SilverSneakers Master Trainer Sims Corbett shares her best advice for making exercise a habit.
Life happens. Schedules get crowded. Plans go out the window.
But that doesn’t mean your fitness has to.
“We find time to do all sorts of things in life, no matter our schedules—if we enjoy them enough to do so,” says Sims Corbett, a SilverSneakers Master Trainer. That’s why, she explains, her top way to fit in fitness is to simply find healthy living habits you love.
“If you don’t enjoy your workouts, no matter how good, short, or easy to fit in they are, you won’t do them,” she says. “Find something you truly enjoy doing, and it will immediately become so much easier to fit in.”
So what do you love doing? Maybe it’s walks around the neighborhood, bodyweight moves in your living room, or online workout classes. Embrace them, and don’t worry about what types of workouts you think you “should” be doing, she says. When we think that we “have to” do something, it becomes a chore. By focusing on enjoyment, exercise can become something we look forward to, she explains. “Do what feels good to you—both mentally and physically.”
Now that you’ve got your favorite exercise in mind, take it across the finish line with these four fit-it-in tips, courtesy of Corbett.
1. Take Inventory
Corbett has a lot of fitness hobbies. Skiing, hiking, lifting weights, and running are all at the top the list—but running earns extra points because it is always accessible to her. “I have all of the gear I need to stay comfortable no matter the season,” she says. “I just have to head out of my front door.”
Similarly, identifying workout strategies that fit with the equipment, space, and time you have at your disposal will set you up for success. Sure, you might love skiing, but if you can’t regularly get to the slopes, it shouldn’t be your bread-and-butter workout. Instead, use your love of skiing to motivate yourself for your daily workouts. Those workouts should focus on easy-to-do activities—such as walking or bodyweight routines—that are easily accessible and will keep you strong for ski season.
2. Study Your Schedule
Look to see where the gaps are in your day. Maybe you have 10 minutes after lunch to go for a walk around the block with your dog. Maybe you have a few minutes to stretch before bedtime. Or maybe the morning is the easiest open spot you have to fill.
“I think people tend to stick with things better if they can fit them in during the morning,” says Corbett, who describes herself as “not a morning person” but gets up early for regular morning workouts. That way, she gets movement in, does something positive for herself, and sets herself up to feel better throughout the day—before the hours have had a chance to get away from her.
3. Create a Backup Plan
“To fit in fitness, you have to be flexible,” says Corbett, explaining that all-or-nothing mentalities just don’t work. “Come up with a plan B workout. If your first-choice workout falls through or your schedule changes, what are some easy things you can sub in?”
For instance, you may love taking online workout classes. But what if something comes up or your internet goes down? You don’t have to throw in the towel on exercise altogether. Instead, pick three or four of your favorite exercises from past classes, and do a few sets of each, she recommends. You’ll get in a nice workout and build that must-have consistency.
4. Add Movement Throughout the Day
True fitness fits into so much more than instructor-led classes and formal workouts—it’s a lifestyle that can flow into every part of the day, says Corbett, who takes frequent movement breaks to keep her blood flowing and energy up. “I naturally move a lot and just can’t sit still,” she says.
Fidgeting is a better workout than you might expect. So, if you’re feeling stir-crazy, just get up and move. An extra lap down the hall, a few kitchen pushups on the counter while you’re waiting on the microwave to ding, some seated yoga poses during TV time—it all adds up. If you’re not the “can’t sit still” type, set a timer to go off every hour to remind you to move.
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