Think You Are Too Busy to Exercise? Stop Kidding Yourself!

Coach Sarah Walls, personal trainer and owner of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc., who is also the strength and conditioning coach for WNBA’s Washington Mystics

Coach Sarah Walls, personal trainer and owner of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc., who is also the strength and conditioning coach for WNBA’s Washington Mystics

New York, N.Y. Our lives are busier than ever, but should it be an excuse for not exercising regularly? We spend time going back and forth to work, sitting in rush hour traffic, taking care of classes, kids, homes, and many other things in between. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people cite a lack of time for being the most common reason they say they don’t exercise. But for most of us, if we get honest with ourselves, we know this isn’t exactly the case. After all, it’s estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the average adult spends two hours per day watching television, and Nielsen reports that adults over the age of 18 spend around 5.5 hours per week on social media.

“It’s not a lack of time so much as it is a lack of priorities when it comes to fitting exercise into our busy schedules,” explains Coach Sarah Walls, personal trainer and owner of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc., who is also the strength and conditioning coach for WNBA’s Washington Mystics. “Nothing is more important than your health, so it’s time to change your priorities and put your health at the top of the list.”

Here are 5 fitness tips for busy schedules:

  1. Make it a priority. The bottom line is that we make time for our priorities. Schedule it into your day and align it at a time when you have high energy. It is tough to add in “yet another to-do” when your schedule is already packed. By choosing a time when you are high in energy and have minimal distractions, you will make getting in your workout all the more likely. Physically put it on your calendar so it’s scheduled.
  2. Make it easy. Join a gym convenient to your home or office. Pack a gym bag the night before to grab on the way to work or as you head to an early morning workout. Schedule a session with a trainer to take the guesswork out (you’re too busy to worry about what exercises you should or shouldn’t do). The easier and more convenient you make your exercise routine, the more likely you will stick to it.
  3. Make it fun. You won’t stick with doing boring activities. Pick activities that align with your interests and motivations. If you enjoy competition, consider joining a recreational sports league. Set challenging but achievable goals and have someone in charge of checking in on your progress. If you can, find a friend to partner with so you can hold each other accountable and have fun with it.
  4. Make it efficient. Many things count as exercise and can improve your fitness. It doesn’t have to be difficult for you to gain health benefits from the activity. For example, an after-dinner walk doubles as stress relief and helps with fat burning.  Hire a trainer to make sure you maximize your time. Don’t have an hour for exercise? Consider what you can accomplish in 30 or even just 20 minutes once you have a plan that has been tailored to your needs.
  5. Make it happen. Everyone is busy… and tired! But, sometimes you just have to follow the plan you set and execute. All the time-saving tips in the world won’t matter if you fail to make your training actually happen. You have to make the commitment to your health and hold yourself accountable.

“At first it may seem like an inconvenience, but once you get into the routine of it you will see how it fits into your life so well,” added Coach Walls. “It’s all about creating the habit. Shut the television off a few hours per week, or close out the social media, and instead turn your attention to exercising. You will get a lot more out of it than either of those two things can give you.”

Here are some effective exercises people can do who have busy schedules and want to get fit:

Farmer’s carry: This excellent exercise will strengthen your entire core (abs, lower back, hips). Simply pick up one or two heavy dumbbells, brace your core, and walk deliberately about 10 yards. This simulates the very familiar task of carrying groceries, luggage, and other similar tasks.

Medball Thruster: Choose a medicine ball that is 6-12 lbs in weight. Hold the medball and squat down with it; in a controlled manner, stand back up and press the ball overhead. This can also be done with heavier dumbbells or a barbell for more advanced lifters; repeat for 5-10 repetitions; excellent for total body strength and improving shoulder health.

Medball Slam with Up/Down: Holding a medicine ball that is 6-12 lbs, reach it overhead and throw it down to the ground with force. Let the ball settle on the floor, place your hands on it and step back (or jump back) to a PUPP (push-up plank position); return to standing by stepping or jumping back towards the ball and standing up with the ball; repeat for 5-10 repetitions; excellent for total body conditioning.

Split Squat with MB Twist and OH Reach: Holding a medicine ball that is 6-12 lbs in weight, assume a split squat position. With the ball held slightly out from the body, twist gently from side to side and then reach the ball overhead; repeat for 8 repetitions on each leg — great for building leg strength, core stability, and improving thoracic mobility and overhead mobility.

Sarah Walls has over 15 years experience in coaching and personal training. Owner of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc, founded in 2007, she offers coaching to develop athletes, adult programs, team training, online coaching, and more. She is also the strength and conditioning coach for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and has over eight years of experience working as an NCAA D1 strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer. To learn more, visit the site: www.saptstrength.com.