Women often struggle to balance busy careers and family while budgeting time for health and fitness. Fortunately, the last Wednesday in September is designated as National Women’s Health and Fitness Day! A time to spotlight the importance of regular physical activity and healthy living for women. The following strategies can help many women resist the temptation to allow a busy schedule to hijack exercise time and nutrition goals.
1. Think outside the box. Try to remember exercises and routines that you do each week in a fitness class or with your personal trainer and do these on your own at home or when you can’t get to the gym. Learn from your current routine so you can take it away to mix and match exercises you already know.
2. Keep Moving. In addition to staying active, try to avoid being motionless. Too much sitting is hazardous to your health. Research shows that getting up for just five minutes every 30 to 60 minutes and performing light activity reduces the risk of diabetes and other heart disease risk factors. Try light stretches, body weight squats or pacing the room.
3. Save workout articles. Body weight exercises are perfect fitness solutions with no equipment necessary. Load up your iPad with exercise videos or take a snapshot of the exercises on your phone. Download yoga videos or other fitness apps that have a variety of body weight exercises and you may even find a new fitness program in the process.
4. Stay on a schedule. Even disciplined, committed exercises can struggle in terms of disruptions to their best exercise and weight-control intentions. Start each day with a game plan, even considering shifting your workout time to the early hours of the morning, so as not to find yourself too tired or too busy to get to the gym after work.
5. Track your food intake. This strategy can make you aware of the amount of calories in certain foods. Even if you decide to eat higher-calorie options, you will probably eat smaller portions and make other adjustments to stay within your daily caloric goals to stay on track and still enjoy yourself.
Irene Lewis-McCormick, M.S. is an international fitness educator, adjunct faculty at Drake University and a subject matter expert for the American Council on Exercise.