Just close your rings: how to get 30 minutes of exercise a day

Working on my fitness
Get 30 minutes of exercise

It’s something we all strive to do: fit in fitness. Yet, how to get 30 minutes of exercise a day often seems impossible.

Every mom wishes she could find the time to workout. You’re not alone. 

What’s holding you back? 

It could be your hectic schedule. It could also be a ridiculous expectation you’ve set for yourself.

What does “workout” conjure up in your mind? Is it a woman in a gym, wearing Lululemon, with slender thighs and toned arms? Let’s get that image OUT OF YOUR MIND. You don’t need to be an instagram fitness model to be healthy. 

All you need to get healthier is dedicate is 30 minutes, 5 days a week. And it doesn’t even need to be 30 minutes all at the same time.

First, let’s break down what you need to be healthy. Then, we’ll get into the ways you can easily fit in exercise.

30 MINUTES A DAY ENOUGH

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the US Department of Health and Human Services points out, “nearly 80 percent of adults are not meeting the key guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity, while only about half meet the key guidelines for aerobic physical activity.” It goes on to note, ”This lack of physical activity is linked to approximately $117 billion in annual health care costs and about 10 percent of premature mortality.” 

In other words, exercising could save money and prevent deaths. 

But, do you need an intense workout to be healthy? Nope! The report states, “Research shows that a total amount of at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, consistently reduces the risk of many chronic diseases and other adverse health outcomes.”

Breaking that 150 minutes a week can be 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Getting healthier doesn’t mean getting in Olympic athlete shape.

30 MINUTES A DAY DOESN’T NEED TO BE 30 MINUTES AT ONCE

Smart people have looked into it, and concluded 30 minutes a day doesn’t necessarily mean you need to workout 30 minutes at once.

In the article “Rethinking the 30-minute workout,” Harvard Health notes that breaking 30 minutes into smaller increments is a good alternative. 

“In fact, a study published online March 22, 2018, by the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that several five- or 10-minute exercise sessions spread throughout the day can have the same effect on long-term health as a continuous 30-minute workout.“

Harvard Health Publishing

Ok, so you really only need 10-15 minutes at time. 

TREAT WORKING OUT LIKE A WORK PROJECT

You don’t take an annual goal like “increase revenue by 10%” and expect it to happen without a strategy and plan. If you’re in sales (or fundraising!) you know it’s a numbers game – the number of calls, proposals, and conversations. You set your strategy and tactics and to do list based on the things you can control: how many calls you’ll make to set meetings, how many proposals you want to send, in order to close new contracts. 

Books are written on this topic. MBA classes teach SMART goals. You KNOW this as a project manager.

Use the same tactics for your health. Set realistic, doable goals. 

Things you can easily check off are more likely to get done. 

Look, it’s easy to find an excuse to avoid exercise. Especially if you think exercise requires a crazy commitment of time and energy. It’s easy to find an excuse for anything you don’t want to do – awkward phone calls, that monthly report, data entry. Tomorrow is always the better to start something uncomfortable. But what if you took that big thing – health – and managed it like you would a project, instead of tackling it all at once? 

WORKOUT IDEAS: MIX IN SOMETHING YOU LIKE SO IT MORE LIKE “ME TIME”

Reset your expectations. Start with a routine you won’t hate. Make tiny, easy-to-achieve goals. If you don’t hate it, you won’t avoid it. Mix something you like such as podcasts, TV shows, or books with exercise. Here are some easy ways to fit in working out into your day:

  • Walk the dog for 10 minutes before your first cup of coffee
  • Walk for 10 minutes at lunch while listening to an inspiring podcast
  • Read or listen to a chapter of a book on a stationary bike
  • Schedule a walking date with a friend by phone, and walk for 10 – 30 minutes while you catch up
  • Dance along while watching a concert or musical or the news
  • Try an Apple Fitness workout
  • Watch an episode of Schitt’s Creek while walking on a treadmill 
  • Ride a bike around the neighborhood while listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (I AM NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT!)
  • Bribe one of your kids to walk around the neighborhood before dinner
  • Try out Aaptiv app, which has a collection of easy workouts you can search by time, music, and more!

Our priorities can get lost in the mix of motherhood and career. Finding “me time” can be a daunting task. Breaking it down into doable steps will help you achieve the bigger goal – healthy! – without overwhelming you. 

YOU CAN DO THIS!

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