Doctors and researchers have long tried to figure out how people can best balance their work and family responsibilities while still finding time for sports and exercise.
But it’s a fact that exercise is crucial for your overall wellbeing. Studies have found that people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience conflict between their work and home roles.
Start small for big impact
When you get your work/family/exercise balance right, you feel the benefits in all aspects of your life. Disconnecting from your job after working hours leaves you feeling refreshed the next day and makes you more effective and productive at work.
Worrying about work when you’re off-duty or letting your job spill into what should be your downtime has the opposite effect.
You can start small, for example, by not checking work emails after a certain time in the evening.
This applies to exercise as well. Research published in 2022 by Australia’s Edith Cowan University (ECU) found a small amount of daily activity is actually more beneficial than longer periods of exercise spread out across the week. That’s good news for people who have crowded calendars – and for those who don’t want to put in a pile of work at the gym every day.
ECU Exercise and Sports Science Professor Ken Nosaka says the study suggests that manageable amounts of exercise done regularly have a positive effect on physical strength. “People think they have to do a lengthy session of resistance training in the gym, but just lowering a heavy dumbbell slowly 1-6 times a day is enough.”
Professor Nosaka adds that it’s more important to make exercise a daily activity, rather than trying to hit a weekly minutes goal. “If you’re just going to the gym once a week, it’s not as effective as doing a bit of exercise every day at home,” he says. The research suggests it’s best to accumulate a small amount of exercise a week than, for example, packing it all into that once-weekly session. “Every muscle contraction contributes, and it’s how regularly you perform them that count.”
Take time to make time
Time management is key to stress reduction, self-care and a healthy life balance. And – as the studies indicate – the secret to decluttering your diary lies, oddly enough, in adding exercise time to your daily routine.
It might sound counterintuitive to have to carve out time for yet another activity, but exercise helps alleviate stress and deal better with work and family issues. It’s an effective way to switch off your brain from work, and best of all, help you feel good about yourself.