Wouldn't it be nice if we could just drop off our bodies at the gym and come back to pick them up later? Like some pseudo-drycleaners, but designed for achieving your fitness goals. If only life could be that simple. Most of us spend our days meeting deadlines at work and/or at school, shuffling the kids to and from extracurricular activities, or simply hoping to have the chance to actually sit down for a homecooked meal. But we must remember, maintaining an active lifestyle should be one of our top priorities in life. Only by taking care of ourselves do we stand a chance of being the kind of person we strive to be on the job, at home with our loved ones, and in our communities. Easier said than done though, right? 

Work, in particular, can get in the way of working out — in fact, there is a big paradox going on, and it becomes more obvious the more challenging (and exciting!) a job gets: On one hand, we struggle to find time to work out; on the other, we can’t afford to not exercise because it's integral to sustained success.

Despite these obstacles, managing a fitness routine is not impossible. Here are six tips for how to fit exercise into your daily routine, no matter how busy you are with work:

1. Work Out Efficiently

Pick a workout form that you can do almost anywhere. The next time you go into work, consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Or, on the car ride home, tighten your ab muscles for 15-seconds — then repeat. 

2. Cater to Your Own Likes and Dislikes

If you hate running, that’s okay! The key to fitness is to be realistic and to know yourself. One person’s running is another person’s yoga, weight training, or dance. Flexing your self-discipline muscles is often necessary when it comes to exercise, but make it easier on yourself by choosing a form of exercise that fits your lifestyle, personality, and taste. Not sure what you love to do? Don’t be afraid to experiment with different forms of exercise until you find what works best for you.

3. Use Competitions as Motivation

When we’re trying to motivate ourselves to exercise on a regular basis, sometimes we may need a little extra pushing.  Whether you’re elite, beginner, or somewhere in between, there’s something for all of us. Sign up, set a goal, and notice what it does to you — odds are good, it might be the push you need to keep yourself in the game.

4. Make a Schedule and Commit to It

What are two of the biggest excuses for skipping a workout? “I am just too busy at work today" or "I just don't feel like it today". Don't allow these words to leave your lips. Actually sis, don't even allow these words to form in your mind! Make a schedule (write it down if it helps!), stick to it, and remind yourself that working out is a priority worth keeping. You got this! 

5. Track Your Activity Levels

Make a note in your calendar every time you work out, and add up your workout sessions at the end of each week, month, and year so you can monitor your progress and identify areas for improvement. Measuring your activity levels (and ideally keeping notes on your progress) can help you to stay on track and realize when you’re slipping before you’ve completely lost the habit.

6. Choose Something Over Nothing

You don’t need an hour—or even 30 minutes—to get a complete, effective workout. We can always find a few free minutes in our day (yes, we can!). Squeeze in fitness wherever you are. With an effective program, and done frequently enough, short and speedy workouts can do wonders to both the body and mind. 

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