"Help! I can't seem to workout consistently, and then I feel guilty on the weekends trying to make up for lost time." < Sound familiar?
During the work week (or if you work non-traditional hours - YOUR work week) there is this temptation to avoid working out because life is BUSY! The stress of stacking on one more task can feel impossible.
-Here's the thing: if you really DON'T have 35-40 minutes to yourself every day, something needs to change, and these things might actually more pressing than a workout routine anyway.
Since I know you're in a hurry here's the quick buzz (but keep reading for all the goods):
- Shorter but more regular workouts ward off a sedentary lifestyle
- Shorter but more regular workouts optimize your metabolism
- Shorter but more regular workouts reduce unnecessary stress, inflammation, and may prevent injury
- Shorter but more regular workouts give you less excuses to skip them!
How Much Time Do You Really Have (and how much do you need)?
More often than not though the 'I have no-time' feels more real than it is. The feeling of being strapped for time is the 1 thing I believe is often holding us back from creating a sustainable workout routine.
But it's wrapped in layers and layers of complicated feelings, making the solution appear like it must be equally complicated.
And here's the truth. A daily 35-45 minute workout (in addition to simply prioritizing more movement overall) can be the change you NEED to make your routine goals stick.
Here's why I think a 35-45 minute workout is a game-changer ...
Prioritizing more movement does not mean making workouts longer. Specifying 35-45 minutes for a workout does not remove other modes of movements - it just means that you become more active, in general, in your daily life. Such as walking to work or local stores, taking the stairs, getting up from your desk more often, and taking evening walks.
As human beings we are designed for prolonged, low impact movement. This type of movement, such as walking, is inherent to who we are as humans. More natural movement in our daily routine is optimal!
And this is why I say DO walk everyday or almost everyday, and then add your other workouts in on top of your walking routine. I find it helpful to detach walking from working out in your mind. I talk about that a little bit in this blog (Can You Walk Yourself Fit?).
2. Consistent, shorter workouts stabilize your appetite
Prolonged (read: too long) workouts can cause the body to produce too much cortisol. An appropriate amount of cortisol is necessary in response to stimulus. But when the stimulus is prolonged the body then has to deal with the excess of this stress hormone which can leave your body feeling tired, and compromises the immune system. This extended stress experience coupled with the workout depleting available fuel stores leaves the body feeling weak. When the glucose can no longer be found the body will eventually synthesize protein into fuel which depletes muscles rather than building them. Additionally when feeling weak people reach for food (especially sugar) to replenish themselves as it is the quickest way to refuel a body in need. While this may be a necessary strategy to stay fueled during and after a marathon, it doesn't bode well for daily nutrition.
However a consistent routine of manageable workouts can actually boost the metabolism and helps build and maintains a muscle mass that supports a need for more fuel. Meaning you don't have to drastically cut calories to maintain a healthy weight. Instead your body is more ready to utilize the fuel it's given. And since the body is doing such an amazing job using the fuel - be sure to provide it with high quality nutrition focused on colorful vegetables, fruits, minimally processed complex carbohydrates and high quality protein (in case you were wondering: I get all of my protein needs met from plants and occasionally fish.)
3. Workouts 45 or Less Keep You Under the Intensity Threshold
Exercise in the long-term is VERY good for health. And we also live in a very over-stressed society with a lot of chronic diseases that are related to inflammation and stress.
Time & intensity compound upon each other. This is why a prolonged AND intense workout may be too much for your system, and when done too often in successful will quickly lead to burnout. Which is why it is easy to guess that there are scientifically backed rationales endorsing shorter workouts as better for overall health.
So what about all those 90 minute workouts or 2-a-days you might be hearing about? Prolonged, intense exercise is typically reserved for athletes and in service of training for a specific goal and guess what - athletes also have off-seasons!
4. Shorter Workouts are Harder to Skip
And perhaps the most functional rationale for a shorter workout is that it's harder to make excuses for why you didn't do it! Workouts that clock under and hour are much easier to fit into a routine.
And the reality is that if you cannot fit in 35-45minutes every day to dedicate to your health, then it's time to take a full-throttle time inventory. Sneaky time leaks like scrolling on social media or paging through Netflix to find the next show to binge add up!
So don't think yourself out of it. Get moving!
One simple action step you can take right now is to take a class on Practice Everywhere that is 30-40 minutes. Just unroll your mat (my favorite is the Practice Mat - get 10% off with code JM10) and get going.
As always: The very best workout is the ONE YOU DO!
yoga. fitness. lifestyle.
Hi there! You found me. My name is Julia Marie Lopez. For 20 years I have studied meditation and mindful movement as my primary tools for healing. For the past 10 years I have worked as a wellness coach, yoga teacher, personal trainer, and I am the Founder of Practice Everywhere.
Since I offer you my experience and perspective, share my writing about life, love and wellness, and offer a bit of unsolicited advice, I think you should also know that I do include affiliate links and promotions in some of blogs. If you make an action (such as sign ups, memberships, or purchases) I might earn a commission. I promise to use this income to support my love of coffee, dogs, yoga, and my family (in no particular order).💜