Lauryn Hock throwing a ball in the air on a tennis court overlooking the city

We’ve all had times in our lives when we’ve been too busy to even think about exercise. For some of us, that has been the last 5 years or so. For others, it’s no problem finding the time to hit the gym, even with a hectic schedule. Regardless, we’ve all been there and it’s not like we don’t know that we need to be active, it just gets difficult to prioritize. In this post, I want to give you some tips on how to make heart health a priority through exercising with a busy schedule.

Lauryn Hock running up concrete stairs in a park surrounded by ferns

Important Things to Remember about Being Active

If summoning the desire to exercise is something you’ve already mastered, you have my permission to skip ahead. For me, working out is a chore, and requires conscious effort. Here are some things that I like to think about that keep me motivated when I’m convinced that taking a nap is better for my heart than cardio.

Some is Better than None

First of all, any little thing that you do is better than doing nothing. Making tiny choices every day that are “more active” of two options available makes a big difference. For me, it’s about taking the stairs instead of the elevator when I go to the mailroom at my apartment! At first it took some dedication because using the elevator after a long day was the option that made more sense. Now, I use the stairs every time, even if Spencer has to convince me. One positive choice often leads to another. It’s funny how choosing a salad with the small dressing at lunch can turn into the motivation to go to spin class later.

It Gets Easier (with Time)

Believe it or not, using positive mental affirmation is a powerful tool. Knowing that you’ve already done something hard somehow makes it easier for the next thing. Doing things in a routine is so, so important. If I know that every Tuesday I plan to go on a hike, then it is easier to look forward to. As time passes, I start to look forward to those activities because I get stronger, and the activities get easier for me. It’s important for me to schedule my workouts, especially with a partner, so that I am held accountable for their time and mine. It means I don’t have any excuses!

Starting Small Doesn’t Mean That You’re Weak

You can’t run a mile if you can’t run 20ft. Therefore, running 20ft is a crucial step to being able to run a mile. Whatever your starting point is, everyone has to have one. Being too ashamed of your workout starting point to even begin won’t help! The fact is, if I ever see a person who looks like they are just starting their fitness journey sweating up a storm, I never think that they look pathetic or weak, but I always think: “good for them”.

Nobody Cares about What You Are Doing

Now, if you feel that you’re too busy to workout, isn’t that testament to the fact that other people are too busy to notice what you look like when you workout? People have their own lives and often have much more to think about than how much you’re doing during your workout. Think about all the random strangers’ faces that you can actually remember that were on a run or doing yoga in the park… I’ll bet that list is pretty small.

You have to look out for number one. No one is ever going to do more for your health than you are. You have to be the one who takes responsibility for your own fitness and heart health, and nobody can make the choice to be healthy for you. With that said, having a supportive partner, group or system is really helpful. Try to surround yourself with people who want similar things for themselves that you do!

As women, we are in an especially difficult position. We have so much ground to cover to get on equal footing with men. As our social media-heavy society pushes us more to look and act a certain way, we need to remember that supporting each other is so much more important than competing with other women. We already have it rough without having to compete with every other woman out there. It’s important not to judge other women who are just getting started, or just doing their best to be active. Let’s work together!

4 Ways to Strengthen Your Heart When You Don’t Feel Like It

Woman wearing a pink jacket and workout clothing leaning on a tennis net holding a ball

1. Make the Decision to Embrace an Active Lifestyle

Decide: What changes do you want to see in yourself? This is easy for most of us, “I want to look better in my clothes”, “I want to lose weight”, “I want to feel young again.”. Take some time to think about what making active lifestyle choices now will mean for you later on. Once you know what your goal is, you’ll know that making the hard (but healthy) choices are worth it. Sometimes I scare myself thinking about how bad I will probably hurt when I’m old. This is enough to motivate me to take care of my health!

2. Wear the Right Clothes for the Workout

Looking good while you work out shouldn’t be your first priority– it should be about finding the right exercise for heart health and being active. Above, I referenced the competitive desire that many people feel to look good while working out. If this desire to look good consumes you and gives you anxiety then, by all means, avoid it. However, for me, wearing activewear that makes me feel cute gives me the confidence I need to do my best in my workouts.

That’s why I am partnering with Gordmans during the Month of April to promote heart health. They offer the kind of activewear that makes me feel powerful and confident. They also supply at-home workout equipment that I can incorporate easily into my busy lifestyle. Throughout the month of April, Gordmans will be raising money for American Heart Association (AHA). Want to get involved? Gordmans will be hosting in-store activations and events. If you can’t make it to a store, you can join in online! For every photo shared from April 1-April 30 as a post on either Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #GetPumpedForHeartHealth, Gordmans will donate $1 to support American Heart Association (up to $10,000)! You can find out more information about the Get Pumped For Heart Health campaign at Gordmans.com/getpumped.

Lauryncakes wearing her hair in boxing braids stretching on a tennis court

3. Do What You Like

I don’t normally include exercise and fun in the same sentence, but I’ve learned that being routinely active is easier if you are having fun. That’s why I always being active in the ways that you can! I like to go on hikes, go to spin class, or go to a group class with friends!

4. Enjoy What You Do, Even If You’re Bad At It

Tennis is a fun thing that Spencer and I have done for a couple of years. Full disclosure: we are awful and just like to go out and have fun. Running around and chasing loose balls on the tennis court is a great way to be active, have fun, and bond with your partner.  Playing tennis with Spence has taught me that you don’t necessarily have to be good at what you’re doing, you just have to be active and enjoy it.

Choose the Best Cardio for Heart Health

Lauryn Hock holding a yoga mat while looking at Downtown Salt Lake City from a park view

Those who watch my Instagram Stories will know that I frequently go to spin class. Spin class is where I get my intense cardio, and exercise for heart health. I enjoy going to spin because I have felt a marked improvement in my heart and lungs from going regularly. When I first started, I would get out of breath very easily and have to slow down. As I have continued going, it has gotten easier over time, and I can push myself to the limit when I go. The other nice thing about spin is that it is in a dark room with loud music, so nobody can see me sweating or breathing hard! Find something for you that allows you to push yourself and feel confident in the improvements that you make!

Lauryn is a paid blogger. You can find Lauryn‘s original blog post at Lauryn Cakes!