You glance at the clock — how is it 8 p.m. already? You know you need to get more exercise, but the day keeps getting away from you. How do fit people manage their time?
Their secret? They put their workouts on their daily calendars. You can transform your health and your body by doing the same. Here are a few reasons why you should start:
You might have heard the myth that it takes 28 days to form a new habit or break an old one. In reality, various factors influence how long the process takes, from your level of commitment to outside distractions. On average, experts find it takes approximately two months to ingrain behavior.
Adding your workout to your calendar reaffirms your commitment to fitness. It sends the psychological message that you value lifting weights as much as you do your 8 a.m. conference call. It shifts you out of the mindset that exercising is a fluff activity for when you have the time and into a thought pattern that makes regular movement a core part of your identity.
Exercise can soothe your soul, and these effects don’t only apply when you lie in Savasana during a yoga class. Evidence shows exercise can help you recover from traumatic or upsetting events — whether personal issues or large-scale traumas. If your emotions are a tangle of frustration and fear, hitting the heavy bag is a healthier alternative to the bottle.
Physical activity heals more than emotional angst. It can also promote rapid wound healing and prevent oxidative stress. While you should always follow your doctor’s orders for broken bones and the like, regularly moving around could make minor cuts and bruises disappear more quickly.
When you’re hurting, the last thing you want to do is get moving, but sitting still could exacerbate your condition considerably. This dynamic creates a vicious cycle — the worse you feel, the more challenging it is to do anything. Research shows exercise can reverse this downward spiral and help you perform leisure activities and tend to daily life needs with less discomfort.
You might think exercise makes you tired — think again. If done in moderation, working out increases energy by improving your circulation. Healthy blood flow carries vital oxygen to all of your organs more efficiently, including your brain.
If you still feel reluctant to lace up your running shoes, take heart. Research shows endurance athletes have higher cortisol levels than those who do shorter workouts. In excess amounts, this hormone can have adverse health effects, including low libido and mood changes. For optimal results, keep your sessions to under 60 minutes at a stretch.
If you begin a regular yoga practice or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routine, you might find you perform better on the job. Exercise makes you more productive in several ways. It increases blood flow, and when your brain has enough oxygen, you can think more clearly. It also reduces stress and anxiety, which can cloud your decision-making ability. Finally, working out prompts your body to release endorphins. These natural opioid-like body chemicals make you feel energized and ready to tackle challenging tasks.
If you’re down in the dumps, one of the smartest things you can do is lace up your tennis shoes and go for a walk in the fresh air. While both exercising and spending time outdoors improve your mood, the combination packs an even more potent blues-busting punch. In some cases, it may work as effectively as antidepressant medications. Best of all, it’s free and accessible to nearly everyone regardless of their financial or insurance status.
The most frequently cited reason why people say they don’t work out is that they lack the time. However, you also need to eat — people rarely use the “I’m too busy” excuse to skip a meal entirely. When they do, they eat more later to make up for the deficit, whereas a skipped Pound class results in little more than a shoulder shrug.
Your body needs movement to stay functional, so don’t treat fitness as optional. It should be as essential as sleep or breathing on your list of priorities, and putting it on your calendar treats it as the critical need that it is.
When you put your workout on your calendar, you’re saying, “I value my health as much as my other obligations.” If you don’t feel well, it makes everything else in life more troublesome, so prioritize your fitness today.