I love the rush of endorphins, energy boost, feeling of accomplishment, and mental clarity that a good morning sweat session provides, so I make time for exercise almost every single day. And I firmly believe that you have time for what you prioritize, too. We all have 168 hours in a week, and if you’re watching an hour of TV every night but “don’t have time” to get in a sweat session, you may just not be prioritizing it. But I get it … there are some days when you just can’t fit in a dedicated exercise session. And guess what? That’s OK! We’re all human!
Just because you can’t get in a full workout, though, doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel on getting in any movement at all. Here are my top 7 tips to fit in exercise … even on the busiest days!
7 Tips to Fit in Exercise … Even on the Busiest Days
- Get it done in the morning! Set your alarm, and affirm the night before that you will get out of bed and work out. Don’t ask yourself if you’d “rather” stay in your warm, cozy bed or get out and pound the pavement … we all know how that will turn out. If you want to take advantage of the only time of the day when work / emails / phone calls / etc. aren’t standing in your way, get it done in the morning. There will always be an excuse later. (For more on my personal morning routine, check out this post!)
- Schedule it like any other meeting. I encourage my clients to put every workout for the upcoming week on their calendar on Sundays, then treat it just like they would any other meeting. If an important meeting can’t happen at the scheduled time, you wouldn’t just delete it … you would reschedule it! Do the same with your workouts; they are just as important.
- Fit it in at the office! There are so many effective exercises you can do right at your desk! In fact, I’ve put together 20 of my favorites for you in this free download. Give yourself one “point” for each move (with the allotted number of repetitions) you complete. Try for one point today, two points tomorrow, and so on! Or, compete with your colleagues to see who can fit in the most! Download the 20 desk exercises here.
- Maximize your commute. One of my favorite things about my office is that it is only 1/2 mile from my house, so I get to walk to and from work each day. Not only does this provide a nice breath of fresh air, but it gets my legs moving and adds in some light cardio without feeling like exercise. If you don’t live so close, could you bike to work? Walk to the convenience store or grocery store? Park far away and take a loop around your office building before going in?
- Combine meetings or calls with a walk. We are all in too many meetings, and chances are, the people you’re meeting with would like to get moving, too! Try standing meetings (you’ll be shocked at how much more efficient they are!), or combine more casual work meetings, coffee dates, friend catch-ups, or networking meetings with a stroll outside. You’ll thank me later!
- Grease the Groove. Tying a new habit to an existing habit makes the adoption curve less steep (read: easier!), and can be a simple way to fit in an effective workout in no more than a minute at a time. What if you stood every time you were on the phone (I do this, and it’s amazing!)? What if you did 15 push-ups each time you opened Facebook? What if you did 20 squats each time you used the restroom? This is one of my favorite tips to fit in exercise, because these habits add up quickly! See this post for more.
- Get the most bang for your buck with HIIT. If you’ve only got a short amount of time, don’t tell yourself it’s just not worth it to work out at all. HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts are designed to get maximum results in a short period of time. Generally, you’re working as hard as possible (with moves like jumping jacks, squats, burpees, tuck jumps, and push-ups) for 20-60 seconds, then taking a short rest period before starting again. They’re tough, but just a 10-minute HIIT workout can be enough to get your heart pumping, help you break a sweat, and increase your energy (and metabolism!) for the rest of the day. Here are a few of my favorites: 10-minute beginner HIIT workout, the famous 7-minute HIIT workout, 10-minute no-equipment HIIT workout, 20-minute HIIT workout with weights, and (for a challenge!) 35-minute HIIT workout (ignore the fact that this is marketed for “men” … you’ve got this, strong ladies!).
Now it’s your turn … What are your favorite tips to fit in exercise, even on the busiest days?
Great tips – mine are just an extension of what you have said:
– At work park as far away as possible if you need to drive.
– Use a restroom that is further away
– Walking meetings
– Take the stairs (but don’t trip!)
Also, now that shopping seems to be moving from malls back to plazas, use those to your advantage – walk from store to store and even plaza to plaza if possible – rather than driving from store to store.
Winter – especially in colder areas – tends to diminish how much we move, be mindful of calorie intake and try to compensate with more indoor activity.
Don’t be silly … you don’t need to remind people not to trip UP the stairs 😉 😉 ;).
Thanks for the extensions. Good points!!!
I sign up for classes where I’ll be charged a no-show fee if I skip…. nothing like a monetary incentive to get my butt to a workout!
Great idea! Then you have to just MAKE the time!