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Exercise is an important—even essential—part of life, as it provides us with a multitude of health benefits, both mental and physical. A few of these include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, the strengthening of bones and muscles, improved mood, increased feelings of happiness, weight loss, an increase in energy, and better sleep quality… and we’re just skimming the surface.

Now, many people automatically think treadmill or weights when the topic of exercise and physical activity comes up—and while they can certainly provide a great workout, nobody is saying that you have to take up running or lifting weights. Instead, you should find a form of exercise that’s right and fun for you. This could mean attending a dance class, going on a beautiful hike, joining a club sports team, or even just playing with your doc—it is only essential that you get your body moving and your heart rate up. But wait… there’s still one major problem: how could you possibly fit exercise into an already busy schedule, one that is just bursting at the seams?

Trust me, I understand the struggle—you already have to manage going to work, doing the laundry, taking out the trash, running the dishwasher, and fitting in little pleasures wherever you can. Take it from me, however, that it is so worth moving your schedule around to fit in this essential daily activity. We’ll even tell you how to do so with ease! Follow these 5 tips to ensure exercise is a part of your day:

1) Wake up just 40 minutes earlier.

Doing so allows you 10 minutes to get yourself up and moving and 30 minutes to exercise from home or hit the local gym. There are many work out videos and classes that only take up to 30 minutes of your time—or you can put together your own 30-minute workout that consists of jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and pushups right next to your bed! The goal is just to get your heart rate up for over 20 minutes.

2) Use your time at work wisely.

It’s hard to fit in a workout or want to fit in a workout when you already allocate so much of your time to working. But it is vital that you do so, especially if you sit at a desk all day. So, try utilizing your time at work more wisely—pledge to go on a 10-minute walk every couple hours, or even perform little exercises at your desk while you’re working, like calf-raises or jumping jacks. You could also eat your lunch while walking around outside or even use a portion of your lunch break to get a full-blown workout in!

3) Workout during those commercial breaks!

I know, I know—it’s just too tempting not to snuggle up on your couch after a long day of work and catch up on your favorite TV shows. So try combining that simple pleasure with working out! Instead of getting up to grab another drink or snack during a commercial try doing jumping jacks, running in place, or doing crunches during those boring commercial break.

4) Take every advantage to get your heart rate up.

Make exercise a staple of your day by incorporating it into everything you can! Run or even walk up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator. Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing them. Get in a few jumping jacks while you’re waiting to use the water cooler or the printer. There’s always potential to exercise throughout the day—you simply have to take advantage of the opportunities to get your body moving!

5) Get your friends to join you.

If given the choice, most of us would pick socializing or spending time with our friends over going to the gym, which is understandable—but why not merge the two together? See if your friends would want to go rock climbing instead of out for drinks; or suggest going to a new dance class together before the night ahead! This might even lead to a healthy workout schedule that not only provides you with the many benefits of exercising, but of socializing and maintaining strong relationships as well. Talk about the perfect system!

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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