Feeling stressed about your busy schedule and struggling to find time for exercise? We’ve all been there. Between work calls, meetings, emails, and deadlines, the hours in a day seem to disappear in the blink of an eye.
By the time you’ve responded to the last urgent request, all you want to do is collapse on the couch with a glass of wine. Exercise? Maybe tomorrow. The truth is, you don’t need a full hour of intense cardio or a lengthy weight training session to stay active and energized. With a few simple tweaks to your routine, you can easily incorporate exercise into even the busiest of workdays.
Read on to learn some creative tips for sneaking in movement so you can have your cake and eat it too – or in this case, stay fit while crushing your work goals. The secret to success? Start small and build up from there. You’ve got this!
Start Your Day With High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Starting your day with high intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to squeeze exercise into a busy schedule. HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by recovery periods. You can do HIIT with bodyweight exercises alone, so no equipment needed.
To get started, choose 3-4 exercises like jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers and squat thrusts. Start with a quick warm-up to raise your heart rate, then do each exercise as fast and hard as you can for 30-60 seconds. Recover for 30-60 seconds between each interval. Aim for 3-4 intervals of each exercise.
This intense cardio blast only takes about 15-20 minutes but provides an afterburn effect that continues to burn calories for hours after you finish the workout. Some other benefits of HIIT include:
- Improved endurance and stamina. Short intervals train your body to recover quickly.
- Stronger muscles. Exercises like burpees and squat thrusts require power and strength.
- Better heart health. HIIT improves your heart's ability to pump oxygenated blood more efficiently.
- Increased energy. Although tiring, HIIT releases feel-good hormones that give you an energy boost.
To maximize results, do HIIT 2-3 times a week, with rest days in between for the best recovery. On non-HIIT days, go for a walk or do some light strength training. The key is to start your day on the right foot with a quick dose of exercise. Your body and mind will thank you for it!
Take Fitness Breaks During Work
With a busy work schedule, finding time to exercise can seem impossible. But if you get creative, you can fit in quick spurts of activity right at your desk.
Take “stand-up” breaks. Push away from your desk and stand up, stretch, and move around for 2-3 minutes every 30 minutes or so. March in place, do some calf raises, or shoulder rolls. These micro-workouts add up and help combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
Do chair exercises. When you have a few minutes between tasks or calls, do some simple exercises right in your chair. Try shoulder presses by raising your arms up and down, torso twists to loosen your core, or seated leg lifts. Chair squats, where you stand up and sit back down repeatedly, are also easy and effective.
Go for a walking meeting. If you have a one-on-one meeting, suggest going for a quick walk instead of sitting in a conference room. You'll get some exercise and fresh air, and walking side by side can foster collaboration. Keep the pace casual so you can still talk comfortably.
Take the stairs. Skip the elevator and take the stairs whenever possible. Climbing just a few flights of stairs a couple times a day provides great exercise. If your office is on a higher floor, climb down and back up again. Every little bit helps!
Incorporating exercise into your workday may require some creativity, but with regular breaks to stand, stretch and move around, you can stay active and productive all day long. Your body and mind will thank you!
Walk During Your Breaks
One easy way to incorporate exercise into a busy workday is to walk during your breaks. Even quick 15-minute walks can provide health benefits when done regularly.
Take Advantage of Your Lunch Break
If you get an hour lunch, walk for 15-20 minutes of it. Stroll around the block, walk up and down the stairs in your building or march in place while watching TV. Any movement helps. Walking during your lunch break is an easy way to improve your productivity in the afternoon and boost your energy levels.
Walk and Talk
If you have meetings with colleagues, suggest walking meetings when possible. Getting outside for some fresh air and vitamin D will rejuvenate your mind and body. Walking side by side makes conversations flow more freely and fosters collaboration. Studies show people tend to be more creative when walking compared to sitting.
An afternoon walk is a great replacement for a sugary snack and cup of coffee when your energy starts lagging. Walking releases endorphins that act as natural mood boosters and energizers. Even just 5-10 minutes of walking around your office space can increase blood flow to your brain and muscles, elevating your heart rate and breathing. You’ll return to your desk reinvigorated and focused.
Making walking a regular part of your workday routine has significant health benefits over the long run. In addition to improved mood and increased energy, walking lowers health risks like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some forms of cancer. Start with just 15-30 minutes a day of walking during your work breaks and build up from there as your stamina improves. Your body and mind will thank you. Developing this healthy habit now will serve you well for years to come.
Try Online Fitness Coaching for Accountability
Online fitness coaching is a great way to hold yourself accountable to your exercise goals when life gets busy. Many coaches offer flexible, affordable memberships that provide guidance and support to keep you on track.
Find a Coach That Fits Your Needs
Look for a coach that specializes in the type of workouts you want to focus on, whether it’s HIIT training, strength training, yoga, or all of the above. See if they offer different membership tiers so you can choose the level of interaction that works for your budget and needs. Some coaches provide daily check-ins and workout reviews, while others simply provide pre-made workout plans.
Schedule time each week to check in with your coach, even if it’s just a quick message or call. Let them know your wins and challenges so they can provide encouragement and make adjustments to your plan. Staying in regular contact will make you feel more obligated to follow through on your workouts.
Share Your Progress
Many online coaches provide ways for members to share photos, stats, and other progress updates. Post about your milestones to stay motivated and inspire others. Celebrate your wins, no matter how small. Your coach and fellow members will support you along the way.
Online fitness coaching provides flexibility and support. With regular check-ins, and progress updates, you'll have the motivation and guidance you need to make exercise a consistent part of your routine, no matter how busy life gets. Staying committed to your health and fitness goals will give you the energy and strength to accomplish everything else on your schedule.
We offer custom training plans to help you reach your fitness goals. We customize your plan based on your current capabilities and an attainable timeline.
Do Bodyweight Exercises in the Evening
By the time evening rolls around, you’ve likely been sitting for most of the day and are ready to move. Doing some simple bodyweight exercises is an easy way to incorporate exercise into your evening routine without needing any equipment.
Do some yoga or stretching
After sitting hunched over a computer, your body will appreciate some gentle stretching. Try some basic yoga poses like cat-cow, seated twist, or bridge pose. If yoga isn’t your thing, simply stretch your major muscle groups like your hamstrings, chest, and hips.
Pushups are a great exercise you can do anywhere without equipment. Start in a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the floor. Then push back up. Do 2-3 sets of as many as you can with good form. Can’t do a full pushup yet? Do knee pushups or wall pushups instead.
Squats are functional exercises that work your core and leg muscles. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and hips and lower into a squat. Aim for your thighs to be parallel to the floor. Push back up to the starting position. Do 2-3 sets of 10-20 squats. Hold dumbbells or a kettlebell for added challenge.
Planks work your core muscles that support your back and spine. Support yourself on your forearms and toes and hold your body in a straight line for 30-90 seconds. Engage your core and don’t let your hips sag. Start with holding a plank as long as you can with good form, and build your time from there.
Squeezing in some quick bodyweight exercises during the evening is an easy way to stay active even when you have a busy schedule. Start with just 10-15 minutes a few times a week, and build up from there as you get into better shape. Your body and mind will thank you for it!
So there you have it—some easy tips and tricks for squeezing in exercise even when your schedule is jam-packed. The key is not to make it an all-or-nothing situation. Any movement is better than no movement. Start small and build up from there as your routine and motivation allows. The benefits to both your physical and mental health will make the effort worthwhile. You've got this! Stay active and make your health a priority. Your future self will thank you for it. Now get out there and get moving—you've got no excuses!
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