When my baby daughter arrived in July of last year, I had to completely reconsider how I exercised and when I could schedule it. It got me thinking, what times of the day can an office worker (with a young baby!) realistically work out at? Weekends are often family time so let’s assume we’re talking about Monday to Friday. I give myself 3 potential windows of opportunity for exercise each day: Morning, Lunch and Evening.
Recently I’ve started going to the gym before work a few times a week. I’m not a morning person so getting out of bed earlier than I have to has been difficult. The rewards are worth it though and this is now my favourite time for exercising. After I’ve woken up properly (which can take a few minutes of cardio) I’m usually feeling strong and alert and not nearly as tired as I’ve sometimes felt working out in the evening after work. (It’s really important to eat properly if you’re exercising so early in the morning so as not to hit a slump later in the day. I’ll be talking about nutrition in a later blog).
Another morning exercise solution is to turn your commute into exercise. Can you cycle/run/walk to work? Many modern offices have shower and locker facilities for employees making this a viable option. As well as getting fit, you’ll also be saving money and getting your daily exercise hit while you make your way to work. Bear in mind you may need to repeat the trip home in the evening!
How much exercise you can complete at lunch time will again depend on the facilities at your office. If you have access to a shower then this can be a great time to exercise during your busy day. Find a park or a quiet route close by and get out for a run. If you don’t have access to a shower then you should at least get out for a 30 minute walk at lunch time. It’ll help clear your mind as well as provide some light exercise. At my job I’ve set up a game of 5 a side football at lunch time every Thursday. It’s hugely popular and is a great way to take a break from the busy office and to get to know a few other members of the team outside of an office environment. Plus we’re all getting a great 45 minute workout!
I find that exercising in the evening is the time most influenced by family circumstances. I don’t think it’s fair at the moment on my partner or baby daughter if I’m out exercising a few times a week straight after work. Having said that though it’s still an incredibly popular time to exercise. The gyms are busy, the parks are full of cyclists and runners. If you can finish work at a reasonable time, and if circumstances permit then this is an excellent time to work out. It’s also the best time to meet up with a friend or partner to exercise together (which is always recommended).
Taking all of the above into consideration, only YOU know when you can find time to exercise. Don’t use the excuses I’ve mentioned previously. Set yourself a goal to exercise 3 times a week, be it walking, running, weight training or whatever. Get those times in your diary and stick with them. It’s a small step but an important work/life balance change on the path to leading a happier and healthier lifestyle.