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Daily exercise can seem impossible to fit in a busy schedule; yet it usually pays back its own time cost by making you more efficient at work. Here's how you can stay fit and healthy while also climbing your career ladder.

Striking a balance between career performance and wellbeing can be an elusive goal; and is proving even harder to achieve amid the global pandemic. Amid the anxiety of lockdowns, however, exercise can act as a natural antidepressant: research studies have shown daily movement for as little as 30 minutes will put you in a better mood than staying still. Taking a regular and varied approach to exercising, including a combination of outdoors, in the comfort of your own home and a gym environment, can be hugely beneficial.

Here are some tips for an achievable daily exercise routine that can fit into a busy schedule.

Schedule exercise into your diary

When you’re stressed and busy it can seem impossible to find time for exercise. But all too often, that reaction comes from a place of stress rather than control. Gain control in advance by blocking out 45-minute, non-negotiable timeslots in your calendar. Let others know you are not available at these times and why. Where possible, it can be good to schedule the exercise time early in the morning to establish a positive mindset for the rest of the day.

Make exercise enjoyable and give yourself permission

So, it’s in the diary – now what? Your motivation is more likely to stick around if you find a type of exercise you enjoy. Try out a variety of local or online fitness classes. Consider investing in some weights and fitness equipment to use at home. Head to your local park and make your exercise social (within applicable COVID-19 restrictions).

Remember to listen to your body and mind. Some days you may not feel your best and a session of stretching could be better than focusing on intense cardio or weights. Or you might just want to power walk around the block to clear your mind; something is most often better than nothing.

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Engage a personal trainer

There’s a lot of information out there: online, on social media and apps. Most of it isn’t tailored to you. A personal trainer will take the time to understand your objectives and create a training plan to fit. Personal trainers also keep you accountable if you need more motivation – they’ll be the one to nag you out of bed if you don’t show up for a session. Be warned!

Embrace technology

Trackers such as a Garmin, Apple Watch or FITBIT help you track your progress. They can be a fun way to keep you motivated by monitoring your movement, sleep (or lack of it) and other health indicators. You can also connect with friends on social fitness apps like Strava to encourage and inspire each other.

Curtis Mackinnon is a fitness trainer at Acero gym in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. He played competitive tennis and cricket for many years before starting to train clients in 2021. He is passionate about keeping people fit and healthy through lockdowns and the global pandemic.