Making Time

We’re in a new world. Our daily routines are forced into new patterns, and that means some of our best habits might be at risk of falling by the wayside. One of those is daily exercise. Thankfully, we can still go outside if we are solo or way far away from others; but we’ll have to keep it interesting to stay at it. That made us think of an article, “Making Time,” which Beth Cooney Fitzpatrick wrote for us. She was thinking of overindulging, staying out too late or being a bit lazy. These days, we still might be eating too much (at home), staying up way too late (at home) and being far more than a bit lazy (at home). Read on for a bit of oomph we need to hear from pros about pushing on or easing up. Here are your action plans for overcoming three fitness saboteurs.

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I ATE TOO MUCH

Action Plan: While you may want to opt out of a session, it doesn’t mean you should skip your workout entirely, says Bridget Philipp, senior director of healthy living at the New Canaan YMCA. “If you’ve done the damage already, I say it’s always better to do something, just some light cardio to get the blood flowing.” A walk, for example, is a great option.

Andrew Burlin, a trainer at Stamford’s Chelsea Piers Athletic Club, notes that while you may not be at your best for a pounding workout, an indulgent midday meal provides extra energy to burn off at the end of the day. He suggests cycling or weightlifting to burn off some of those extra calories.

About Timing: To avoid disrupting digestion, make sure you time your workout to at least two hours after the meal.


I STAYED UP TOO LATE

Action Plan: Start by hydrating and then “get on your workout clothes and step out the door,” says Philipp. “The endorphins from just starting to move may make you feel better.”

Listen to Your Body: “If you are five minutes in and you realize it’s the wrong idea, head back home, but you can’t throw in the towel on your routine because you missed one day,” says Philipp. So get back at it tomorrow.


I HAVE TOO MUCH WORK TO DO

Action Plan: As tempting as it is to forego your morning run or Barre class and head straight to your home office instead, it may actually help you stay on task if you commit to a workout, says Burlin. “A well-formulated workout will get you cognitively in the right place to make substantial progress on your work.” If you are seriously time-crunched, Burlin suggests a quick twenty- to thirty-minute interval training workout. Try lifting weights combined with plyometric or power movements (think squats, jumps or burpees). “You will come back fresher, more energized and less stressed.”

Take a Pass: Skip the sixty-minute exercise session. “You’ll just be looking at the clock the whole time, thinking about your project,” says Burlin.


A MATTER OF WHEN

In terms of exercise science, morning workouts seem to have the edge in the clinical research pool for their ability to rev up the metabolism. Ultimately, you’ll burn more calories throughout the day.

Still, fitness experts say the best time to work out is when you can consistently make the time to do it. “The majority of us struggle to be consistent,” says Philipp, “so I always encourage people to find the time when they are most likely to do it.”

“If you are pressed for time on a regular basis, I suggest morning,” says Burlin. “As you lie in bed pressing the snooze bar, think about how an extra thirty minutes of sleep will not make you feel any more rested.: But, Burlin adds, a thirty-minute session “will set your mind up to feel accomplished and make great choices throughout the day.”

Think twice about doing a high-intensity workout close to bedtime. “If you really rev yourself up too much, it can interfere with sleep,” says Philipp.

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