Everyone’s heard it: “Exercise at least three times a week.” Yet squeezing in weekly workouts with days full of work, kids, and chores can be challenging.
With more and more adults working from home and kids learning remotely, exercising can feel like less of a priority than managing everything else going on. However, the extra time at home is a great opportunity to develop new routines.
At the end of the day, it’s easy to say you didn’t have time for a workout, but with a little planning, windows of opportunity aren’t that hard to find. Not only will you feel better, but your day will be more productive, and you may start to notice the results in just a few weeks.
Here are eight tips to make at-home exercise a regular part of your week.
1. Wake Up Early
This is the tough one. We all have good intentions of waking up early to get that workout in, but once the alarm sounds, it’s much easier to hit the snooze button.
It’s worth the effort to make a habit of early-morning exercise. The top benefit is that you actually get it done—no over-long meetings or kid crises will cause you to skip the workout.
Like most habits, consistency is the key. Plan to exercise each morning for two weeks, no matter what. If you get through that period, your body adjusts, and you may find yourself waking up on your own. Better yet, you’ll begin your workday on a post-exercise high.
2. Plan a Lunch Workout
Okay, so you’re not a morning person. Accept that and make lunch your workout time. The key is to stick to the plan. Put it on your calendar as you would any meeting.
After you’re done, enjoy a quick shower and eat before going back to work. A lunchtime workout provides an excellent break in the day and helps re-energize your afternoons, avoiding that typical after-lunch lull.
3. Organize Your Fitness Routine
How are you going to exercise? The more ambiguous your plan, the easier it is to skip. “I’m going to run three miles at noon,” is much better than, “I should work out sometime today.”
Plan beyond the day, scheduling the week in advance. If you’re starting out, that may mean 20 minutes of walking three times a week. That’s great—put it on the calendar.
If you have more advanced physical fitness, you can divide your days between cardio, strength, and flexibility exercises. Try to mix things up a bit to keep your work-outs fresh and exercise different muscle groups.
4. Visit the App Store
If you’re not sure what kind of workout to do at home, you have lots of options at your fingertips. There are dozens of free apps for your phone that will tell you exactly what to do with both a visual guide and audio cues. Many apps require no equipment at all, using only calisthenics you can do in your home.
Try an at-home yoga class or use a virtual coach to help you train for a 5K. The technology is easily accessible and ready for you to take advantage of.
5. Include the Kids
Taking care of children can be one of the biggest obstacles to maintaining a regular fitness routine. Especially when you have younger kids, it’s tough to find even a few minutes of alone time during the day.
Try exercising with your kids with a kids-centric exercise program designed to draw their attention, like Cosmic Kids yoga. Follow along or do your own routine as they do theirs.
For cardio, take the younger ones along with a running stroller or bike trailer. Take family walks at a nearby park, throw around a football, or use the basketball hoop in the driveway.
6. Break Out the Bike
Do you have a bike in the garage or shed? When was the last time you rode it?
Getting into a biking routine takes a little preparation, but it’s well worth it. First, clean up your bike or take it to a bike shop for a tune-up if necessary. Make sure you have a well-fitting helmet and a water bottle.
When you hit the road, use a mapping program to keep track of the mileage and try to improve it. You’ll find it wonderfully addicting after a few rides, and it’s a great activity for the kids to join in on.
7. Plan Your Day the Night Before
Planning your workout ahead means more than deciding to take a three-mile run. It means laying out your clothes for the workout and having your shoes ready. Know the route you plan to run and when you plan to leave. Set out your yoga mat or pull together any equipment you need. If you have everything planned the night before, it’s much easier to execute.
8. Get Enough Sleep
While exercise is vital, it’s only one part of the equation. The body needs time to rest and recover—and that means sleep is key.
A lack of sleep can lead to injuries, sickness, and low-energy throughout the day. Our bodies can go a few days toughing it out, but eventually, you’re going to feel the effects.
Just as you plan your exercise, plan your sleep. Have a dedicated bedtime, and stick to it. Leave your phone out of your bedroom to avoid temptation. Get an old-school alarm clock if you need it, but if you’re getting enough sleep you should be waking up on your own.
As you start exercising more, you may find that you need more rest. Listen to your body. You may have to sacrifice some late-night activities, but you’ll be happy you did so in the morning.