When and how do busy people exercise?
August 16, 2018 8:06 AM   Subscribe

FT job, 40ish minute commute, married with one kid and a house. And hobbies that are not exercising.

This seems elementary and maybe the answer is: get up earlier or go to the gym in the evening, etc. I'd just love to know what's worked for those of you in my situation.

I'm in my mid-40s and I work a FT desk job. I do have a standing desk, but it has not solved all of my problems. My partner and I have a super active 5 year old boy. Partner manages to get up at 5am a few times a week and go to outside boot camp activities. I sleep. I'm also not a group fitness type.

My day is usually like this: up around 6:45-7am, shower, do pre-school drop-off by 8:30. At work by 9:30 (I drive, my commute is 35-50 mins depending on traffic). I work all day at a desk, occasionally go outside for a walk (I work in a city).

I leave around 5:15-5:30. Partner picks up kid and we're all home by 6:30. We spend time with family, eat and alternate nights of doing bedtime which we start around 7:45. He's asleep by 8:30pm (we stay in there until he's asleep right now, that's another AskMe question... ). I really don't want to give up any of my weeknight time with my kid.

Sometimes we eat after he's asleep. On the nights I do bedtime, when I come out of his room I'm usually soooo tired and just want to turn my brain off and chill. On the nights I don't, I'll often clean up the kitchen, put laundry away or do something hobby-like (read, genealogy research, automate all the things on my iPad). And by 10pm, I am beat. In bed and usually asleep by 11.

I've successfully gone to the gym a few times at 7:30 when it's not my bedtime night. Gym is a 10 min drive away. Honestly the last thing I want to do is get in the car sometimes and that's part of why this doesn't happen.

We just went away for 10 days and each day my watch said I walked at least 10k steps - one day as 12k. I felt GREAT. Like all of the things that usually hurt, did not hurt. I did not get any of the stomach/indigestion kind of things I get at home. I totally need to move more - that's where this question is coming from.

So when the heck do I work out? Do I ditch the gym and figure out things to do at home? Do I get up at 6:30am and go for a walk or at 7:30 on non-bedtime nights? What's worked for you?
posted by jdl to Health & Fitness (48 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
I work out on my lunch hour three days a week. I have a gym that's a couple blocks from my office, so I'm lucky. There's unfortunately a lot of room in this plan for my lunch hour to get blown up by work stuff, but I really really try to keep that time blocked off and sacred.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:07 AM on August 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


I am not a parent but several I know duck out of work around lunchtime for a quick workout, and then do longer workouts on the weekend.
posted by lunasol at 8:09 AM on August 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


Do you have a garage? If you do, i'd bite the bullet and invest in whatever makes a decent home gym for you - expensive elliptical b/c the cheap ones suck (look on craigslist or your local equivalent), rower, or bike, and a decent set of free weights, and a bench. If this takes, you can add a barbell rack later.

then you can work out from 6:00-6:45 without any travel time or delay, or you can do the same at 7:30.
posted by mercredi at 8:12 AM on August 16, 2018 [9 favorites]


I bought a folding bike which lives in the boot of my car. I aim to go out three lunchtimes a week. I often only manage twice a week, so aim to go out once over the weekend.
posted by chr at 8:14 AM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


What works for "most people" I've found is working it into a daily routine somewhere. So, either on your way to, or from, work, you stop at the gym for 90 minutes. That's just what you do. It sounds like you don't want to stop at the gym on the way home, so could you drop off pre-school earlier, and go to the gym after that? Maybe a gym close to work, and your commute would also be shorter?
posted by bbqturtle at 8:17 AM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


I play rec league team sports to stay fit. I find that joining a team gives me the external motivation to show up and do the thing.
When my son was young I would take him with me and make sure there was an activity before or after that was centered on him, or that, for instance, if we were at the Y, he was in a group play activity or swim lesson that he could enjoy.

Hiking and biking can be done with kids. If you're not in super shape then going at kids' pace will be a way to start to get you into shape. I used to bike with a trailer until my kiddo got too big to haul and by then he could ride himself. Hiking is a bit trickier. I carried until about age 3 or 4, but then he was to heavy but his legs were too short to really hike, but if you are just looking for movement, just go at your child's pace and enjoy.

I also second lunchtime exercise. i play in a pickup ultimate frisbee game on wednesdays and we play all year round in any weather and to be honest it's the winter games that mean the most to me. I feel invigorated just being outside that time of year (PNW so mildish winter weather).

Just find something yo enjoy that gets you moving, gyms are boring unless you are really into that scene.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:20 AM on August 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


To me it seems like your best bet might be that 6:30 - 7:45 window with your kid. He's super active, so maybe it's time to encourage that and be super active with him. Perhaps instead of cooking and eating dinner at home, you could pack up your dinner as a picnic several nights a week and go out to the nearest park or nature area. Run around with him, play on the playground, set up little games that involve lots of movement. If your partner will come too, all the better. You will still be spending time together as family. If the whole thing would work to get out some extra energy and help the kid to wind down a bit before bedtime, that's great too. It's not formalized exercise, per se, but you can expend a LOT of energy running after a kid if that's what you want to do.

It just seems like at this current time in your life you might be better off seeking to fold activity more naturally into your current busy routine instead of having to give something up (sleep, family time). Plus, you will be demonstrating to your son how much you value moving your body.

Also, when I say pack up a picnic, I'm not talking fancy platters of wax-paper wrapped sandwiches and carefully brewed herbal teas. I'm talking 'Put the spaghetti in a tupperware'. Whatever you were going to eat for dinner? Cram it into a container with a lid and get out the door.
posted by DSime at 8:24 AM on August 16, 2018 [11 favorites]


Cheap ass home gym + Netflix + up at 5 on weekdays = marital workout and shared story to enjoy and talk about over coffee before the day starts. The price is that I have to go to bed between 8:30 and 9:30 to make this sustainable.
posted by eirias at 8:28 AM on August 16, 2018 [12 favorites]


Yeah, shifting your wake-up and bedtime by an hour and adding in a home-based exercise (YouTube class, DVD class, brisk walk/job around the neighborhood for 45 minutes) - then start the shower routine afterward - has been my fix. Gym is great when I have time, but when I'm on a schedule that other people are tied to, it's 5:45am wake-up and asleep by 10pm at the latest.
posted by pammeke at 8:32 AM on August 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


I don't have kids, but have a very time-intensive work schedule (and am not a morning person), and have found that I can pretty consistently (2 times during weekdays) make an 8:30 - 9:30 pm workout class. Key for me is that I look forward to and like the class (yoga/core work) and it's less than 10 minutes to get to/from. I am showered by 10p and in bed by 11p if I want. If you can find the energy to work out after bedtime that seems like it could be a good window of time.
posted by icy_latte at 8:33 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I print stuff to work on and take lunch plus the workplace 10:00 and 3:00 smokebreaks to schlep to the nearest tall building with steps, which steps I walk up. I work walking to and from the steps and while going up them. The last flight I take two steps at a time for the quads. Going down the steps I put away the red pencil so as not to fall and die. I try to do this three times a day but usually only end up doing it once. Still. I might not die of a DVT toDAY, at least.

If you work in or near a tall building, up your (unsweetened) fluids intake at work and imagine that the bathrooms on the lower floors are all full of lava or megalodons so that you can only take bathroom breaks on the top floor. You can also do wall sits and planks and suchlike if you have a private office.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:35 AM on August 16, 2018 [9 favorites]


I just started walking a bit more to get more active as well. I use the Pacer app on my iPhone to track my progress. Since I just started working in a city in the last year, I realized I walk half a mile from my usual train stop to work, so that was a mile RT each day. Then I started getting off the train one stop earlier - that is a mile in the morning, and half a mile on the way home. Then I started walking at least 20 minutes at lunch to cram another mile in.

Then I started to walk laps around the train station platform instead of just standing there as I'm waiting for my train to pull in. Huh, I can add another half a mile.

Then I started parking farther away from the train station to get a few more steps in.

This week my morning routine changed a little bit, so I had an extra half an hour in the morning. Perfect for an early stroll in the cool temps and to get me going and yup, I can get another mile in.

All in all, these little changes have not added too much time to my daily routine and I'm really starting to enjoy it. The point is, carve out a little extra time here and there to add to your usual routine of things you do anyway to make exercise a daily thing.

CAVEAT: Not sure how well this will go over for me in the worst of winter conditions when it's 12 degrees out, icy and blizzarding...
posted by HeyAllie at 8:35 AM on August 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


My grandfather took a walk after dinner every day of his life. Just down to the dock and back, no bigs, but there was a slight incline. He was like Mister Rogers, with the weight constancy.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:38 AM on August 16, 2018 [8 favorites]


Pursuant to DSime above: there is a woman in my neighborhood who seems to go on daily "jogs" with her seven year old in the evening. Could be something to work towards?
posted by aramaic at 8:49 AM on August 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


I guess working in more activity throughout the day may be more achievable than distinct gym sessions, especially if you are determined to spend all the evenings with your child. Others have provided ideas for the work day. But in the evenings you could also take the kid outside and play with them, ride your bikes, go to the park, that kind of thing. Just for half an hr. It would probably be good for both of you.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:51 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I have a climbing gym about 5 minutes away from my office. I go there during the middle of the day and either ride the bike and lift weights or climb on the bouldering wall for about 40 minutes to an hour. Then I grab lunch at the grocery store salad bar on the way back to the office. My lunches are slightly on the long side and no one seems to care if I come back sweaty. I just change my clothes and throw on some deodorant.
posted by trbrts at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I walk two miles every day at work. I try to walk more at home, too, if I'm able. You'd be surprised how much walking helps in terms of fitness. And it's pretty easy to get your kid to walk with you.

It depends on your goals, but most stuff you can either do at home, or work into your office. You've got some easy time slots to fit in home gym time (wake up at 6am and go for 45 minutes, or do it after your kid goes to bed). At work, it's really easy to sneak in calisthenics at your desk, and you could probably expand that to resistance bands as well if you're interested in building strength. There are also under-desk pedal things to keep your legs moving when you sit.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:57 AM on August 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


Bring a bike on the car, and park a relaxed 20 minute ride away from the office. Depending on where the traffic is worst on your commute, this might even be faster than driving many days.
posted by rockindata at 8:58 AM on August 16, 2018 [7 favorites]


Maybe alternate nights each of you cook dinner? That way, on nights you aren’t cooking, you can put your kid on the bike with you and go for a ride.

Also, agreeing with lunchtime walks/runs.
posted by MountainDaisy at 8:58 AM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


My sister turned me on to Fitness Blender, which has tons of free workouts many that don't require any sort of equipment. The husband and wife team are completely non-gimmicky, pay attention to form, and don't come across as impossible gym-body types.

When I just can't drag myself to the gym, I can stream a good workout and not leave my home. I did invest in the adjustable weights they use and they are totally worth it.

All the videos are free, but if you want more structure you can purchase a "plan."
posted by brookeb at 8:59 AM on August 16, 2018 [10 favorites]


Nthing add in time when you can. I'm on a similar schedule with a similar commute (admittedly no kids though) - and with the added stressor of work travel 40-50% of the time.

When I'm in the office, I try to eat at my desk and use my lunch hour taking a long walk around the neighborhood. I also try to take public transit to commute when possible, the walking to/from the station adds a lot of steps. I have a couple of co-workers who have memberships at a gym nearby and use their lunch hour there (I should do this, but feel like I'm gone too often to get my money's worth out of a gym). When I'm on the road, I always take some workout clothes and try to book a hotel with a decent gym (even better if it has a decent-sized pool).

Mrs. photo guy has a harder time exercising during the day (more erratic schedule and her office isn't in a walkable area) but she usually does 30 mins or so on a stationary bike we have at home in the evenings and/or goes for a long walk after dinner.

Either way, I've found that making it convenient seems to help a lot - I'm much more likely to follow through if I don't have to plan it out too much.
posted by photo guy at 8:59 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I struggle with this and don't even have a kid, so I feel your pain. I get up at 5am a few times a week to run/jog before work. I also bike to work on days when I don't run and weather/plans allow, but recognize not everyone can do that. On the other hand, could you bike to the gym if getting in the car is the turnoff (which I totally get)? Getting up at 5 means I need to be in bed by 9:30, so I lose a lot of personal time once cooking, eating, cleaning up, and other stuff is done at the end of the day. I don't read as many books as I'd like. I don't knit as much as I used to. I miss a lot of the great television that everyone is always talking about.

I personally like biking and running (or walking) more than going to the gym because you can just get out your front door and GO. There's no getting to/from step that becomes such a hurdle. If I can get my sneakers on my feet, I can be out the door.
posted by misskaz at 9:00 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I do the same thing as your partner - I wake early and exercise then. Occasionally in the past schedule would get in the way, or I'd sleep late, and I'd say that I'd still run later that day but plans always fell through. In theory, I could "make" time to start in the 8pm-9pm time frame, but my sleep usually sucks post exercise - I find waking up early to be less bad than failing to fall asleep for 1-2 hours followed by poor quality for the rest of the night's sleep.

The waking early is a sacrifice, but for a busy schedule sacrifices are all that's available. Running has become my primary hobby, and my secondary hobby of gaming has taken an extreme back seat. I average about 2 hours/week for games.

As I note you have young kids and your partner is gone early for classes a few times a week, you might need to alternate that with them. Fortunately for me, when I started running my youngest was already 10, so I didn't need to specifically coordinate to have someone at home during the mornings. However a big thing with Ms. nobeagle and I is we have our morning coffee together and talk, so I do coordinate around her wakeup time. Sometimes I run before coffee time and others I leave to run immediately after. It helps that I don't have a set time to be at work.

Is your 5 year old able to ride a bike (with training wheels or not)? If so, they could probably keep up with you running (or more likely run/walking). Sometimes where I didn't want the youngest unsupervised (during the few late afternoons or weekends that I wasn't running in the mornings) because he'd been up to mischief I'd have him follow me on his bike. It was super easy for him to keep on on sidewalks, but I had to frequently slow or wait to allow him to catch up on technical/hilly trails. Don't take a 5 year old biking on technical trails :)
posted by nobeagle at 9:00 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


Are you my sock puppet I didn't know about? I mean, right down to the 5 year old and the recent trip with consistent 10k+ days, this is eerie. *eyes warily*

I somehow pushed my way into a town car with my company's executive team and they were chatting about how to fit in workouts in their busy schedules. One senior executive kind of repeated mantra-like "you have to schedule it in", like any other import meeting or appointment.

That hasn't worked so well for me, personally, yet. My Fitbit gives me notifications every hour during the work day to make sure I get 250 steps in per hour. It isn't too disruptive and I can ignore it if I need to, but it helps get me up a bit. Lunch time walks and evening after dinner walks with my family help, too. I have also dedicated myself to doing one Fitbit Coach workout a week.

(I like the idea above of purposely using a bathroom on a different floor - that should give me 40+ more steps an hour.)

Another program that I've participated in has the mantra "walk the dog, even if you don't have one". That feels much more real to me, as we had a dog for a long time before we had a kid. Dogs need at least two walks a day, right? So "walk the dog" in the morning and "walk the dog" in the evening. We take the kiddo for some of the evening walks if he's up for it - sometimes for a very slow stroll, other times where he falls asleep in the almost-too-small stroller. Playing Pokemon Go (with the kiddo and by myself) has also really helped get my steps up in the past and is still a motivator for the kiddo to join us on a walk. I'm hoping that once the kiddo gets comfortable on a bicycle, he could maybe bike with me as I go for a fast walk or jog.
posted by jillithd at 9:03 AM on August 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


I have incorporated exercise into time with my toddler. I take us on walks with the family dog, wrestle around on the floor with him, that sort of thing. When he's old enough we will ride bikes or similar, and we are members of the Y to promote lifelong interest in moving. You can bring that sense of movement into your life without a gym, but if your primary interests are intellectual this may be more difficult. Perhaps look into Pokemon Go, ingress or geocaching to provide an intellectual framework for your movement? (To the extent such pursuits could be labeled intellectual, it is at the least movement with a purpose which you may find easier to incorporate into your routine without a feeling of loss).
posted by crunchy potato at 9:05 AM on August 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


My commute is my exercise. The fact that my work and my home are both next to the same bike path makes this easy. YMMV.
posted by clawsoon at 9:10 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


Get an anchor exercise night. Its very hard to all of a sudden incorporate a full workout regimen in to a schedule. You gotta kind of ease into it.

Is there any kind of exercise you enjoy, or at least more than others? Pick that - running, weights, or a competitive game? Start there - what would intrinsically motivate you past your tiredness from work and kid?

Then make 1 night you are not bed-timing your anchor workout night with that fun (or more fun) activity. Someone mentioned joining a sports league - the good thing about that is it makes you accountable to others; if its not a team, then make your, let's say Wednesdays, the night you go to the gym. No matter what. Your family knows that's your X exercise night, its scheduled.

From there, start building in more exercise. It will ebb and flow - you have a 5 year old! You work full time and commute! Don't beat yourself up though, b/c if you have a night that is locked in, and then you build more exercise around that, you'll start to feel better and it'll get easier to exercise.
posted by RajahKing at 9:13 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


Nthing walking with your kid. Play Pokemongo to keep motivated.
posted by k8t at 9:19 AM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Thank you so much everyone - you've given me great ideas and motivation to try some new things (and not beat myself up over not always being successful).

I'm going to try to actually schedule some time on my work calendar so that my lunch hour is blocked off and go for some walks. We've also been talking about making our little garage more hospitable to working out so that we can both use it, so this was a good reminder that being able to ride a bike/walk on a treadmill inside at home in the winter could really work.

And yes, more bike rides and walks with the 5 year old. He's ALWAYS up for outside activity.


And @jillithd - well this IS eerie. And we're both from states that start with M. I didn't think i was a sock puppet...
posted by jdl at 9:53 AM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


I build a "get up and move around" task into my daily Pomodoro routine, so every 25 minutes I'll walk around my work area or go to the bathroom and do some squats or stretch or something. This isn't weight-loss exercise, but it is generally-good-for-you exercise. On busy days, it's much better than nothing, and it reinvigorates my desk work, too.
posted by witchen at 10:01 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


A solution not mentioned that involves kids is to get your kid a good scooter (I'm a fan of the more stable 3-wheeled ones, we have one from Micro), and suggest you go together to a nearby park or playground after dinner. My son isn't the hardiest kid (starting to be ok with walking more than a few blocks but still whines about it, nervous about biking) but he loves his scooter and can handle scooting around and I just try to keep up to him to and from somewhere nearby, and he plays while I do whatever, stretch, read, walk, if I was adventurous I could totally be doing bodyweight exercises at the playground, I see people jogging around and jumping up on rocks. At first you'll have to keep up via a bike or jogging or rollerblading (or scooting!) for safety reasons, my son is older now and is better with being safe, but it's his preferred way of getting around and when we do it regularly I feel much better.

Sometimes we park farther from his school and I keep the scooter in the car so again we get some active time in on the commute, he does well with the extra bit of activity too.

And while sharing activity is the best I see nothing wrong with doing 30 minutes of yoga while he watches netflix and entertains himself, he is active all day at camp right now (swimming most days) and mostly wants to veg when we get home.
posted by lafemma at 10:37 AM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Run 5k 3 or 4 nights a week after kids are in bed. Takes 30min.
posted by LoveHam at 10:42 AM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Darebee app. No equipment. Pick a random workout and do as much as you can.
posted by fritillary at 11:48 AM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Neither of us would ever leave the house to go to the gym, so we bought a treadmill and an exercise bike, which do get used, and each of us worked out a strength/cardio routine we could do at home. Ideally I'd like to do mine as soon as we get home from work, about 6pm, but the Mr is usually, and I am often, ragingly hungry by that time so we end up fixing dinner and eating and cleaning up, and then start exercising about 7:30.

We also use my old TV from before we moved in together in the room with the exercise bike, and bought a small TV and mounted it to the wall above the treadmill, both with old AppleTVs so we can watch YouTube, Netflix, and other stuff while exercising, which helps dull the pain a little.

What also helped was scheduling Mondays and Thursdays for the exercise, which is sacrosanct and nothing else gets scheduled on top of it. Yes, I could do better with more exercise but if I do it 3 days a week I end up upset and resentful of it for taking away time I need for all the other obligations I have and end up not doing it. Sticking to 2 days a week on the basis of the exercise you do is better than the exercise you don't do, has worked for several months so far.
posted by telophase at 12:07 PM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


In a similar situation as you. There are a couple of ways around it, one of the easiest being to wake up earlier to fit in an outdoor walk/run. With that said, I hate morning workouts so have never been able to work that one out myself, where on the other hand I could do a near-midnight routine if I was forced to. You could also work out during the lunch hour if there's a gym and/or showers nearby, or just go for a walk if you don't want to be sweaty.

What worked for me and spouse was actively signing up for a gym that had onsite daycare (e.g., a lot of YMCAs have them) while you work out. We got to work out after work, child got to play with kids and get tired, everyone was happy. But you could also fit some work out time with the kid if they're super active - take them to a playground and jog around the playground sets while they play, or use them yourself (pullups on monkey bars). Also walking with them also helps with adding to steps - anything that lets you hang out with them and tire them out is a win win, especially since I've never been able to get my kid asleep before 9 pm unless they were exhausted.

The backup for us was that a few years back, I talked my spouse into getting an old treadmill from a gym and putting it in the basement for those days where we can't go out. You could do an elliptical or bike, whatever works for you, and those tend to run cheaper than a treadmill anyway.
posted by crankytalking at 12:51 PM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I wake up at 5am 1 to 3 days/week for group classes at 5:30-6:20 and run/walk 5 miles on Sat at 7am. My husband uses a recumbent bike and 25 lb weights at night after kid bedtime (8 or 8:30) a few nights a week in our basement.
posted by typecloud at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I get up at six, I'm at work just after seven thirty, which allows me to leave at four thirty. I pick up the kids, then go home and go fur a run or do free weights, wrapping up between six thirty and seven. Then we have a dinner that I already prepared on Sunday, so it just needs heating up. While I'm working.

This works because I have the equipment I need at home, my wife does drop offs in the morning, and I precook most meals. It's slightly complicated but it works really well!
posted by smoke at 2:06 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have a 1.5-2 hour commute but no kids. I have a bunch of ways I make this work. The last leg of my commute is about 2 miles; some days I walk it instead of taking the subway. There's a gym in the basement of my office building with showers and towels, and I'll work out before/during/after lunch some days. I also belong to a gym that's 3/4 mi from my house and if I'm not too short on time I'll walk there. I have a fitbit that does the thing where it buzzes me if I haven't taken enough steps in the last hour, and I'll get up and walk around or something. We have a stationary bike in the basement (I don't stick to at-home stuff as well as I do to gym routines though). I usually alternate days lifting and running, but if I have to skip a day I'll sometimes do both on the same day instead.

I think you need a gym closer to your house/work or an in-home setup. And definitely get active with the kid. Other than that, you just have to do it.
posted by mchorn at 3:01 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am a single parent to a child with special needs. I work out 4 to 5 times a week while working full time and doing everything. You can do this.

Lift at home. 20 to 30 min lifts 2x a week. Get some free weights and either wake up early or do it during your child's screen time.

20 to 30 min of yoga a week. Same deal.

Get a jogging stroller or bike trailer. Do this early in the evening or on the weekend.

Note: parenting + full time work is super freaking exhausting. You'll get this time back in happiness and productivity. Honest.
posted by Kalmya at 5:26 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's hard, man. When my kids were small enough to go in a stroller I ran with them. Since then techniques that have worked have been: training for a race with a specific plan that requires me to block out time on weekends; getting a small home exercise machine and finding fifteen minutes at a time four times a day; building exercise into commuting and meeting up after work to pick up the person on a bike at dinner time. Getting exercise is time consuming and logistically challenging, the biggest thing is to have a plan. Like laundry, it doesn't get done on its own.
posted by bq at 5:30 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


i have had great success with an app called "we're working out- al kavadlo."

al and his brother are, i gather, a really big deal in the bodyweight/street workout/calisthenics world.

the app guides you through short strength routines that don't require any equipment. there are helpful, looped animations of a cartoon al performing the move. i'm still doing beginner circuits, so maybe they eventually get longer, but for now, each circuit takes about 5 minutes.
when you finish, al's voice says, "Come on ! you've got one more in ya!" i do a minimum of 2.

it only takes 15 minutes but after just a couple months of doing it, i was noticeably stronger and more toned.
posted by iahtl at 5:41 PM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


^ Al Kavadlo is also a lot of fun.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:45 PM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


Something is better than nothing. On days when I don't get a proper exercise session in - which can be gym, run, 20+ minutes of calisthenics at home, etc. - I try to do something like the NY Times 7 minute workout or 10 minutes of push-ups. Not ideal, but makes me feel like less of a failure.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:31 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have a 1 year old and work full-time. One thing I've found that at least works better than anything else has is to sign up for BeachBody on Demand (I know, sounds cheesy, but bear with me!) and start doing 21 day fix videos at home. You only need some dumbbells and an exercise mat and the videos are only half an hour. That really removes a ton of the barriers to actually exercising for me (especially currently when my entire living room is one giant exercise mat due to the foam tiles we have there for the baby). It's easy enough to start up a video once the baby is asleep, and you'll still have a bit of time after that for leisure. Though the 21 day fix says to do them every day, I would just commit to three particular days to start and see how you feel.
posted by peacheater at 5:55 AM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Can you run/walk/cycle your commute?

I take a walk during breaks at work (just 20 mins or so) and some work days I have an early dinner (so I'm not exercising with a full stomach) and then run last thing before bed (I'm in bed about 9pm).
posted by intensitymultiply at 9:19 PM on August 17, 2018


I took the time out of my hobbies. I don’t need to read. I do need to go to the gym. I even see plenty of folks reading on the exercise bike so maybe you can do both at once! I moved my podcast listening recreation to something I will only do while working out, for example.
posted by phoenixy at 9:35 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


And yes, more bike rides and walks with the 5 year old. He's ALWAYS up for outside activity.

I have a super active five-year-old and he can outpace me every step of the way on a 15-minute run. I have more stamina than he does, but if you can run or jog, then 15 minutes three times a week would do both of you wonders.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 8:23 AM on August 18, 2018



Bring a bike on the car, and park a relaxed 20 minute ride away from the office. Depending on where the traffic is worst on your commute, this might even be faster than driving many days.
posted by rockindata at 8:58 AM on August 16 ]


I started doing this to avoid parking fees, but yeah, a great way to avoid the stress of automobiles and enjoy the stresses you want to endure. The time it takes to park is replaced with transit instead
posted by eustatic at 8:25 AM on August 18, 2018


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