There is nothing I hate more than a wasted opportunity to work out. When I unexpectedly find myself with an hour to kill between appointments, I curse the heels I without fail chose to wear that day which prevent me from getting in a nice brisk walk around the city. Or when a friend flakes on me for coffee, I have a huge hole in my afternoon, but not enough time to make it home, to the gym, and back.
There are opportunities for fitness everywhere. Most people complain they don’t have time to go to the gym, but most of that time is devoted to getting ready to go to the gym. Changing clothes, grabbing your iPod, water bottle, a snack, driving to the gym, finding parking, navigating the locker room, and the commute back home means you spend more time prepping for your workout than you actually do working out.
Ten minutes here and there can add up to an hour or more of exercise per day, so make sure you are ready when the opportunity presents itself. Have a back up pair of sneakers in the trunk of your car so you always have workout appropriate shoes at your disposal. Walking is a workout anyone can do, and you don’t have to worry about getting sweaty before work, a date or even if you just don’t want to waste a face of makeup. If you use public transportation to commute to work, wear your sneakers in the mornings and pack your dress shoes in your purse or a small duffle bag so you can walk to, from and around the bus stop.
Shoes are essential, but for a more all-inclusive workout, have a gym bag ready and stocked in your car. Don’t forget socks, a water bottle, a small towel, a brush and makeup or anything else you feel you may need for a workout, or to clean up afterward. Resistance bands and small dumbbells are also great to include. They don’t take up much space and are lightweight for easy transportation.
So where exactly are you supposed to use this workout emergency kit? While a stocked bag is perfect for an impromptu trip to the gym if an hour or two opens up in your day, it is more likely you will find a few minutes to a half an hour free here and there. Look for holes in your schedule, and look for workout time anywhere. How often is your wait at the bus stop to get to work? Hit the park next door for some quick strength training, or walk around the block. Have an hour lunch break? Walk when you would normally drive- you know it only takes a few minutes to eat your food anyway.
Don’t waste your time, make the most of it, and you won’t have to worry about “fitting in time for exercise.” There is already plenty of it built in to your day.