I don’t know about you, but I remember little enjoyment using a seesaw in my younger days. I was either too heavy for the much lighter girl on the other end or too light for the kid twice my size. In fact, as terrible as it sounds, I remember the heavier kids would tease the lighter ones by keeping them up in the air for long periods of time! So sad…

Even when you found someone of the same weight, I didn’t get the enjoyable part of it. The swings were tons of fun. Making a sand castle was rewarding. But the seesaw… It just didn’t do it for me.

In reminiscing on the seesaw, many years later, I find that I am still having trouble balancing this thing! Instead of an actual seesaw, the failure in balance comes between perfectly balancing work and life responsibilities. One day, things are going great at work, but life deals you a hand that’s hard to play. The next day, it’s just the opposite, which makes it all seem like balance is impossible! Why can’t things be chill both at work and in life?

The truth is, that it can. Recent research noted in the Harvard Business Review suggests that those who exercised regularly reported more balance between their work and life roles. See, the problem in difficulty balancing work and life is not with the loads at each end of the seesaw, but with the fulcrum. And that fulcrum is exercise.

Research has proven time and time again that regular exercise can help to reduce stress, which translates to a better work life and a better life-life!

So then, the next question is “how do I exercise, when I don’t even have enough time to take care of my work and life responsibilities?”

Answer — high-intensity interval training (HIIT). 

If you are not familiar with HIIT, this type of exercise is based on exercising as hard as you possible can for a given amount of time, followed by a period of lighter activity or rest. Research has shown that HIIT can boost fat burn, improve your endurance, quicken your sprint speed and positively affect your food choices (amongst other benefits). In addition, HIIT can be done in such little time because you are exercising hard. When I say little, I mean even as little as 4 minutes! However, 10-20 minute workouts are optimal. 

Interested in HIIT? Let’s keep these recommendations as simple as possible.

Of course, there are many HIIT exercises to choose from on Exercise Menu, but here is all you have to do:

  1. Perform a HIIT workout 2-3 times per week.
  2. Your HIIT workout should involve an aerobic activity. I use sprinting, jumping rope, biking and boxing.
  3. Warm up for 2 minutes.
  4. Perform your activity for as fast as you can for 20 seconds, and then rest for 40 seconds. (Totaling a 1-minute set).
  5. Repeat 10-20 times.
  6. Done.

That really is it! The most important key (or this won’t work) is too give 110% effort during the 20 seconds of activity. You will feel tired. Your legs will burn. But this is what makes HIIT work.

So balance your work-life seesaw by never compromising your commitment to maintaining your exercise fulcrum. If the fulcrum fails, there goes the balanced seesaw…