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mark your calendarFitting exercise into a busy schedule can be challenging and at times feel downright impossible. Numerous studies have touted the benefits of exercise not only physically but mentally. In a recent 2013 study “53% of adults who do exercise say they feel good about themselves after exercising; 35% say it enhances their mood, and 32% say they feel less stressed after working out. Yet despite all this 39% of Americans skipped their workouts or physical activity when they felt stressed.”

With this in mind we thought we would provide a few tips to help ensure you get a little daily exercise and feel strong, both physically and mentally.

1. Challenge Yourself
There are some great websites and apps that allow you to sign up and set goals and challenges in certain time frames. You can even compete against others to gain points or money, or you can just play against your friends for fun. Some of the ones our clients have used with success are Lose it, Endomondo, which tracks all your workouts and allows you to see what others are doing for exercise as well. Freeletics is another great one – while challenging, it will really help you see results quickly.

2. Do Something, No Matter the Time
You’ve probably heard the quote, “No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping the people on the couch.” This is true: Even if you’re running a 15-minute mile, it’s better than doing nothing. Consistency is the most important part when it comes to exercising, so even doing small activities here and there as often as possible will help you see results.

3. Work Out Efficiently
HIIT – “high-intensity interval training,” is the best exercise you can do when time is short.  You will workout for shorter periods of time (no more than 30 minutes), but will raisie your heart rate and then lower it. My favorite type of HIIT training is Tabata, an exercise in which a person sprints for 20 seconds and walks for 10. Repeat this for four minutes. Check with us for some quick Tabata-inspired workouts or check out Kelly’s Friday morning Tabata class.

4. Meet Friends for Exercise Instead of Drinks
As a nation, we love meeting friends over food or drink. However, this hurts your wallet and your waistline. Make it a habit at least once a week to meet a friend at a fitness class, rather than to grab coffee, dinner or drinks. Or go for a walk to catch up. Not only will you feel more satisfied at the end of it, you’ll realize that you’re losing pounds much more quickly just by replacing drinks with exercise — even if it is only once a week.

5. Find Exercises That You Like
You’ve been told to run, do CrossFit and the Bar Method. But do you actually enjoy any of those? The best way to maintain consistency with your fitness routine is doing something you like. Just because someone tells you how good something might be doesn’t mean you will enjoy it. Try different forms of exercise until you come across two or three things you genuinely love. Maybe you’re someone who would rather go for a walk than be inside a gym. Or maybe you like doing yoga with a class. Have you tried Zumba? There’s always swimming, cycling, rock climbing and skiing. With so many forms of exercise out there, you shouldn’t be scared to try out a bunch of fitness routines. Getting to the gym is great, but if you shudder at the thought of lifting weights in front of others, maybe you’ll enjoy something different than the norm. Don’t be afraid to branch out. By finding something you enjoy, you have a much better chance of keeping it up. Read more.