There's no way around it: exercise is what really helps you lose weight, stay active, stay in a more positive frame of mind, and keep mentally alert. Exercise is also an excellent coping mechanism for entrepreneurs and a distraction from falling back into old habits. It may even be part of a recovery treatment program that can help you get on the right track again with your life.
Sujan Patel, co-founder of narrow.io, says "exercise is not only my morning coffee, which gives me a four-to-five hour burst of energy, it also helps me relieve stress and stay sane as I run three companies. Exercise doesn't have to be complicated either, and the weight loss has helped me refocus and do my work at a higher capacity."
While most of us know this is fact, not many of us follow through on it because we let our work and daily responsibilities take precedence over taking care of our own health. If we would "let" ourselves take the time, this self-care would actually help us become more productive because we'd have more physical and mental energy to take on all that we need to do.
Research studies have pointed to the fact that even just 30 minutes a day of exercise can make a significant difference in terms of weight loss and a decrease in fat mass. This doesn't seem like a lot of time to find in your day, but if you are still struggling with figuring out how to make exercise happen for you, check out these 10 ways to get back in touch with yourself -- in a half-hour of exercise each day:
1. Use the stairs at work (or home).
You can even break up the 30 minutes into two 15-minute increments or three 10-minute increments throughout the day to take a run at going up and down the stairs.
Whether you have just one flight of stairs or your office is on the fourth floor, you'll be able to use this to create a 30-minute cardio workout. Start out with taking the stairs up one floor, then move on to another floor, and continue on.
2. Turn a meeting into a walk-a-thon.
If you have a one-on-one meeting planned with a colleague or employee, or even if it's a meeting of two-three people, consider taking the meeting on the road and turning those 30 minutes into a multitasking opportunity.
Not only will you get in your 30 minutes for the day, but you will also most likely enjoy your meeting (as will your participants who are also enjoying the dual benefit) and even achieve a more personal, relaxed feel to the discussion. I call these "walk and talk" meetings. These can be spur of the moment, unplanned delights.
3. Make the most of airport time.
Many of you may be frequently stuck with time on your hands at an airport. Rather than sitting there and playing every game on your phone, turn the airport waiting area into your personal walking path.
You can do laps around the airport terminal, as there is usually quite a distance in and around your gate area where you can get in your cardio. It may even make the time go faster, and find yourself doing more than 30 minutes if the plane is delayed! Besides reading and a quick nap, a lap or two in the terminal is great.
4. Walk or bike to work.
While this may not always be an option because your commute may be too far, you could consider taking public transportation and stopping just far enough away to make the last portion into a cardio session. Most public transportation now lets you bring your bike on board, so you can split up the commute that way.
5. Add more "elbow grease" to household chores.
You may not realize it, but any time on your feet -- vacuuming, dusting, mowing the lawn, doing yard work -- is an actual workout. Again, you are able to think about the addition of exercise as multitasking in which your productivity doubles by maintaining your home -- and still getting in your cardio.
I had a friend who asked her doctor how she could possibly lose the weight he wanted her to lose. The doctor said, "clean under all your furniture and wash your walls." In other words, she would be moving out that furniture herself, she'd be up and down a step stool to those wash walls, she would be bending everywhere. This took some time, but when she was done, she had lost 10 pounds.
6. Set up "active" dates with your significant other or friends.
While hitting happy hour or the movies, take your significant other or friends on an active date like a game of tennis or basketball. Walk or go on a hike. Most cities have a brochure that lists great hikes in your area and the time they will take.
If you like dancing, consider a night out at the club for some time on the dance floor with your best moves. Not only does this mean everyone involved gets in their exercise for the day or night, but you also will have a more engaging time with friends than in the traditional activities that may not encourage conversation and connection.
7. Make it a family affair.
Use the 30 minutes as a way to spend more time with the kids, encouraging them to exercise while also enjoying your time together. You can go for a walk or bike ride after dinner, or take your lunch break at the park while you have a quick game of basketball or soccer.
I have an acquaintance who always works late, so his wife shows up at the office several times a week with his little kids and he goes outside and plays with them. You should see the change in his fitness level in this past year. No more spare tire, and he claims this is the only thing he has done differently.
8. Take the dog for a walk.
Taking the dog out for a walk means your fuzzy family member also gets the exercise they need, which can improve their energy, alleviate boredom while you are at work, and lead to better behavior around the house. In exchange, you are out there moving and grooving like you should. Your dog will love you more for it!
9. Find a hotel with a gym or pool.
When on the road for work or a vacation, select a hotel that has a gym. Instead of flipping channels on the TV or streaming a movie while raiding the mini bar and snack cabinet, go downstairs and get moving on the treadmill.
Many hotel gyms offer 24-hour access, and some have swimming pools with extended hours so you can enjoy a swim after a day of sitting in meetings. Even sitting in a hot tub is better than sitting in your room on your computer, and it may encourage you to do a quick lap or two in the pool before hopping in.
10. Reduce couch potato time.
Whether you are watching regular TV with regular commercial interruptions or you are in the midst of binge-watching your favorite series, you can take some time out from the couch potato routine. On every commercial, get up and jog in place until your show returns. Before immediately hitting the play button on the next episode on Netflix, get up and take a 15-minute break with a quick walk around the block.
Your reward will be a return to the sofa after each exercise session until you can fully get into your couch potato persona once the 30 minutes is done. The average person already spends an average of five hours a night sitting in front of a television, so there is plenty of time to add in a fitness routine. If you can't stand being torn away and you actually have a treadmill at home or can do the running in place, keep it streaming--this might make the time go faster.
Many of these ways to fit in 30 minutes of exercise are really about helping you to create a multitasking routine to your day. When you add it all up, you not only have accomplished things you needed to do anyway, you've spent more quality time with those you love, built better bonds with friends and colleagues, and, most important, you've gotten the exercise you need for a healthier body and mind.
Additionally, these ways show that you really do have the time for exercise. Start with even one of these suggestions, then add on as you can. All you need to do now is make a conscious decision to get moving.