Three ways to fit exercise into your daily routine

The Year of You campaign is Stylist's year-long programme to improve your work/life balance. Each month, we'll focus on one area that's crucial to wellbeing.

Mission 3: try fitness fusion

Think about your to-do list – commute, inbox, life admin, actually seeing your friends. It’s no wonder exercise often falls by the wayside. Last year, 222,000 of us stopped doing sport at least once a week*; a worrying statistic when you consider the benefits – improved health, lower stress levels, better work/life balance – the list goes on. But there is a solution: fitness fusion. Joe Wicks, bestselling author and nutrition coach explains, “Finding what you love and making it part of your life is the only way to get results and make a sustainable lifestyle change without it feeling like a chore.” Here are three simple steps to finding the exercise that will work just for you:

Five minutes: measure your heart rate

Are you breathless when walking? Sleeping badly? Do your muscles ache after minimal activity? You might not be at peak fitness. Professor Greg Whyte OBE, from the Centre for Health and Human Performance, says, “Measuring your resting heart rate is a simple and accurate way to monitor your fitness.” When you wake up tomorrow, take a few deep breaths before pressing your index and middle fingers onto your wrist until you feel a pulse and count the beats for one minute. According to the NHS, a normal resting heart rate ranges from 60-100 bpm – the fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate.

10 minutes: personalise your exercise regime

A 30-minute workout takes up just 2% of your day but even that can seem daunting. Wicks says, “You’ll be more committed if you determine what your personal fitness goals are.” Write a list of questions asking what your priorities are – is time flexibility key? Do you want to exercise outdoors? How much money are you willing to spend? Kate Faithfull-Williams, author of The Feelgood Plan advises, “If you’re short on time, try high-intensity interval training (HIIT), halving the time you’d spend on a long run by doing sprint intervals for 10 minutes.” 

30 minutes: find your fitness guru

According to British Military Fitness, 37% of us who signed up for a gym membership in the new year will quit by the end of January. “There are simple ways to integrate fitness into daily life,” explains personal trainer Ashton Turner. Try an app such as Zombies, Run!, which features 200 missions challenging you to walk or run away from imaginary zombies, or take 30 minutes to find a ‘portable’ personal trainer with the Fitness Builder app. “It’s important to find the right trainer for you – someone who is willing to build a programme designed around you,” says Turner.