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How to Squeeze a Workout Into Your Busy Schedule

You don't need to hit the gym for an hour or more every day to get your exercise. Slip it into your day, and feel great!

Life is busy. Work, relationships, family, friends, kids, pets, household duties, errands ... the list goes on and on. And sometimes, something's gotta give. Often, it may be your workout. People look at exercise as a luxury, not a necessity. Well, it is both. Exercise can make you look great, but it also impacts your health, stress levels and how you cope on a day to day basis. You don't need to hit the gym for an hour or more. Instead, squeeze exercise into your day, and reap the benefits.

Plan Ahead

Most people have a calendar on their phone, on the computer or a good old-fashioned paper one. You write down your schedule for work, the kids, and any other appointments or commitments you may have. Well, start writing in exercise. Make it a priority. Maybe on Monday you only have a 15-minute window of time to get it in — and that's okay! Or maybe Wednesday is out due to kid's activities that keep you busy. But, Thursday you have an hour free. Write it down! Whether it's five minutes or 60, plan for a little activity on most days of your week. Don't skip it unless an emergency situation comes up. Life does go on, after all.

Keep it Moving

Circuits, Tabata and HIIT are great time savers. You can get some cardio done, some resistance exercise and burn a lot of calories. You can do a quick circuit of squats, push-ups and bicycle crunches with jumping jacks in between each exercise to hit the large muscle groups in your body. Ten minutes and done! Or, try a Tabata-style workout for four minutes of extremely intense exercise at a time. You can do as many four-minute segments as you want at a time, or do just one at a time, squeezed into your day. Tabata is 20 seconds of intense exercise such as jumping jacks, burpees, jump squats, or mountain climbers (to name a few) followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat eight times for your four-minute workout.

Involve the Kids

Many people with children find it very challenging to find the time to exercise. Well, try to involve them! When the weather permits, get outside. While the kids play at the park, do a quick bodyweight circuit using the equipment, or off to the side if it's busy. Jog intervals while pushing the stroller, or do some walking lunges. Let your kids ride up and down the sidewalk while you watch, and get a workout done in the driveway with some bands. Have your kids count reps for you while you do some push-ups, or let them try some with you.

Whatever you are able to do in a day is better than nothing at all. Exercise has a cumulative effect, so those five or 10-minute bouts will improve your health and fitness over time. Try to stick to a plan, but don't get discouraged when you need to make adjustments. Just keep going, and you'll reap the benefits!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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