When life gets in the way it’s easy to put exercise on the back burner. It starts when you take a day off because you’re too busy and one day becomes two days and on and on. Each day that you skip makes it harder to get back into the swing of things psychologically. Note: This doesn’t pertain to rest days where you’re not exercising to let your body recover – you need those days no matter how dedicated you are. From a mental standpoint, taking a string of days off because you’re busy makes it harder for your brain (and body) to get back into “exercise mode.”
As an article in Psychology Today points out, exercise is a life skill and a goal you set for yourself. Once you decide on a goal, achieving it takes effort and commitment, but that’s true of any worthwhile ambition. Don’t forget that regular physical activity ultimately works in your favor when you’re time-crunched. Research shows exercise helps you sleep better and can even enhance your memory and cognitive function.
As a study published in Psychology of Aging showed, a single bout of exercise improves attention, alertness, and cognitive function. Sounds like a way to get more done in less time, doesn’t it? Plus, exercise, in moderation, gives you more energy to tackle that to-do list. Still, exercise is not without its challenges. Some days it’s harder to fit in a workout than others.
How to Work out on a Day When You Think You Can’t
If you only have 10 minutes to work out on days when time is at a premium – no problem. Make up for it with intensity. High-intensity interval training gets the job done fast. Lace up your exercise shoes, work out hard for 30-second intervals, rest for 15 seconds and go back and forth for 10 or more minutes. For the ultimate in high-intensity and a workout style that’s proven to increase aerobic AND anaerobic fitness, do sets of Tabatas – 20 seconds near-max intensity followed by 10 seconds rest 8 times. Recover for one minute and repeat one or two more times depending on the time you have. Tabata workouts worked for the Japanese Olympic Speed Skating Team and they can work for you. When this style of workout was put to the test, it improved the aerobic capacity of study participants by 14% percent and anaerobic capacity by 28%. Pretty impressive for such a short workout.