How To Work Exercise Into A Busy Schedule


Lose the mindset that you are too busy to exercise.

Adopt the mindset that getting some exercise is better than none, though more is better.

Here are 20 ideas that may help you find at least 20 minutes for exercise during your busy day.

Keep It Short and Sweet

  1. Do a few minutes of stretching before getting out of bed, or just after rising. There are free instruction videos on YouTube that demonstrate easy in or out of bed gentle morning stretches.
  2. Aerobic exercise sessions do not have to be long. About 20 to 30 minutes of pedaling, walking, running, or tennis - at least three times a week - is beneficial. Many aerobic dance and exercise videos have short routine segments that can be done separately, or in combination.
  3. Strength training can be done in short sessions as well—10 to 15 minutes two or three time each week.
  4. When watching TV, exercise during the commercials. Dance around, do jumping jacks, stretch, run or walk in place. You will get up to 15 minutes of exercise during a one hour program, maybe more.
  5. High intensity interval training does not require much time. Ten to 20 seconds of going all out with an activity (e.g., biking, running, jump rope) is followed by 40 to 50 seconds of slow, recovery activity (e.g., slow pedaling, walking); repeat 10 to 15 times.

Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen.

Office Fitness

  1. If you travel frequently, choose an exercise that can be done most anywhere with little or no equipment such as bodyweight exercise, walking, running, or yoga.
  2. Use part of your lunch hour or an afternoon break to stretch, walk, climb the building’s stairs, or pump the hand weights you keep in your desk drawer.
  3. Take more steps by parking your car as far away from the office building as possible. If you ride a train or bus, get off one or two stops early and walk.
  4. If your job is sedentary, set a timer reminding you to stand and move every 20 or 30 minutes: swing your arms, walk in place, stretch, or do a few jumping jacks.
  5. Sit on a balance ball instead of a desk chair to exercise your core muscles, and rig up a standing desk for your laptop so you are not tied to a chair all day (a stack of books or folders on a table top works well enough).

Chores, Fun, and Friends

  1. Wear a pedometer and make a game of increasing how much you walk during a day.
  2. Learn to say “no” if your schedule is continually jammed with commitments.
  3. Give yourself more time in the morning for exercise by laying out tomorrow’s clothes, and preparing tomorrow’s lunch, the night before.
  4. Turn yard and household chores into exercise by working quickly and enjoying the physical movements. Dusting, vacuuming, raking, pushing a mower, weeding, and washing the car—it all counts. If doing lighter chores you can throw in stretches or dance steps as you work.
  5. Socializing while exercising is a fun and motivating combination. Team up with a friend or spouse so you can switch off exercising and watching the kids. Start a walking group. Join a softball team.

Inspiration for Perspiration

  1. Dedicate ten minutes of every day to a specific exercise just as you dedicate ten minutes to showering, styling your hair, having a cup of coffee, or catching sports updates on the news.
  2. Make an appointment with exercise by putting in on your schedule.
  3. Some of us are motivated by getting a return on our money. Pay for an exercise class, video, a gym or pool pass. Purchase a treadmill or stationary bike. You may find time to make good on your investment.
  4. When you exercise, mark it on a calendar. At the end of the month add up your exercise sessions. What you have done may motivate you to do more.
  5. Start with the end in mind—remind yourself how good it feels to have exercised.

Consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but it is the hero of healthy body.

Photo by ;Greg Westfall


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