Last week, we saw how using a menu plan can help you to eat well around a busy life, and I promised this week we would explore ways to add exercise into a busy life.
Now, when you’re rushed off your feet and stressed, I don’t think adding in a tough workout is the right thing to do.
This isn’t to say that strength training isn’t going to give you benefits, because I think it is important for almost everyone to fit strength training into their lives.
High stress levels need to be countered with plenty of down time, not pushed up higher with stressful workouts.
Again, this doesn’t mean you have a free pass to not do any exercise because you’re feeling stressed. It just means we need to find a way to get exercise done without taking up more of your time, and without increasing your stress levels further.
The solutions here are firstly to increase your general activity. The less time you can spend sitting and the more time you can spend walking, the better. Examine your daily routine and work out how you can get more active – could you get off the train or bus one stop earlier, or park a little further away? Could you get fit some sort of activity into your day – gardening, walking instead of driving, even getting the dreaded cleaning done? Could you go upstairs to the loo instead of staying downstairs? Little things add up to more energy expenditure, and health benefits, than you’d expect.
The second solution is to pick some key strength based exercises, and sprinkle them throughout your day. Examples might be to do ten squats every time you go to the loo, or to do ten press ups against the worktop every time you go into the kitchen. Over the course of a day, you’ll have added up a fair bit of exercise, you’ll hardly notice it, and you will gain some strength too – which is only going to be a good thing for fat loss, fitness and health.
If you have one or two busy days in a week, personally I would increase general activity on those days and save a proper workout for one of your quieter days. But if you have high stress levels almost every day, this approach will work really well for you.
If you have, say, less stress over the weekend, you could look at adding in a proper workout then. It will help to reinforce what you’re achieving during the week, and further improve the benefits you’re seeing.
Regardless of your level of stress, your workouts should always be aiming to make you better at whatever you’re practicing, and to make your body healthier. Punishing yourself is never the right answer – more feels like it should be the right answer, but it usually isn’t.
I can help you find an exercise routine to improve your health and work with your life, and likewise I can help you find a way to eat well regardless of what else is going on in your world.