As solopreneurs, our days can be packed. If we aren’t focusing on client/customer work, we’re focusing on lead generation, responding to emails, fine-tuning processes…the list goes on. Everything work-related seems to become a top priority, which makes it easy to deprioritize other things in your life, like exercise.
However, it is important that you don’t do that.
Full disclaimer, I am a hypocrite for writing this post. It is admittedly self-serving because I wanted to do research on the topic to see how I can be better at it, and make it stick.
While I am not an expert in this field, I yearn to be a devoted student, and hope that this time next year, I can be the pro to turn to in this category (‘tis the season for resolutions, am I right?). So, do I follow everything in this post? No. Do I want to? Absolutely, yes. And I think you should strive to do the same.
So, without further ado, here are nine of my favorite recommendations to sneak exercise into your day when you don’t feel like you have the time to do so.
Please let us know what you would add to this list!
Let’s First Discuss Why This Is Important
Actually, before we begin, let’s take a step back.
I don’t need to tell you why exercise is important. I think we all understand that. My main motivation for writing this is to remind you how important it is. Studies are now equating a sedentary lifestyle (ie, sitting in front of your desk all day) to smoking. Yikes.
In fact, according to Mayo Clinic (as well as a variety of other sources), sitting in front of your desk all day can lead to:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Increased stress (we have enough of that as solopreneurs, thank you very much!)
And can even increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Kinda scary, huh?
OK, for real now, let’s dive into the nine ways you can sneak exercise into your day.
9 Ways Solopreneurs Can Sneak Exercise Into A Busy Work Day
1. Go For Productive Walks
Need to listen to a podcast? Pay attention to a listen-only call?
Don’t do it sitting at your desk. Put those earbuds in and get out the door!
Too chilly to walk outside? Do squats around your house. Get in those 100 crunches. Whatever works for you.
The bottom line is to get moving while doing these tasks.
A lot of times, people will multi-task with other tasks with these types of to-dos, which is a horrible idea. You end up splitting your focus, meaning you don’t fully pay attention to either. But if you exercise, you can still pay full attention to the call or podcast, while also burning some calories.
Additionally, walking does wonders for overcoming writer's block or getting out of a work funk, so if you need to get those creative juices flowing, get moving.
2. Make It A Family Affair
I know when I’m not working, I prefer to spend time with my family, and I always feel guilty leaving for the gym knowing that I could be playing with my kids. So, I combined the two.
- Playing tag
- Playing Twister (funny how that didn’t make me sore as a kid but gets me good now!)
- Hula-hooping or jumping rope
Get creative and have fun with it. It’s a great way to feed two birds with one hand.
3. Make Your Social Activities with Friends Active
Again, free time can be scarce for a solopreneur, so instead of finding time to work out as well as time to meet up with friends, combine the two. Some ideas include:
- Going for a hike
- Walking your dogs
- Attending a Yoga and Brews event (is this just a Colorado thing?)
This is something I’ve started getting my friends to do and honestly, we don’t really know why we didn’t approach social time like this in the first place. I highly recommend it.
4. Park In The Furthest Parking Spot
This is a win-win. If you need to go meet a vendor or a client, or just need to grab groceries in the middle of the day, park in the spot furthest away from the door in the parking lot. This will not only give you more exercise, but it will also be easier to find a spot because they’re the ones nobody else wants.
5. Take Advantage of Camera-Off Calls
Or camera-on, whatever floats your boat. I know, for me, if I have my camera off, I use that as a time to do squats, arm circles, etc. I never do anything too crazy, because you don’t want to take away from the call, but just enough to feel like I’m getting some movement in, in an otherwise sedentary situation.
6. Use The Pomodoro Technique To Include Workouts
In a nutshell, the Pomodoro Technique has you work in sprints and then take a brief break before you start the next sprint. For me, I like to work for 50 minutes with a 10-minute break. Five of those minutes are spent getting water, using the restroom, etc., while the other five are spent doing jumping jacks or some sort of quick workout. Five minutes may not seem like a lot, but if you do that every hour during a standard workday, that’s 40 minutes! Not too bad!
7. Make Your Office Conducive to Workouts
I am horrible at this, and it’s something I truly need to work on. See what you can do to make your office a mini-gym as well. Use a standing desk. Sit on an exercise ball. Put a treadmill in there that you can rest your computer on. Figure out what would suit you and see how you can incorporate it into your workspace.
8. Pretend Exercise Is A Client
I literally made this one up as I was writing this post, so I hope you find it as catchy as I do (if not, maybe I’ll just remove it at a later date :)).
If I have a meeting on the calendar with a client, I go to it. If I have a hard deadline, I meet it. So, why not treat workouts like a client? Tell yourself you have a hard deadline of getting 25 push-ups in by 5:00 o’clock. Block thirty minutes off on your calendar for working out and show up for that “meeting.” If any of you have ever done this, I’d love to hear what kind of results you had.
9. Identify Your Time-Wasters
And replace them with exercise. I really struggled with how to fit exercise into my day, until I realized how much time I spent on social media. Inset palm-to-face emoji here…
I put a time-tracking app on my phone that documents how much time I spend on each app. After the first week, it was clear what needed to change. So, I now have an app that cuts me off after a certain amount of time on social media apps. I allow myself 10 minutes per day to look at social media and now use the remaining time that I used to waste to get some exercise in.
It really shouldn’t take that much effort, right? Let’s all put in an honest effort with the recommendations above and see how it not only impacts our health but our businesses as well.
Structuring your day as a solopreneur can be tough. To help organize your to-dos so that you can fit in fitness, among other things, be sure to check out The Solopreneur Success Cycle!
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