Finding time to exercise can be difficult for many people.
There are a lot of excuses that we tell ourselves when it comes to not exercising-we’re too busy, we don’t have the money, or we just don’t know where to start.
But there are ways you can find time for fitness in your daily routine without making it seem like too much work.
Here are some tips and tricks on how you can squeeze exercise into your day without feeling overwhelmed by the process.
Whether you need help with finding motivation, planning ahead, or working out more conveniently, we’re here to help!
How to Incorporate Exercise into Your Everyday Life
Let’s be honest, sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day.
Between everything, we have to get done, and everything we want to do for ourselves, it can be easy for certain things to fall between the cracks. Unfortunately, one thing that slips for a lot of people is keeping an exercise routine.
You know exercise is important for your health and well-being. But your days are a blur of work, household chores, errands, and time with family and friends. Setting aside enough time to sleep — let alone exercise — can be tough.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming to incorporate exercise into your schedule.
Part of the issue is that people think exercise looks a certain way. For example, if you can’t do cross-training for an hour, then you shouldn’t exercise at all. But that’s not true at all. There’s what you call “living in the grey.” It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Here are a few ways that you can get exercise done no matter how busy you are.
Benefits of Exercise
Just in case you need a reminder of how good exercise is for you: It can improve nearly every aspect of your health from the inside out.
Regular physical activity can increase the production of hormones that:
- make you feel happier
- help you sleep better
- help you lose weight and keep it off
It can also improve your skin’s appearance and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?
Before we dive into the strategies on how you can squeeze in more exercise, let’s talk about how long you should be exercising each day and what types of exercises you need.
There are two critical types of exercise that you need to incorporate weekly: aerobics and strength training.
Aerobic Activity – At Least 75 Minutes Per Week
Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. You can spread this out throughout the week. If you can get a full hour at a time, that would be great. But if not, don’t beat yourself up. It’s better to have 15 minutes of aerobic activity daily than doing a one-hour session once in a while.
Being active for short periods throughout the day can add up. For example, gardening and doing chores around the house can be considered aerobic activities. If you have toddlers, use playtime as exercise time, too.
Once you’ve nailed down your aerobic exercise routine, you also need to do strength training. You need to do it at least two times a week for all major muscle groups.
Strength training also called weight training or resistance exercise is an important part of any fitness routine. It helps make you stronger and builds muscle endurance. Some people with chronic injuries often do not understand why they keep getting injured until they start strengthening the muscles around their joints to prevent inflammation.
Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions. You don’t need to go out and buy dumbbells. You can use your body weight, such as doing pushups.
How to Incorporate Exercise into a Busy Schedule: Try Shorter Sessions More Often
Okay, so now that you know you have to commit to aerobic activity and strength training, how do you take action and turn it into a routine? The trick is to break your work out into 10-15 minutes.
To make the most of these sessions, fill them with maximum-effort exercises. Quick and intense workouts such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) have been shown to stimulate the production of human growth hormones by up to 450% during the 24 hours after the workout has been completed. Other studies have shown that 15 minutes of high-intensity interval training can burn more calories than jogging on a treadmill for an hour.
Other Examples of HIIT Exercises:
- Jump Rope
- Jumping Jacks
Finding time to exercise can be a lot easier when you break up one longer session into bite-size workouts that are a bit more intense. Mentally, it’s also easier to do and complete because you’re going to say to yourself, “It’s only for 15 minutes–might as well do it.”
Fitting in Fitness at Home and on the Go
Time spent at home doesn’t have to be “couch potato” time. To make fitness a priority at home:
- Wake up early. Get up a bit earlier than you normally do and use the extra time to walk on your treadmill or take a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
- Make chores count. Mop the floor, scrub the bathtub, or do other housework at a pace fast enough to get your heart pumping.
- Get outside. Outdoor work counts, too. Mowing the lawn with a push mower is a great way to burn calories. Raking strengthens your arms and back while digging works your arms and legs.
- Be active while watching TV. Use hand weights, ride a stationary bike or do a stretching routine during your favorite shows. Get off the couch to change the channel or adjust the volume.
- Get more out of errands. When you go to the mall or grocery store, park toward the back of the lot and walk the extra distance. If you have a little extra time, walk inside for a lap or two before you start shopping. Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car so that you’re ready when you find a few minutes for exercise.
Work out at Work
To fit in more physical activity while you’re on the job:
- Make the most of your commute. Walk or bike to work. If you ride the bus, get off a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way.
- Take the stairs whenever you can. If you have a meeting on another floor, get off the elevator a few floors early and use the stairs. Better yet, skip the elevator entirely.
- Take fitness breaks. Rather than hanging out in the lounge with coffee or a snack, take a short walk.
- Skip the email. Walk to a co-worker instead of leaving a voicemail or sending an email.
Now, incorporating short bursts of exercise into your day might be easy and even fun in the beginning. But if you truly want to reap the benefits of exercise, you need to keep doing it consistently long term.
Here are some more strategies to help you keep going, especially during tough times.
Make A Non-Negotiable Fitness Routine
You may remember my self-care video where I said you have to put self-care on your schedule; it’s the same with exercise. When you plan out your day, it has to be on the schedule. Making a fitness routine a non-negotiable part of your day can be a great way to ensure that you find the time to exercise.
You have to fully commit to these times the same way you would your most important obligations. Think about when you wake up for work. Sure, you’d much rather sleep in instead of getting up to go to your job. But you don’t say, “Maybe tomorrow I’ll get up and try to go to work then.” You get out of bed and go to work because you’re committed. It’s non-negotiable.
You can schedule your exercise just like you would a meeting for work or an appointment. Pick a time that works for you and write it down in your calendar and hold yourself to it. This leads me to my next tip.
Create A System of Accountability
To make your fitness routine work, you need to hold yourself accountable for sticking to the plan. Having this workout time written down is a great step, but let’s go a step further.
- Try telling people around you about your plans. You can even make it fun by putting something on social media or joining online communities.
- Tell your roommate you’ll do the dishes at dinner if you don’t get your workout in.
- Keep track of how long you’ve exercised for the day or how many calories you’ve burned and create rewards when you hit a certain milestone.
Find a Workout Partner to Hold You Accountable
A workout partner can be a great way to stay on track. Maybe you have a friend who shares your fitness goals and is willing to meet up with you at the gym or for a run. A workout buddy makes it harder to skip out on your commitment because you’ll feel guilty if they’re waiting for you. Working out with friends also provides an opportunity to socialize!
I hope that these tips and tricks help you find time for fitness in your daily routine without feeling overwhelmed by the process. And if you do feel overwhelmed by the process, or still need a little help, reach out to my team. We can be your accountability partner and help you through your fitness journey.