Shutterstock.com

One of the most common reasons people do not exercise is they claim that they have no time to exercise. They are either too busy or exercising takes too long. These, however, are nothing but excuses. You might well have the occasional day or week when you are truly too busy to exercise, but it is unlikely you are literally booked every moment of each and every day. If you are, you probably need to take another look at your schedule to cut it back. 

When people think about having time to exercise, many envision needing large blocks of time to spend at the gym. While setting aside an hour or two for a long, hard workout is enjoyable, most people do not have that sort of time or flexibility in their schedules. You can exercise, however, even if you have a hectic life. Here are four ways to fit exercise in a busy schedule. 

Change Your Timing

What does your daily schedule look like? Do you have just enough time to brush your teeth in the morning but no real obligations after work? Do you have empty weekends or packed evenings? Think about what your daily routine looks like and determine where you have the most flexibility. Then, sneak your workout in during that time. If you have a short or predictable commute, get up 30 minutes earlier and do a short workout in the morning before you go to work. If you join a gym with a shower, you can get ready for work at the gym. 

You can still do a morning workout if you have a long commute. Join a gym on the far side of your commute near the office. Pack a bag with clothes for work, leave home early and go workout once you get into the city. Leaving that extra 30 to 60 minutes early might not just give you time to work out in the morning, but it might also cut down your commute time since you will be on the road before most people leave for work. 

If there is a gym near where you work, you can also go workout over your lunch hour. A midday workout will get your blood flowing again and give you energy to push through that 3 p.m. slump without resorting to unhealthy methods to stay awake and focused. 

Sneak in Little Bits

If you have a very unpredictable schedule or really cannot find a single block of time to set aside to work out, do pieces of your workout throughout the day. Do a set of pushups while the coffee boils in the morning. Then, do some squats while you wait for your lunch to reheat or do a minute of sit ups when you get the laundry out of the drier.

Interval training works best for those with limited time. During interval workouts, you will do a short period of extremely high energy work followed by a longer period of recovery. One of the classic examples is to sprint as fast as you can for one minute, walk for three minutes and then repeat. Because interval training revolves around high intensity work and recovery, they are normally shorter workouts. A running interval workout should be no more than 20 minutes long.

If you are sneaking in workout pieces here and there, you need to capitalize on other opportunities for minor activity. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park in the spot farthest from the door at work or the store. This will not get you much of a workout, but even that little bit of extra activity can help.

Multitask

Everyone has something they do that is a time waster. For many people, it is watching TV or scrolling through social media in the evenings. This is often how people unwind and relax after a long day, and so these “time wasters” are actually very valuable. There is nothing, however, that says you need to be sitting on the couch to watch TV. Take your tablet or smartphone with you to the gym. Prop the phone or tablet up on top of the treadmill and catch up on “Game of Thrones” while you jog. TV shows tend to run between 30 and 60 minutes, so one episode is the perfect length of time for a workout. 

This trick works with social media and other online activities as well. Use an exercise bike while you catch up on Facebook or read the news. You can also bring an old fashioned book and read while you work out.

Cut Back Elsewhere

If you truly want to work out but cannot seem to find a way to fit it into your schedule, you may need to cut back elsewhere. Take a look at what you are involved in and see what activities you really enjoy or really need to stay involved in. If PTA is eating your life and you do not enjoy it anyway, leave it behind and use that time for working out instead. If you truly enjoy volunteering at the SPCA, continue doing that and drop your second Bible study group instead. Decide what the best use of your time is and adjust accordingly.

Fitting exercise into a busy schedule is easier than many people think. It simply requires a little creativity and the ability to view your schedule as a series of moving puzzle pieces. Once you do that, you will find that there is a surprising amount of free time hidden in your busy schedule. Shift some things around to bring this free time into one place and dub this new block of time “workout time.” It may require you to get used to a new routine, but the energy and happiness you will get from working out will be more than worth the moments when you wonder why your alarm is going off so hatefully early.