Staying healthy when working fulltime/having little time: Exercise

In my last post I gave some tips on what to do to keep a healthy diet, this time I want to talk about exercising. Especially when having a job where you sit all day it’s really important to get some sport to stay happy and healthy.

First of all: When I started running regularly about 4 years ago, I was actually working full time and it even was autumn at that time which means the days were getting light later and dark earlier here in Germany. I still managed to start implementing a running routine, being unsporting and starting with zero stamina. Just to show you what’s possible if you really want to.. 😉

So here’s what helps me to get enough sport and exercise even when I’m working 8-5 + driving from and to work:

  • If possible, work out in the morning as you’ll have much more energy for the day and you never know what happens later, maybe you won’t have enough time or motivation after work. Like I said in my last post relating to breakfast: Try to learn to get up earlier for the things that are important to you. I know it depends on when you have to leave, what sport you do and also on the season. For example, I love running in the morning and sometimes get up between 4am and 5am for this but it’s too cold and dark for me in winter. In summer it’s great as you can only do sport outside very early or very late in the day anyway. But I still sometimes do a small indoor workout at home in the morning, that’s always possible.
  • When you come home, don’t do anything else before your planned workout. Best thing is to not even sit down an make yourself comfortable! In my opinion it’s best to get home, change clothes, maybe grab a small snack if you’re really hungry and then do your workout right away.If you’re already in a relaxed mood it can become so tempting to say “oh, I’ll work out tomorrow..”.
  • The tip above sounds like you have to force yourself to do something you don’t like. I don’t mean it like this though. If you really found a sport you love (like I did with running), you want to do it but there are those lazy days that we all know when we just want to do nothing which brings me to my next tip: Allow yourself breaks, you do not have to work out every single day especially when you have lots of other things to do. Don’t let exercise become a stress factor for you or it will become likely that you stop it completely. If you really have a day where you just don’t want to do anything or you have so many other things to do that it’s just temporal impossible to work out, that’s okay, don’t feel bad about it. Even it’s over a longer period, just start again, this happens to the best.
  • If you can’t find the time to do your regular sport for an hour or so but you actually feel like doing something because you feel flabby and stressed, just do some light workout at home for 10-15 minutes. What I also like is just to do some stretching sometimes. Already makes you feel so much better and it’s better than nothing.
  • Take your workout clothes with you and exercise right after work. I already did this some years back and am now doing it again. I guess it’s possible in most companies to just change your clothes somewhere, in a toilet for example. 😀 And even if the area where you’re working isn’t suitable for running, walking or whatever sport you’re doing, I’m pretty sure you can stop at some beautiful place on your way back home if you go to work by car, that’s what I often did some years back. Working out right after work has so many benefits. Potential stress is relieved right away and you don’t take it home with you, when I work out after working, my mood is so much better when coming home. You also do not have to motivate you to get out again once you’re home. When leaving work you’re on the go anyway, so why not use this advantage?
  • Eat enough at work so you’re not totally starved when coming home which makes it almost impossible to do sport as a small snack will probably not be enough and you have to eat more. Many people, like myself, don’t like to do sport with a belly full of food and it’s also not the healthiest thing to do.
  • Use your days off for sport! Normally everyone has 2 days a week that are free (I know, there are exceptions..) and you can fill them with the things you like to do. I for example went running on two days this weekend when before working I only ran Saturday or Sunday because I didn’t do too much during the week and just felt like moving. It’s also great to do a longer workout like a long bike ride.
  • Set yourself fix days. I personally don’t do this too strictly, I just roughly think about on which days I want to do sport. I know it helps many people though to have fix days or to even set a date to work out together with someone else as you don’t want to cancel and disappoint your workout partner. 😉 You can also ask if some of your workmates would like to exercise with you after work, often people that work together actually do this.
  • This is more like a general advise I always give: Do not concentrate on the negative things. Do not think “oh no, I don’t want to leave my bed this early, I’m tired”, “I just want to get home and sit on the sofa, I’m too finished for sport” etc. Always think about how good you’ll feel afterwards or maybe just think nothing at all, just do it and think of something else. 😀 Make your workout a habit like toothbrushing, not something you have to motivate yourself again and again. But this will come with time automatically.
  • Always remember: Sport actually gives you more time. You have more energy so you can get done more in a day than you would without working out. You’re not as tired and stressed which will also make working easier. Your mood will be better as well when you feel better which is not only good for yourself but also for the work climate at your workplace, your workmates will be thankful. 😉

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