to the spin studio next door to your office during your lunch break, or take a quick afternoon break to go for a walk?
- Turn your commute into a workout. That time spent on the train or in the car could be spent getting your sweat on. If you live close enough to your office, try jogging home or biking. If you take public transit, get off the train or bus a few stops early and walk briskly home from there. Who knows – running, biking, or walking may even shave some time off your traffic-laden commute!
- Find a competition to train for. For some, competition is just the motivation needed to always fit in a workout. Sign up for a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or whichever distance sounds enjoyable to you, and train for that race. There’s nothing worse than paying for a race only to not train, get to race day, and have a terrible time getting to the finish line. If running isn’t your favorite, sign up for a bike race or a weight-lifting competition. If you have an end date in mind, you’re more likely to fit in those training sessions.
- Multi-task. If you’re short on time and only have 30 minutes at the gym, bring a few dumbbells onto the treadmill with you and lift while you walk. Turn the treadmill incline up to make your legs burn, then perform bicep curls, overhead raises, or dumbbell rows to work your arms and shoulders. If the treadmill isn’t your style, try a bike or elliptical. The combinations are endless!
- Incorporate circuit training or HIIT into your routine. Both of these workouts speed up your typical training, get your heart pumping harder, and ensure you’re burning calories the whole day through. In circuit training, you commit to a series of 5-10 exercises with no rest (think push-ups, directly into squats, directly into overhead dumbbell raises). HIIT (or high intensity interval training) is similar, but with this type of routine, you work as hard as you possibly can for 10-20 second intervals (say, sprinting), then rest for 40-50 seconds. The key here is intensity, so pump up the volume!
Overall, fitting exercise into a busy schedule is all about choosing to do something over nothing. Whether it’s calf raises at your desk or a quick morning jog, there’s always time to fit in a little something active. You can even just turn your daily walk upstairs into a quick workout! Fit in fitness this summer… despite your busy schedule… and enjoy.