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How to Fit an Exercise Routine into a Busy Lifestyle

What a year, if you have not had the time to work out, or too much free time that working out is not cutting it; go ahead and blame it on this 2020. It turned your life upside down. I know it partly turned mine.

Despite being a Physical Therapist, I am not an exercise enthusiast. At least not for the past 2 years of my life. However, I do recognize the importance of exercising for your physical and mental health. Like many people, I find it hard to develop a routine, especially if do not like anything. However, I have finally chosen one activity to start with: hiking. So, let begin there.

1. Choosing something that has something that attracts you.

Although walking is a great exercise to burn fat, it is not what we usually pick as exercising. And it can be very boring. However, I chose hiking for other reason other than being a great way to burn FAT. I chose hiking because:

· There are paths set for me to walk so I do not have to plan my route.

· It gets me out of the house at least 1 day per week (not enough but better than nothing).

· I get to go to places that I have never been to and share time with my wife like she always wants (me too).

· I get to challenge myself to cover more distance within the same amount of time increasing my cardio challenge (and keep my heart rate low enough to keep burning fat).

· My dog gets to go out as well.

· It makes me feel accomplished.

2. Make a realistic schedule and stick to it

On a piece of paper, write down what your schedule is like this past week, and what is going to look like the following week. Spot those times that are possible to work out. Whether is right after work/school or prior to them, on your way to or from work/school, during a break at work, waking up 30 minutes earlier.

It does not matter if you start with one day that you exercise. Start there, and make sure you enjoy it. Then, you will find out another time to do the same work out or try something else.

3. Enjoy it!

Make sure you find something you enjoy and make that your primary workout. Yes, there are workouts that we all need to do but we need to want to do them to be successful. Also, do not worry if what you think is not an efficient workout that addresses several body parts or isn’t efficient. Up to this point, you have not been doing much, so it will still be more efficient. In addition, it will take you a while to get the results you want and to learn how to sustain them. So, do not rush. Make sure you enjoy what you are doing. Later, you will be able to do it more often and add other workouts you may need.

4. Nutrition Habits

Once you develop some sort of workout habit, start to hit your nutrition habits. It is important to feed your body the right food if you want it to respond like you need it. I do not suggest worrying about this point at first. Only you have found a hobby you like, and you have developed a habit with it.

5. Start tracking it

By now, you have some momentum in your workout, and hopefully in your eating habits. It is time for you to start tracking your weight and size. At this point, you enjoy what you are doing and you are more constant. To know whether what you are doing is really making a change is imperative to start adjusting your workout routine. You may need more of what you already like doing. If you need to incorporate other workout routines to improve your health more or to progress your goals, it is really important to know your baseline, and know how much and how often of something you are going to need.

6. Stay motivate, in any way.

By this time, you should have gotten some sort of grove to keep you interested. But life happens and there are things in life that my get on the way (depression, relationships, work, kids, etc). Write the things down that are getting on the way. Next to it, write a list of people who motivate you or may be willing to do something to help you stay motivate. Then go ahead and challenge them to a workout for several weeks. Or give them a call and vent with them about what is getting on your way. Seek help.

Other strategies are to draw the finish line that you want to get to. It may be a six pack and wear a nice bikini. Or it may be to be able to finish a hiking trail in a specific amount of time or finish many trails in a certain amount of days. WRITE THEM DOWN AND TELL THESE GOALS TO SOMEONE ELSE. Ask that someone else to keep you accountable to your goals.

Throw a commitment party. Yeah, why not. Make it big and have all those people keep you accountable to yourself.

Nobody likes to do what they do not like doing. However, everyone is willing to put up with somethings that they do not like if it does not interfere with what they like doing the majority of the time (like practicing the profession you love but putting up with the intricacies of paperwork) or with their ultimate goal (in this case, to build an exercise habit that you enjoy). Start today and start scaling it. It does not matter how long it takes as long as you continue to develop it. If you get stuck, come back and read these step and find out what you need to fix to keep to momentum going.

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Dr. Santiago Osorio