Most of us like the idea of exercise – it’s just the actual exercising part that we struggle with. Getting to the gym is really tough for a lot of us: work, social life, family and simply not having enough time in the day all get in the way of our fitness regime.
We all have a lot going on but it IS possible to squeeze some activity into every day without going near the gym - it’s all about getting, and staying, motivated. At home, at the bus stop, with your baby on your lap… These ideas from fitness trainers and busy people will help inspire you to give it a go.
“Habit is key to imprinting regular workout times into your routine. Our brains - within three weeks - will begin to associate a certain time as ‘my movement time,’ if consistent. Many people focus too much on the duration and not the repetition and intention.
“Gone are the days I have hours a week to spend training, and yet I’m fitter than I was in my twenties. With three children and a busy work life, I protect time in my diary on a daily basis. That’s every single day. The big bit is, I don’t stress when I have to miss a session - as seven a week are not necessary for a conditioned and balanced body. However, if I aim to train for 20 or 30 minutes per day at the same time - or within the same routine (i.e. as soon as I’m home, or have put the kids to bed, or within 15 minutes of waking - find out what works for you) and a life event pops up, as it inevitably does - the likelihood is that I will, most weeks, manage four to five short-but-effective sessions per week.
Louise Parker, body transformation expert/founder of the Louise Parker company and Louise Parker Method
Exercising with your kids IS possible
“Get your little ones involved. If you have a young baby or children that you feel sometimes hinder your exercise routine, why not use them to assist you? You can pick positions to workout in where you can still pay your baby attention (e.g. four-point kneeling), and even use them as your resistance/weight with exercises. If your children are older, get them involved or make it like a game. You’d be surprised how much kids love exercising with their parents and doing what mum and dad are doing.
“You can also subscribe to an online program - having something accessible, from any place at any time, is way more convenient than always having to make it to a class at the same time each week.”
Claire Mills and Megan Vickers, physiotherapists and co-directors, Four Sides London
Get the right accessories
“For something you can do anywhere, anytime, use mini-bands to work out and not break a sweat. Work your bum by putting a mini band around your ankles and walking sideways back and forth while the kettle is boiling.
“When you’re watching TV in your PJs, you can put the band around your knees and do some hip exercises. You can even do 20 squats before you go to the loo – adding that extra bit of exercise that doesn’t involve you getting sweaty but keeps the body active.
“When you start implementing these things throughout the day, you start to look better and feel good and that will allow you to find more time to do it. You’ve got to get into a positive mindset.”
Dalton Wong, performance coach and founder of Twenty Two Training
Working in is just as important as working out
“As a yoga teacher, I would say that yoga is a lifestyle – more than a workout, it is a work in, which means that your mind and body need to work in sync, which in turn means you need to practice awareness. This is the central message of any yoga practice.
“We can apply this awareness to the way we move during the day and allow these movements to be more deliberate and active so we can strengthen and stretch areas of our body that really need it. For example, when travelling we should walk up the stairs rather than using the escalator and focus on the way we walk so we can push back with our foot and engage the glutes – muscles which often are off on holiday for a lot of us.
“If we spend a lot of time at the desk then we should change position often and incorporate some arm, shoulder and neck stretches when reading an email or similar. When we are on the phone, we should walk around instead of just sitting - or stand on one leg to strengthen it!”
Beth Crivelli, lead instructor, Sadhana Yoga & Wellbeing
Make your own personal gym
“If you can find time to brush your teeth and wash and go to the loo, there’s always a moment to throw in a few stretches or squats. When you shower in the morning, lay a towel down on the floor while the shower is heating up and start with Pilates on all fours. The opposite leg to arm extends out - hold for four seconds on each side. Step into the warm shower and while conditioner is in your hair do press-ups against the wall - aim for 30 and then rinse hair with an arm stretch.
“If you have a baby, when walking with your pram, take longer strides. If you can find a moment to add lunges, try doing 20 on a quiet path. When bending under the pram, take your bend as a plié or squat and focus on good posture as you reach for the baby wipes.”
Eliza Stuart, personal trainer, Eliza Do A Lot
Remember to enjoy yourself
“Make working out fun. You want to enjoy what you are doing so make it fun so it’s something that you don’t want to miss and would struggle to go without. Exercise and keeping fit are so much more than what’s in the four walls of a gym, and luckily for us there’s so many ways to get in shape. It’s just about exploring what you love: it could be dancing, rock climbing, yoga, CrossFit, squash: the list goes on and one size does not fit all.
The Lean Machines, John Chapman and Leon Bustin, who were most recently Duracell Bunny Pacers in the Great North Run