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How to Fit in Exercise… When You Literally Have NO Time!

Well, we all know that we should be exercising because it’s hugely beneficial to our health. It’s even scientifically proven, and study after study tells us! 

Yet still only a fraction of us are actually into the daily exercise habit. Why is this the case?

Can’t seem to get in daily exercise? Here are the top excuses we’ve heard:

  • No energy/too tired
  • No time/can’t make time (I’m a full time parent, I work full time…)
  • Partner/family isn’t supportive
  • I’m injured/in pain
  • I’m too big to move well enough/it hurts to move
  • I’m too embarrassed/uncoordinated to exercise
  • I don’t like exercising alone
  • Can’t afford it, e.g. gyms are too expensive
  • Don’t have enough room in my house
  • I get bored easily/exercise isn’t fun
  • I never stick with a program/I always give up
  • I don’t like to sweat/having to shower after

And the excuses literally could go on! But the one we’re tackling today is the most common one – no time. But the question remains… do you really not have any time to exercise? 

I bet we can change your mind about that AND motivate you to carve out just a few minutes in your day and make it happen!

How to carve out time for exercise, where you least expect it!

The first thing is to make a plan and schedule it in as you would any other appointment in your calendar. Think of it as an appointment with your health! 

Then, find the time. I know, easier said than done – but here are some great ideas:

  • Get up 15-30 minutes earlier
  • Split your lunch/midday break in half
  • Don’t have 30 minutes to spare? Take three 10-minute breaks during the day to squeeze in some physical activity, like:
    • Brisk walk, combined with walking lunges and/or sprints
    • Rebounding/mini trampoline
    • Workout videos/Youtube
    • Short HIIT workout or circuit training – see example!
  • Make your regular daily activities even more active
    • Bedside pushups perhaps? Single-leg squats while you brush your teeth?
    • Take the stairs whenever possible
    • Park further away from the entrance of a store
    • Get off the bus a stop or two early
    • Reduce screen time and replace it with activity
    • If you must Net-chill, do yoga/pilates/stretching while you’re watching TV
    • Dance while you make dinner
    • Really put some elbow grease into regular chores – or better yet, delegate them to other family members
    • Carry a basket while grocery shopping, rather than pushing a cart
    • Do high knees-up or jog on the spot at any point during your day!
    • Be socially active – walk & talk with a friend (instead of texting or phoning)
    • Family time = physically active time

And the key to keeping up with this daily exercise habit, even if all you have is 10 minutes per day? 

Just. Get. Started.

Then keep it going by investing in an activity monitor, a pumpin’ playlist, and an accountability partner or support person that you can depend on when you’re ready to pitch and run. 

Throw in trying a new activity, finding one that you actually enjoy doing, and mixing it up every now and then – and you’ve got yourself a regular exercise routine.  

Again, even if it ends up being 10 minutes a day – it’s better than doing nothing at all! 

FITNESS “RECIPE” (more like a prescription!) 

The I-Have-No-Time-to-Exercise 7-minute HIIT Workout 

*Adapted from The New York Times – Well Blog

Choose 12 exercises that use only body weight, a chair (or bench or step) and a wall – suggestions given below.  

Each exercise is performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of transition time to the next exercise. Total time for the entire circuit workout is ~7 minutes. The circuit can be repeated 2-3 times depending on your level of fitness and the time you’ve got to sweat it out!  

If only doing the circuit one time through, you’ve gotta make it count and put some extra muscle into the strength-body weight moves to maximize that metabolism revving opportunity! 

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Wall sit with knees at 90 degrees
  3. Push-ups, full/military or modified/knees down
  4. Burpees
  5. Squats, all varieties
  6. Triceps dip on a chair or bench
  7. Plank – elbows or high plank (arms extended)
  8. High knees, running in place
  9. Alternating lunges/split squats/reverse lunges
  10. Step-up onto a chair or bench
  11. Push-ups with rotation or side plank, each side
  12. Ab crunches or bicycles

REFERENCES 

MedicineNet – 13 Ways of Staying Fit When There’s No Time to Exercise

https://www.medicinenet.com/fitness_when_theres_no_time_to_exercise/views.htm

HuffPost Healthy Living – 10 Fitness Hacks for When You Don’t Have Time to Work Out

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/timesaving-fitness-hacks_n_5845aa66e4b055b31398760c 

Experience Life! – 25 Ways to Make Time for Exercise

https://experiencelife.com/article/25-ways-to-make-time-for-fitness/ 

The New York Times: Well Blog – Really, Really Short Workouts

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/really-really-short-workouts 

The New York Times: Well Blog – The Scientific 7-Minute Workout

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/the-scientific-7-minute-workout/

ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal – High-intensity Circuit Training Using Body Weight: Maximum Results With Minimal Investment

https://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2013/05000/HIGH_INTENSITY_CIRCUIT_TRAINING_USING_BODY_WEIGHT_.5.aspx