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How to Fit Exercise Into a Busy Schedule - No Excuses!

By Adele Griffin, Personal Trainer & Pilates Instructor 

Fitting exercise into our busy lives is one of the biggest challenges we face. If that’s a hurdle for you, you aren’t alone—even as a personal trainer, I struggle with it! We are all human beings and we often have hectic schedules.

Here’s the good news: scheduling your exercise doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, there are lots of fun ways you can make sure you incorporate exercise into your life; see the tips and tricks below to help you get that movement in!

Have a Fitness Plan

Some people love a schedule and like to know exactly what they’re doing and when. Others prefer to be more flexible. However, if time is of the essence then it is important to schedule your exercise into your daily routine—just like you would do with a work meeting. Planning out your week will help you focus on when you can exercise or fit in your personal training session. 

Life does get in the way, and you will also need to be flexible with your schedule. Sometimes things come up that you have no control over and you have to skip a session. Of course, sometimes it’s OK to swap a workout for downtime—but a solid plan can prevent this from becoming a habit. 

Pick Your Time Slots

More exercise in your life requires more time spent, and that can be difficult to find! One solution is simply to set the alarm for 20-30 minutes earlier and do your exercise before you start your busy day. Alternatively, you can make time at the end of the day once your tasks have been ticked off. 

You do need to think about what time of the day you feel exercise is going to suit both your lifestyle and your energy levels. Some people are too tired to exercise at the end of the day and prefer to go to bed earlier and wake earlier to do their workout. Others might find it impossible to get up any earlier and prefer to make it the last thing on their schedule.

Make Your Commute Work Harder

Another great way to fit exercise into your regular schedule is to include it in your commute. Walk to the office if you can rather than take the car. If you have a fit bit or smartwatch you can also monitor how many steps you walk each day and make a plan to fit more in.

You could try cycling to work, or running if it’s feasible. Using your travel time to exercise instead of sitting in traffic is an easy and extremely effective way of creating opportunities in a packed schedule.

Use Your Lunch Break

If you live many miles from work, turning your commute into a workout isn’t practical—but how about using your lunch break to exercise? Take your gym gear with you and either run, walk, venture to a park, or go to the gym if there’s one at work or nearby. Alternatively, you could play squash or badminton, go for a swim, or maybe even fit in a quick personal training session. If there aren’t showers at the office, there could be a leisure centre close by where you could grab a shower before heading back to work. Be creative!

Lunchtime workouts are a wonderful way of getting extra energy for your afternoon. The break from your laptop/computer/phone/home is mentally invigorating too. Getting out in the fresh air and upping that heart rate is all good news for your cardiovascular system and your general wellbeing. Just don’t forget to eat as well!

Stay Home

Thanks to the huge market of online workouts — particularly prolific now due to more people working from home — you don’t even have to step outside your front door to do some exercise. Online programmes offer detailed advice and tips on what exercises to do and for which parts of the body. They also offer a variety of workouts/routines with and without home gym equipment to make it easy to organise your time and effort. Working out at home is often much easier to fit into a busy lifestyle. 

Work Out With Friends

This is one of my favourites and something that I have been doing for years as I know that it works so well for me. Making arrangements to work out with your friends is another brilliant way of fitting exercise into your life. It’s motivating and inspiring to be with others who share your passion for fitness and if your friends are at a similar ability level, you can motivate each other to push on to new heights. Group exercise also falls into this category: team sports, gym classes, or something like a swim team or running group. 

From a practical point of view, working out together is a great way of keeping in touch. Also, if you know that skipping a session may let others down, you are more likely to stick to the plan. Personally, I know that at the end of the shared session—whatever it may be—I find that I have always enjoyed it and am ready to plan the next one! 

Final Note

However you choose to fit exercise in, remember this: it is about getting active and moving! Something is always better than nothing. Even if it’s only 20 minutes, you will be achieving something for your health and fitness. A brisk walk, a light stretch, an energetic period of housework… The key is always in moving your body and increasing your heart rate. 

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