Time is a precious commodity and with the fast-paced, urgent world we live in, most people push their needs — including exercise — to the bottom of their to-do lists. You may not have thought of it this way, but exercise saves you time and will most likely add longer and stronger years to your life. Read on for 10 tips to make time for exercise and 6 ways to express your workouts. Taking a little time for exercise will surprisingly help you manage other areas of your life. Some of the positive effects include lifting your mood, boosting your self-esteem and reducing your stress. Exercising gives you a healthier focus.

Those who exercise are sick less often, report being happier and even make more money than those who do not.

Exercisers make healthier food choices and sleep better. If you can manage to make exercise a priority, you will be pleased with how much better you become at managing life tasks.

10 Tips to Make Time for Exercise:

Make an appointment –

Schedule activity in your planner 1 month in advance and keep that commitment the same way you would any other meeting. When you go to schedule other activities, do so around your workout session. If it’s necessary to cancel a workout session, reschedule it immediately for another time during the day or for the very next day.

Plan Ahead –

Cook on Sunday night for the week. This way, you can head to the gym after work and still come home to a healthy cooked meal. This will help you stay on track for your meal plan as well as your exercise schedule. For best results, both your meals and activities need to be planned for and should not be left to chance.

Workout at Lunch –

A workout break will refresh you for the second half of the day and is known to boost brainpower. You will be more productive after recharging your body with exercise than working through your lunch and eating at your desk. Live with no regrets!

Get Support –

Let your significant other know your exercise schedule ahead of time, so there are no conflicts or guilt when it comes time for working out. Inform your employer of your goals and ask for some flexibility in your schedule. For example, come in later and work later, so that you can get in your morning run.

Stick to Your Schedule –

Set your watch or smartphone to go off when it’s time to exercise. Then stop what you are doing and take 30+ minutes to exercise. You will be more productive finishing up tasks after you worked out versus trying to work through a situation knowing you did not keep your commitment to yourself.

Make an Investment –

Consider signing on with a personal trainer, joining a gym or purchasing home gym equipment. Making an investment is likely to help you make a time commitment. Knowing that you have a trainer waiting for you will increase your chances of showing up. Signing up for an online personal trainer and comprehensive fitness program can do the same.

Always be Dressed to Move –

You never know when the opportunity will arise to go for a walk or hit the gym. Keep your sneakers in your car at all times, lay out your workout clothes or pack your gym bag the night before. Eliminate excuses and always be prepared for opportunities to exercise.

Engage in Intermittent Sessions –

Take several 10-15 minute walking breaks throughout the day. By days end, you could have completed 60 minutes of cardiovascular activity, and the health benefits are the same as continuous exercise.

Eliminate Time Wasters –

Take a look at your 24-hour schedule and see where you can eliminate some time wasters. Can you multi-task, be more efficient or watch less TV? You only need to dedicate 2 percent of your week to exercise. You are worth it!

Set Yourself up for Success –

Get up 30 minutes earlier — then you don’t have to make excuses for the rest of the day. Morning exercises have the highest compliance rates, as do those who exercise with a partner. Reaching your goals does not have to mean hours in the gym. You can express your workout routine and still maximize your results. Below are ways you can get the most out of the time you do dedicate to fitness.

Combine Your Upper and Lower Body Exercises –
Cut your strength routine in half by incorporating exercises for several body parts. For example, while performing a lunge, add a set of bicep curls to the movement.

Choose Compound Exercises –
Exercises that work several muscle groups simultaneously are more time-efficient than isolation exercises, which focus on one major muscle group. Examples of compound exercises include the leg press, squat, chest fly, walking lunge and seated row.

Circuit Train –
With minimal equipment, you can set up stations alternating cardio activities with strength training activities. This will keep your heart rate up so that you can get both the aerobic and anaerobic (strength) benefits. A sample circuit might include: jump rope, bicep curls, jumping jacks, push-ups, jogging in place, squats, mini-trampoline exercises and dips. Repeating the circuit up to three times is guaranteed to boost your metabolism in under 30 minutes.

Interval Train –
Using active rest and work ratios will allow you to workout at the upper and lower levels of your heart rate zone and optimize calories expended. You can start with brisk walking for 2 minutes and jogging for 30 seconds. Then progress to 2 minutes of brisk walking and 1 minute of jogging. Eventually, progress to two minutes of each and ultimately spending less time walking and more time jogging. If you are already a runner, alternate your running with sprints where you accelerate with a burst of energy and then taper back to a run.

Increase Your Intensity –
By picking up the pace, you can cover more miles and ultimately burn more calories in less time. You may need to work up to higher intensities gradually, but you will become more efficient in the process and be able to cut back on the duration of your exercise sessions. Ditto for your strength training workout. If you keep each set intense, you can get the most benefit and eliminate the need for several warm-up sets.

Incorporate Mind & Body Exercises –
You can get a lot of mileage out of choosing a discipline like yoga or pilates. Not only will you get the physical benefits of a well-toned body, but you will also enjoy the flexibility, relaxation and stress-relieving enhancements as well.

Make Fitness a Lifestyle Change –
By eliminating some of life’s modern conveniences and getting more physical, you can expend up to an additional 800 calories a week. That can add up to 11 pounds lost at the end of a year. So, start taking the stairs — even if you work on the 10th floor! It will get easier. Park your car in the last spot and join the kids on the playground. You never know when the opportunity will arise to get your heart rate up.

Sex Counts –
While I wouldn’t suggest replacing a formal exercise program with sex, it certainly does burn calories. The more fit you are, the more enjoyable all activities, including sex, will be. Keep in mind that there will be snags in the best thought out plan. So, prepare for changes and be flexible. Use obstacles as an opportunity to try something new. In the long run, the time you invest in exercise will come back to you. Remember, no one goes to the grave saying that they should have worked more. You often hear people say, If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself. So, make your health and fitness a priority by making time to exercise.