Where does one find the time to do it all? Between home demands, work demands, parenting demands, even self-demands, is it possible? Probably not. But let’s focus on the basic, and perhaps the most all around beneficial self-demand, exercise. Yep. This may not be the solution to that boss you may not like, the project crying for your 60 hours a week, the kids you want to see before they go to bed, or the sleep you most likely will enjoy. But you know, there are some huge benefits to exercise. I will not cite them here, but we all know them; overall health, improved cognition, reduced stress, and overall efficiency. That’s what I’ve heard anyway. Like I said, I don’t have the answers, but I know what has worked for me, and that’s fitting it in when and where possible. I’m not talking about fanatical and religious workout regimes, I suggesting the application of realistic times when working out is achievable and acceptable for most sources pulling at your every five minutes.
The first way to incorporate more exercise into your daily life is through your commute. You have probably all heard this and think it is difficult to achieve, but it works. Personally, I like cycling; that is my mode of transport for work.
Start by planning the day before by leaving a change of clothes in the office with some shampoo, towel and deodorant to make for a clean start. By leaving clothes and toiletries in the office, you will have less stuff to carry on your commute. I’m lucky to have my choice of two showers and a locker at work, so if your office offers the same, then give it a try!
Think you live too far from work; in good weather, I ride 28km to work and home. Now I don’t do this every day, but once or twice a week, or when I’m able to fit this in. The ride replaces my commuting time nearly one-for-one. If you live in Basel and work in Zürich, you can still do this by riding in from another station; either leave a bike at that station or bring it on the train with you and jump off closer to your destination.
My second suggestion is to workout at lunch. Most people in your office probably have sport interests as well. Running, football, tennis/badminton, floor hockey, rock climbing, you get the idea. If you have that shower at the office, then you could go running, even twenty to thirty minutes with a stop back at the Coop on your way in is a great way to use that full lunch hour working out, grabbing a bite to eat, and refreshing yourself before that one o’clock meeting you aren’t juiced to attend.
How about trying a new group sport? When we first moved to Switzerland, a colleague of mine asked if I was interested in joining for a game of unihockey (floor hockey). I had never heard of the sport, and thought I would give it a try. Best networking move I ever made; what I learned was a lot about the people I work with and if you have to compete with each other every week, you learn how to work with them as well. Highly suggested!
By now you are fit and sharp when you get to work, and socially connected. By this point exercise might becoming addictive, and asking for a piece of your time at home. Yikes! Well, it is not that much to swap gym time for a run or bike ride with your spouse. On the weekends, when the weather is calling for you, get out there; just make sure you balance it out with equal time for both parents. You will find yourself in a better mood and more resilient to the demands of daily life as a parent.