Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to Fit Exercise into Your Busy Schedule

Here's how to fit exercise into a busy schedule. If you're like me, you're busy, a little stressed out, have many things pulling at you in many directions, and on top of that you need to find time to work out. For many people, it usually doesn't happen. Exercising becomes just another problem for you (as does your expanding waistline). Read this article if you're looking for a solution to being able to get your workouts in.

Top 6 Tips for Fitting Exercise into your Life

1. Exercise early in the morning

For most people who lead busy lives, trying to exercise at the health club after work is nearly impossible. Not only are you worn down from working all day, you also have things you need to do with the family, friends etc.

One good solution is to get up an hour earlier and get in your exercise in the morning. Even if it's only a walking program. As hard as it is to drag yourself out of bed, sacrificing just one hour of sleep a couple times a week will actually give you MORE energy throughout the day than that extra hour of sleep you’ll be giving up.

2. Get a Few Pieces of Equipment and Exercise at Home.

If it's possible, buy a treadmill or stationary bike. You'll avoid having to take the time to drive or walk to the health club, and you can do it on your schedule.

However, if you live in a place like NYC, chances are you don’t have the space (or money) for this, when I started out in New York, I invested in a jump rope, resistance band and set of dumbbells. With this equipment you can literally get a full body workout (cardio and strength training), and you don’t even have to leave your bedroom or living room.

Not sure what to do with your new equipment? You can find a wide variety of fitness DVDs to guide you. Total Fitness DVDs has just about anything you need. You can search by workout type and see a brief description of the workout. You can see what equipment is used, the exercise level, and the length of the workout. You can even see a short preview of the workouts. If you’re really time crunched, try the 10 Minute Solution DVDs. Each DVD contains five 10 minute segments. You can do one, two, or all five depending on how much time you have. Or if decide to invest in that treadmill and want to jazz up your workout a bit, you could give Tracey Staehle’s Walking Strong a try. You can see a preview here by clicking on the DVD cover.

3. Multitask while Exercising

Use the time while you're exercising to better schedule your day. You'd be surprised at what you can do on a treadmill. It's easy to read a book or report while walking. You can eventalk on the phone if you need to. You can exercise during commercials, as soon as you wake up, on your lunch break, or right before bed. Just be sure not to do anything too exhilarating at bedtime. You want to be able to fall asleep.

These are 4 times where you can sneak in 2-3 minutes of exercise. Done multiple times each day, THAT ADDS UP to a good amount of working out. A great thing about this is that you don't sweat... usually. Also, it's been PROVEN that these types of mini-workouts are much better for increasing your metabolism... as compared to the normal 30-60 minute steady-paced workouts once a day.

Don't think this is hard either. You can do jumping jacks, jump rope, jump on a mini-trampoline, or do some pushups. Whatever gets your heart rate up and puts an extra boost in your step.

4. Do hard, fast-paced exercises in 5 minutes

You can do something like fast bodyweight squats. Do as many as you can in 5 minutes. Trust me; this will get your legs burning and your heart-rate up. Running up some stairs for 5 minutes non-stop is also great. These are intense. That's why you can get away with doing just 5 minutes of them in a day. You don't need much of these exercises to get great weight loss results.

5. Exercise on the Weekends/Days Off

This is becoming a more popular concept as people try to find more time for exercise. Weekends/Days Off offer you extra time to fit an easy one hour workout into your schedule.
I also know many ‘weekend warriors’ who use their days off to fit in extra long workouts, since it’s hard for them to do this during the week.

6. Find Additional Ways to Exercise During your Work Day

It's easy to find ways to exercise at work throughout the day. For example, take the steps instead of the elevator. Walk to co-worker's desks instead of sending emails. Take a walk during your lunch hour. You could even try this desk workout. These are just a few examples of how you can find other ways to exercise while on the job.


  1. thanks for this! great tips

  2. Thanks for the great tips Amanda...keep 'em coming!
    I was wondering if you could provide some more suggestions for fitting exercise into busy lives. I recently moved to the country and running on busy dirt roads will be impossible in the winter. The closest gym is 30 mins from both my home and work and trying to get there in the morning would mean extremely long days, especially since some days my work doesn't finish until after 7pm. Do you have any suggestions on how to make this work?

  3. HI Krista,

    Thanks for your feedback, in addition to the above tips, I am a HUGE believer in having some key exercises you can do at home everyday, such as push ups when you wake up and sit ups before bed. Also, things like burpees and jump rope can provide you with a great, often more intense workout in less time than a long jog. Check out my jump rope workout for an example:

    Others Ideas:

    WORKOUT VIDEOS: I have tried countless workout videos, and while many of them are too easy or boring, there are a select few that are exceptional and can get you the results you desire. I recommend P90X, awesome workout program.
    In addition, I am working on creating my own series of videos to address exactly your problem - Stay tuned, I hope to help you personally!

    PERSONAL treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, or trainer for your outdoor bike. I know this is a big investment, especially along side a gym membership, but it will go a long way. You can use it on the days when you don't feel like making the commute, or have worked late etc. - not a single minute commute time needed!

    I hope these suggestions help you, I'm looking forward to hearing what works for you :)