Sometimes making time for movement can feel like an uphill battle. There’s always something that seems to get in the way of your daily jog, swim or yoga practice, whether that’s family commitments or work deadlines. But don’t sweat it (excuse the pun). Movement doesn’t always have to mean smashing your PB; some days it’s just about showing up to the session. To help you conquer your next workout, here are seven simple ways you can make it easier.
1. Bring a buddy
Whether it’s a long journey, Netflix marathon or spa weekend, some things are better done with a friend. The same goes for working out, and this is a great way to get back into your regular routine. We’ve all got a colleague who’s done a workout before turning on their computer, and pairing up with them could be a good option if you’re tight on time. When one of you feels less inclined to leave the warm of the office, you’ll have the others to pull you along – nobody wants to be the one who doesn’t turn up! Research also suggests that people work harder in groups, which means you’ll see results quicker than if you were working out by yourself. So what are you waiting for? Tag team your next workout for ultimate gains.
2. Warm it up
At this time of year, a lot of us will try to squeeze in our runs before work, which can mean stepping out before the sun’s up. “It sounds really simple, but if you’re going out running at 6am, it’s really important that cars are able to see you.” says Well Far podcast host and runner, Amy Lane. “I buy kit with reflective strips and put it on the radiator the night before, so it’s all warm and cosy. There’s nothing worse than getting out of a warm bed into the freezing cold!”
3. Schedule a walk and meet
You know the drill: work-related meetings involve a lot of sitting, but there’s a good reason Public Health England is urging staff to conduct meetings on foot. “By suggesting walking meetings, you can escape the office environment and get a breath of fresh air,” explains Pilates teacher, Kerrie- Anne Bradley (pilateswithka.com). And it’s not just your step count that will thank you, as Kerrie-Anne suggests your best ideas can come from a small brainstorming sesh: “Movement yields circulation and circulation yields energy which gets creative juices flowing.” Instructor at Digme Fitness, Lucy Gornall (digmefitness.com), agrees, adding that if the meeting doesn’t require a presentation or screen, walking and talking could be the way to go. “Being outside will clear your head and give your mind a boost.”
4. Make it fun and fast
Of course, we all know that exercise contributes to fat loss, but it can be hard to find time amongst work deadlines and entertaining family. Can’t commit to a full hour workout? No problem! Your body can achieve a great deal in as little as 10 minutes. As gyms have been shut, tonnes of new workout content is available online that you can do at home. Head to healthwellbeing.com if you’re stuck for ideas and if you only have a short window for exercise, make it count with a heart-racing HIIT session. You’ll get bonus endorphin points if you break a sweat.
5. A change of scene
So, the weather might not have improved yet, but why not take this opportunity to switch up where you squat? A change of scenery, say from your front room to your back garden, will not only contribute to your vitamin D levels, but give you more space. “One of the biggest contributors to a plateau is your mental approach to training,” says David. “You can get stuck in a funk and end up giving a half-hearted attempt to your sweat sesh without even realising. A new environment can be a clean start and a fresh opportunity for you to inject some new workout motivation into your training.” Local park, here we come.
6. Fine-tune your form
If you’re returning to exercise after a bit of a break, or you’re looking to improve in a different area, your first point of call should be sorting your form with the help of a PT. “After taking a break from exercise, your technique is bound to be a little bit rusty; quality of reps is better than quantity when it comes to strength exercises, so start slow and concentrate on your movement as well as breathing technique,” says Emily Outterside, trainer at F45 Peckham Rye. “If you’re not sure how to perform something correctly ask for some guidance from a PT or coach in your local gym to help you master the move once and for all.”
7. Walk this way
“If it’s less than a 10-minute journey, ask yourself if you really need to drive – it’s better for your health (and the planet) if you leave the car at home,” states head trainer at F45 Milton Keynes Central, Matt Wilman (f45training.co.uk). And what if driving to work is unavoidable? “When going to work or about your daily routine, try actively parking a little farther from your office block or destination – you may even be able to park at a cheaper rate. If you use public transport, get off a stop or two early. You’ll be surprised how quickly it becomes a habit and you might even find a new coffee shop on your new route. You’ll never know if you’re stuck in the car!”