Q: I really want to get in shape, but I work all day and attend multimedia classes until 8:30. How do I find the time to exercise, and what are a few good exercises for beginners like me?

A: Finding time to exercise is certainly a challenge. Even the most motivated among us suffer setbacks during our business's busy season or when a new project is on the horizon. The key to fitting fitness into your busy day is to recognize that finding time isn't the issue--it's making time.

You may be surprised to hear that you can enjoy the benefits of a regular exercise program in as little as three hours per week. The following routine shows you how:

Monday: Half-hour of jogging, biking (on hills) or other intense aerobic exercise you enjoy

Tuesday: Half-hour of strength training (squats, sit-ups and push-ups for beginners; weight training with machines or dumbbells for the more experienced)

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Repeat Monday

Friday: Repeat Tuesday

Saturday: One hour of exercise--any type of exercise. Go rollerblading with a friend, take the family to the hills for a hike or swim laps at the pool.

Sunday: Rest day

Make your workouts more time-efficient by exercising harder. For example, you can walk two miles in a half-hour, or you can run four miles in a half-hour. You can spend an hour in step aerobics class, or you can spend 20 minutes rowing at the highest resistance level on the rowing machine. When you perform strength-training exercises, use a challenging resistance and move quickly through your exercises to get an aerobic benefit.

If you want to commit to getting fit, exercise must become a part of your life--a habit as regular as brushing your teeth. Try these ideas to help you stay on track:

  • Make a log of everything you do for a week, and identify the time slots where you can fit in exercise. Did you spend a Saturday afternoon watching the Back to the Future trilogy for the fifth time? Could you manage to get up a half-hour earlier on the weekdays? Just skip an hour of television time and go to bed earlier.
  • Make exercise convenient. Find a place to work out that's close to your home or office. If you're disciplined and have the space, work out at home.
  • Develop relationships with supportive people. Join an exercise class or go to the gym with friends. If you skip a class, your friends will hold you accountable.
  • Exercise at the right time. The "right time" is when you're most likely to do it. If you know your day often ends late or meetings come up suddenly, it's best to schedule your workout for first thing in the morning when nothing can interfere. If you're a night owl, fit your workout in before dinner. If you can only manage a 10-minute walk on your lunch hour--do it. Some exercise is better than none.

Benefits Of Exercise Need more motivation to get fit? Consider the following benefits of exercise:

  • Exercise increases your stamina and strength.
  • Exercise improves your heart and lung efficiency.
  • Exercise gives your body greater resistance to disease, stress, anxiety and fatigue.
  • Exercise gives you more energy and enhances your capacity for work and leisure activities.
  • Exercise releases hormones that stimulate the brain, helping to clear your mind, see things from a new perspective, and come up with fresh ideas.

So make an appointment with yourself to get some exercise. Your body--and your business--will thank you for it.


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Shannon Entin is the publisher and editor of FitnessLink (www.fitnesslink.com) and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Health and Fitness (Macmillan). An ACE-certified (American Council on Exercise) fitness instructor, Shannon thrives on inspiring people to live healthier lifestyles.


The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of Entrepreneur.com. All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.