But maintaining a consistent fitness routine on top of being a productive parent, spouse, friend or worker isn’t always easy. Most people’s average day consists of working from various to-do lists, dealing with job related stress and managing family issues.

By now, I think it’s safe to assume that we all know that exercising, sleeping and healthy eating should be at the top of our priority lists. When we exercise regularly, we’re more positive, energetic, productive and creative. That all translates into making us more effective in almost all areas of our lives.

But maintaining a consistent fitness routine on top of being productive parents, spouses, friends or workers isn’t always easy. Most people’s average day consists of working from various to-do lists, dealing with job related stress and managing family issues.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing there’s no time to have a life beyond work, much less one that carves out time for regular exercise. But personal health doesn’t have to become a daunting task that commands large chunks of our day.

Most people, when it comes to their work,  are pretty adept at using their time and energy in very efficient ways. And we can apply the same mindset to fitness if we follow these five core principles. 

 Schedule your workout.

We schedule doctor appointments, date nights with our significant others and important business meetings. So why not schedule workout time? After all, without personal health, we can’t achieve our best possible versions of ourselves.

Outline a weekly schedule and include an exercise block, preferably at the same time each day. Seeing this item regularly on your calendar will decrease the odds that you’ll skip out on a commitment you’ve made to yourself.

 Sleep smarter.

Sleep is our foundation to maintain fitness routines and function at our peak performance level. Like workouts, sleep must be scheduled. 

Studies have shown that healthy sleep habits can help  keep our waistlines under control. Sleep also plays a positive role in increasing productivity, energy levels and decision-making abilities.

Start a culture of health and fitness at work.

The biggest predictor of success often lies in the quality of our environment.

If you spend most of your time in an office, why not make fitness a part of the conversation? Build a health-minded community within your workplace. Unlike friends, whose lifestyles and schedules might be markedly different than yours, colleagues and peers understand the daily demands and intricacies of your work life. These coworkers can provide a solid network of support.  

You might start with an office-wide fitness challenge or a display board to tally the progress toward weekly walking or running goals.  Having local fitness and nutrition experts in for Lunch and Learns to discuss health and wellness, can also be very beneficial.

Make Super-Charged Quick Workouts Your Friend

When you’re short on time or traveling frequently, you must maximize every moment. During workouts, focus on quality instead of quantity and prioritize intensity over duration. Choose full body workouts, circuit-training intervals and other high-intensity methods to optimize your workouts. These tactics reduce the time we need in the gym. If you can get in 25-30 mins of HIIT a day, you’ll notice the benefits almost immediately.

Stand, Don’t Sit

One of the best ways to improve our posture and overall health is to opt for standing instead of sitting. When possible, stand at your desk so that you are not sitting all day. Oftentimes when we sit, our bodies are hunched over a computer. But when we stand, we typically take the hunch out of our backs. Standing upright also forces us to engage more muscle groups in our bodies then sitting does. 

Our busy lives often make it tempting to come up with excuses for diverting our time elsewhere. But achieving healthy fitness levels doesn’t require marathon exercise sessions. At a minimum, 30 minutes can be plenty, and that’s only around 2 percent of our day. Small, intelligent actions can help us take control of our health and maximize our effectiveness in all areas of our lives.