Workouts & Work Calls: How to Fit Fitness into Your Busy Schedule
Finding time for exercise can be challenging when you have a packed work schedule. Between meetings, calls, emails, and getting your actual work done, the hours in the day go quickly. However, making physical activity a priority is crucial for both your physical and mental health. The key is fitting short workouts into small pockets of time throughout your busy day.
Get Up Early and Start Moving
One of the best times to exercise is first thing in the morning. By working out early, you ensure it gets done before the daily chaos ensues. Getting up 30-60 minutes earlier to exercise may sound painful, but having that time to move your body will give you more energy to power through the rest of your day.
Aim to wake up, put on your workout clothes, and start moving right away. Activities like going for a walk or run outside, doing a home strength workout, taking an online exercise class, or even just some yoga stretches will get your blood flowing. Having an exercise routine queued up and ready to go makes it easier to jump into it those early mornings.
Take Advantage of Small Gaps in Your Day
Look at your typical daily work schedule and find pockets of 5-15 minutes when you are between meetings or calls. Use this time to stand up and move vs just sitting at your desk. Options could include going for a quick walk, doing bodyweight squats or lunges, taking the stairs up and down a few flights, or even just some deep breathing.
Taking deliberate movement breaks helps relieve stiffness from sitting, boosts energy levels, and clears your mind before the next meeting or task. As an added bonus, getting outside for some fresh air and vitamin D during shorter breaks pays dividends.
Aim to schedule exercise into your calendar just like other appointments. Actually dedicating this time will help ensure you follow through vs being tempted to just work through. Even 5-10 minutes adds up over the course of the day and week towards your overall fitness goals.
Incorporate Activity into Meetings and Calls
If your morning, afternoon or evening contains long blocks of calls or virtual meetings, get creative with incorporating activity into them. Simple options include standing rather than sitting, pacing during the call, or using portable resistance bands.
For video calls where only your upper body is on camera, you can get into a high plank position on the floor and hold it for portions of the meeting. Stand close enough to the camera so your entire body is not visible if needed. discretely walk your feet outward and inward to work your core.
When not on video, get in some squats, lunges or calf raises. Just be sure to mute yourself if breathing heavily! No one has to know you are multi-tasking. Think of it as making your meetings “walk and talks” vs just sit and chats.
Opt for Active Transportation
On days when you have to go into the office or meetings, skip the car or transit altogether when reasonable. Opt to walk, jog or bike there instead. This allows you to fit in upwards of 30-60 minutes of heart-pumping cardio before and/or after your in-person commitments.
Bring a backpack with work clothes so you can freshen up and change when you arrive. Scope out if there is a gym, workout studio or even just a private room where you could also clean up quickly before meetings if needed.
Wearing fitness tracker helps motivate you to keep moving by counting daily steps and activity vs just sitting in a car or train. Meeting your daily movement goal will become addictive.
Strengthen Your Muscles Anywhere
No equipment required to get a strength training workout done. Bodyweight exercises use your own weight as resistance to challenge your muscles. Aim to do 1-2 rounds of 10-15 reps of classic moves like pushups, lunges, squats and planks multiple days per week.
Mix up exercises to target all major muscle groups. Bicep curls and triceps dips can be done using chairs. If allowed in your office, use stairwells for calf raises and shoulder presses against the wall. The options are endless once you get creative with on-the-go strength training!
For extra resistance, keep resistance bands or lightweight portable handles in your bag or at your desk. Remove excuses about not having weights!
meal prep for proper recovery and nutrition
To properly fuel your workouts, be sure to keep healthy snacks on hand for quick mini-meals. Pack your calendar with time blocked out for preparing breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Actually take this time to food prep or you will likely just skip it.
Overnight oats, protein smoothies, veggies and hummus, mixed nuts, fruit, yogurt cups, and hard boiled eggs make easy high protein options to nourish your body. You cannot out-train poor nutrition, so fueling properly is key! Quality carbohydrates help provide lasting energy without the dreaded crash.
Staying hydrated is also key before, during and after activity. Keep a water bottle handy at all times. Dehydration headaches are no joke and will torpedo your productivity.
wind down with yoga or meditation
Just as important as fitting in movement is taking time to recover with relaxing activities. Counter all your high-intensity training with gentle yoga or stretching at night. This helps calm your nervous system to unwind and set you up for restful sleep.
Also work meditation into your evening routine. Close your eyes, focus on deep breaths, and clear your mind. Even 5-10 minutes can work wonders to relieve stress that builds up from nonstop work and activity all day.
stick with it!
Consistency with exercise pays the biggest dividends over time vs sporadic intensive workouts whenever you have time. Even 10-15 minutes a day helps you feel better, stay injury-free and controls health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Invest in your fitness now to reap rewards for years to come. Meal prep on Sundays to set yourself up for healthy eating success all week. Schedule workouts into your calendar so they actually happen. Just like setting aside time for meetings and deadlines at work, prioritizing regular activity leads to meeting your goals.
The key is realizing being productive at work and being active for fitness do not need to be mutually exclusive. Seek out opportunities to make them co-exist and complement each other. Your mind, body and work product will thank you!