How to find time to exercise

A new year marks a great time to embrace change. Many people do just that by making resolutions designed to improve their lives in the year and years ahead. Resolutions regarding personal health are annually among the most popular changes people hope to make at the dawn of a new year. In fact, a quick scan of annual lists citing the most popular resolutions found that pledges to eat healthier and exercise more can be found at or near the top of such lists.


Though such lists might not have been compiled using the most scientific of methods, it’s no secret that getting healthier and looking better is a goal many people strive for upon the arrival of January 1. Unfortunately, a 2015 report from U.S. News & World Report suggested that 80 percent of resolutions fail, oftentimes as early as February. For those who don’t just want but need to get healthier, failure to live up to a resolution to exercise more can have potentially devastating consequences.

If exercising more is a goal in the year ahead, the following are a few strategies to make that happen.

• Exercise in the early morning. As the day progresses, unforeseen challenges or forgotten commitments have a way of devouring time initially earmarked for exercise. Exercise first thing in the morning before any commitments to work and family hijack the time you have committed to exercising.

• Take on less responsibility. Professionals and parents often cite commitments to work and family as the primary reasons they aren’t getting enough exercise. While those are perfectly reasonable excuses to skip a workout, men and women who recognize the long-term benefits of routine exercise may be compelled to take on less responsibility at work while also making an effort to divvy up responsibilities at home more equitably. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ongoing exercise can reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers. The CDC also notes that routine exercise strengthens bones and muscles while improving mood. Taking on more responsibility at work might be great for your career, but that may prove a Pyrrhic victory if your long-term health is jeopardized. Parents can discuss with their spouse how to better share responsibilities at home so both moms and dads can get regular exercise.

• Embrace more efficient exercise routines. Rather than working a single muscle group at a time, which can be both time-consuming and boring, men and women can adapt their workout routines to focus on multi-muscle exercises. Work with a personal trainer to make your workout as efficient as possible.

• Schedule your routine each week. Each week is different, so while it may be ideal to establish a workout routine in which you exercise at the same time each day, that’s not always going to be possible. Failing to exercise on a day you had intended to workout can compromise your motivation to workout in the future, so sit down at the beginning of each week to examine your commitments for the days ahead and schedule times to exercise in the next seven days. This can keep you on track and help you avoid the disappointment of missing a workout because life got in the way.

Finding time to exercise is not always so easy, but even the busiest men and women can likely still include workouts in their daily routines.

Unique ways to exercise at home

Even the most devoted exercise enthusiasts sometimes encounter obstacles that make it hard for them to squeeze in their regular workouts. Weather can affect outdoor exercise enthusiasts, while busy work schedules can make it difficult to get to the gym. When unforeseen consequences compromise your ability to stick to your normal workout routine, working out at home might be your only option. The following are a handful of ways to exercise at home when leaving the house is out of the question.

  • Hit the stairs. Many gyms have StairMaster® products that can be used for high-intensity interval training, calorie-burning workouts and/or improving flexibility. While you might not be able to duplicate the effects of such equipment at home, you can take to the stairs in your home, walking up and down the staircases in your home to squeeze in some aerobic exercise. If you want to increase the intensity level, fill a backpack with some weights. •

  • Dust off the jump rope. Jumping rope is an inexpensive, effective way to burn calories and improve muscle tone. When confined to your home, jump rope in the garage or, weather permitting, in the driveway or backyard. Jumping rope is great cardiovascular exercise and can strengthen the upper and lower body. Men and women who have histories of joint paint, including problems with their knees, ankles and/or hips, should consult with their physicians before adding jumping rope to their exercise routines.

  • Embrace crunch time. Crunches are another effective way to exercise at home. Crunches don’t require a lot of space, making them great exercises for apartment dwellers or homeowners whose homes are less than conducive to exercise. Crunches strengthen the core and can help establish muscle tone. Crunches also burn calories. Be sure to adhere to proper form when performing crunches, as the wrong form can increase your risk of injury.

  • Become a squatter. You can become a squatter without breaking any laws. Unlike squatters who set up residence in a home without the permission of the homeowners, men and women who squat in their own homes are performing exercises that benefit various parts of their bodies. Squats can be performed with or without weights, and either option can help tone your legs and buttocks, strengthen your core and improve your flexibility. Be sure to use proper form when performing squats. If you have never done squats in the past, first get the form down without using weights, only moving on to squatting with weights after you have mastered the form and if you feel like you want to.

The confines of a home may not always be conducive to exercise. But fitness enthusiasts who find themselves unable to get out of the house can still get a workout in.

Fitness classes make exercise resolutions fun

January 1 ushers in New Year’s resolution season. Among the most popular resolutions are ones designed to encourage healthy lifestyles. 
Despite initial enthusiasm, many people abandon their resolutions after a few weeks have passed, and that may be because they lose interest or set unrealistic goals. To remedy loss of interest, fitness enthusiasts may want to explore group classes offered by many gyms. Such classes offer a change of pace from traditional workouts while still facilitating weight loss. Here are some classes that may be coming to a gym near you.

  • Barre workouts: Inspired by the postures of ballet, dance, yoga, and pilates, barre classes blend isometric exercises with targeted strength training. The workouts are designed to give participants strong, lean and chiseled bodies. Many barre classes incorporate some free weights and a ballet barre. However, the majority of the workout relies on participants’ own bodyweight and balance.
  • ViPR™ classes: ViPRTM is an acronym for Vitality, Performance, Reconditioning. This is a new concept in fitness developed by the company Fitness Professionals. The workouts are built around loaded movement training and were inspired by farm workers who moved with load in daily life, and thusly developed superior strength. ViPRTM training, according to creator Michol Dalcourt, already is being used by major sports teams, tactical military and law enforcement agencies. Movements during the workout are enhanced by a weighted ViPRTM bar. Many trainers are now earning their ViPRTM certifications as more and more classes are being offered across the country.
  • Kickboxing: Kickboxing has become a popular fitness routine, helping people to blast away fat and improve muscle tone through energizing classes. According to Fitness magazine, kickboxing can burn an average of 500+ calories per hour. Kickboxing targets many areas of the body, including thighs, shoulders, arms and glutes, all in a single workout. Kickboxing classes also help many people relieve stress. Classes may feature kicks, punches and arial maneuvers done without any equipment, or pit participants against traditional kickboxing hanging bags. Trainers often work with individuals at their own pace to develop strength and agility.
  • Dance classes: Many gyms offer their own unique fitness dance classes that boast festive atmospheres while still providing highly effective cardiovascular and toning exercises. Dance-inspired classes pair creative choreography and upbeat music with classic workout maneuvers to help participants shed pounds. Because routines are constantly evolving, there’s little chance of getting bored, and many dance fitness enthusiasts insist their classes are far more fun than traditional workouts.