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Six ways to make time for a daily workout

Expert advice from a trainer with the fitness app Aaptiv

Young man with tattoos doing core workout on the dock

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We all get the same amount of hours in a day, yet for some people it seems easier to find time to work out, whereas others find it impossible. And there are good reasons for that — work, family, and other obligations eat away those precious minutes and hours. That said, if you’re in the latter group, what should you do in order to find or make time for fitness?

The Aaptiv exercise app can certainly help. It’s available at no cost for eligible Haven Term policyholders, via the Haven Life Plus bonus rider. Aaptiv has a huge and ever-growing set of workouts, from full-on sweat sessions to guided walks. It also has some really quick workouts, which can be a great place to start if you’re short on time and haven’t been exercising very much.

If you’re among those who struggle to get in even a short workout, we can relate. That’s why we asked Aaptiv trainer Raj Hathiramani for some practical tips. Here’s what he suggested.

In this article:

Go streaking

“A streak is working out every day for a period of time,” says Hathiramani, and once you start one, it becomes its own motivation. Not only do you have a goal (exercising every day for X number of days or weeks), but the further you go into your streak, the more you feel you have to lose by stopping.

Another advantage of the streak approach is that it makes you realize that you actually can workout every day. Hathiramani recommends “starting small, such as a one-week or one-month streak” to make sure your goal is viable and attainable. “You can always extend” if you get into a groove, he adds.

Make it work with work

It sounds paradoxical, but if working out is a priority for you, consider de-prioritizing it. Kind of. As Hathiramani puts it:  “Fit your workouts around more important commitments, rather than the other way around.”

By scheduling fitness time around priorities like your kids or your job, you might actually find more time to do it, because those important things have been taken care of. For example, you might get your steps in by walking around the track during your kid’s soccer practice, or by making your next (virtual or in-person) meeting a walking one.

Also, consider blocking off actual time in your calendar, just like you would for those other priorities (like picking up the kids from school, or your weekly check-ins with your boss).

Recover smarter

One obstacle to working out regularly is if you overextend yourself, and require a stint on the injured list. Especially if it’s been awhile, you want to avoid going back on the sidelines due to injury or fatigue.

To keep that from happening, Hathiramani recommends you include recovery as part of your workouts. “Stretch and foam roll,” he says. “Incorporate days where you workout only the bare minimum.” You can also alternate workouts between something more strenuous (like a short morning jog) with something lower-impact (like yoga or pilates). And don’t forget: Even a meditation — like the guided ones you’ll find on Aaptiv — can have health benefits.

Mix it up

Another common enemy to a regular workout routine is boredom. Even seasoned trainers can get sick of running the same routes, doing the same lifts, listening to the same workout playlists — so don’t be surprised if you suffer the same fate.

The key is to mix it up where you can. “To prevent monotony, vary your class types,” says Hathiramani. As with the recovery advice above, consider alternating workout types — focusing on cardio one day, and flexibility the next, for example. Or even just pick out something fun and new to wear while exercising, and set it out the night before. Every little bit helps.

Bring a friend

If you’re doing a five-minute workout, you’ll probably be doing it in solitude, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. “Invite others to keep you accountable,” says Hathiramani. That can take the form of you and a friend making a joint commitment to working out a certain amount each week (or doing a joint streak), or it could just be telling your partner your goals and asking them to check in with you to see how you’re coming along.

Track your progress

“In addition to sharing your selfie with the community on the app, track your progress, whether it’s an old school logbook or app like Strava,” says Hathiramani. “Logging can help you set intentions or practice gratitude; it lets you see how far you’ve come, and track progress.”

Working out can feel abstract, especially since the benefits can take some time to become visible. Keeping a log is a great way to keep yourself going — and remind yourself that you really are achieving something.

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About Michael Davis

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Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html

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