How to make time for exercise when you are busy

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Woman exercising at home

Do you feel you don’t have time for exercise?

One of the common things I hear from people is that they don’t have time. Or they don’t know how to make time for exercise when they are busy. And because of this, they don’t have a regular exercise routine. This can be because of looking after kids, a full time job, a carer or it’s not a big priority for them.

Working out tends to be the one thing we drop off our busy schedules. Especially if we are not overly committed to our health and fitness routine. If we don’t have a set routine, it is almost always the one thing that is the easiest to dump to save time.

However, it is probably the one thing that we need the most.

It’s ok to miss a workout

Of course there will be occasions where we need to skip our workouts and that is ok! It’s not something we need to worry about or feel guilty for not doing. When we dump our workouts constantly because we believe we don’t have the time to fit it in…that’s a different story!

Even adding something as simple as walking to your day will give you great benefits. Improving your mood and helping you focus.

Woman sat getting ready to exercise at home tying her shoelace

I used to leave home at 6.15am to get to work at 8am. It was an hour and a half drive away. I’d pack my workout gear so I could change at work before I left in the evening. I’d drive straight to the gym as working out before work was not an option.

I wanted to get to the circuits class I loved doing two to three times a week. I would feel so much better for doing it especially after the long drive home. Yes I would be tired but once the warm up was over and done with, I was ready to go.

I did this for 7 years until I became full time in the fitness world and my job became local. Getting a workout done after a long day at work and commuting is possible. If you are committed, organised and making it a priority in your life.

Make it simple

We don’t need to over complicate how we achieve this. There is so much out there to help us get active if we choose to. Even from the comfort of our own homes.

There are so many ways to add exercise into your daily routine. It just takes a little bit of planning to start.

You don’t need to work out for an hour each day. Especially if you work long hours, looking after kids, family or other commitments. That is really not realistic and something you will probably not stick with.

You also don’t need loads of equipment. Your body weight will give you a great workout and is a great place to start. If you are new to an exercise routine or on a budget this is perfect.

It doesn’t have to cost money.

How to make time for exercise when you are busy?

Here are my 11 tips to help you get started.

Home workout wording

1. Exercise at home

How to make time for exercise when you are busy? Exercise at home!

It will save you time and money. Working out at home takes out the worry and stress of packing a gym bag. You also don’t need to remember to grab something to take to eat after!

For the last several years I have been working out at home, long before we were forced to with Covid 19.

I prefer it as it saves me time, money and I can roll out of bed and straight to my workout! There is no worrying about getting to the gym on time, finding parking or wondering if I have remembered to pack a towel and my clean underwear! (several times I have gone to shower and forgotten either a towel or my underwear and its so frustrating).

2. Exercise in the morning

Work out first thing in the morning (If this is not possible due to night shift work then I’d still recommend working out prior to your night shift). This is a perfect way of how to make time for exercise when you are busy.

I am consistent in my workouts each morning (I do have my off days too). I don’t have to stress about how much time I have to train as I am already at my personal gym.

It feels great to get up and get on with a workout first thing in the morning before I do anything else. I am then done for the day and can get on with what ever I need to do. I dont have to think about how I will fit a workout in.

You will have less distractions and it will help you to set a routine. You will feel energised ready to start your day and it can help improve your mood for the day.

3. Wake up earlier

Set your alarm at least 15/20 minutes earlier than normal and make sure you are getting 7-8 hours sleep. If that means going to bed a bit earlier then do it as you are more likely to get up and exercise first thing!

4. Schedule your workouts

Take the time to schedule your workouts in and add them to your calendar, phone or use a fitness schedule planner.

Make it part of your daily/weekly routine.

Having a schedule of when you will work out helps you stick to it. Its a great way of how to make time for exercise when you are busy.

You can work around busy days and plan your time more effectively. If you know that Tuesdays are a crazy busy day for you then schedule your workouts around those stressful days. You don’t need to add to the stress by trying to fit a work out in. Use it as an active rest day.

If you have a partner and you both want to workout but one needs to be with the kids, then alternate your days take it in turns. (or get up super early and workout together giving each other motivation).

woman with laptop on the floor working out at home

5. Follow a workout plan

Have a workout plan for the week or even better the month. This way you know what you are doing each day and don’t waste time thinking of what to do. You are ready to go! You can then re-evaluate your plan at the end of the month, did it work for you, what needs to change and you can add this in for your next month of workout plans.

I love having a clear set plan to work to. It helps me show up for my workout every day. It is also a great way of setting and achieving fitness goals. My current plan is to work out 5 days a week with strength and cardio workouts. My main goals at the moment are to increase my cardio fitness for getting ready to go back and teach indoor cycling when gyms reopen (I don’t have a bike at home so am finding other ways to get my cardio back up without high impact training).

Focus on one thing at a time

I am also working on my shoulder strength and stability, which has been an on going process due to injury. And I am focusing more on my mobility after I have trained as I have the luxury of time at the moment to add all this in. If I didn’t I would focus on one goal at a time or I would drive myself crazy as I wouldn’t be able to fit it all in!

You can use workouts from You Tube or other on demand programmes. Its a great idea to go through the workouts and create a play list of what you want to do, this way you are ready to go and not struggling to find the right ones each time.

Maybe you prefer a live online class and to have interaction with an instructor? Have a look at my class schedule Click Here.

6. Have a designated workout space

Set up a designated exercise area. Creating a dedicated workout space at home is a must. If you have to change where you workout each day, you are less likely to stick with it. Creating a space that you can quickly and easily set up in the mornings will help you to stay consistent.

I have a space in my lounge where I can roll my mat out and have enough space around me to move safely without injuring myself! I recommend having 2 x 2 metres clear space and away from anything you can hit, kick or trip over.

Exercise ball, dumbells and resistance bands for working out at home

7. Keep your equipment together

If using equipment, keep it all together and in the same room as you will be working out in. This way it is easy to grab what you need and get on with it. No wasting time trying to find what you need. Its all there ready to go.

I keep all my small equipment in a basket -yoga mat, blocks, straps, mini balls, resistance bands and sliders. I have all my weights and kettle bells stored behind my sofa, within easy reaching distance, but out of sight. All I need for each workout is in one room.

8. Do workouts you enjoy

Find workouts you will enjoy, whether this is cardio or strength training, yoga or Pilates. You will not stick to it if you are hating what you are doing! Find what works for you! If you enjoy what you do then how to make time for exercise when you are busy will be easy!

If you are not sure and new to this then try a variety of workouts for a week or two then decide what you are loving and commit to it. Or alternate if you can’t decide! I do a combination. I always do strength and cardio in the week along with mobility and then at the weekend when I have more time I will do a longer Yoga or Pilates practice depending on how my body feels.

9. Set out your workout clothes

Set out your workout clothes the night before. You don’t need to worry if your workout clothes match, use what feels comfortable to you.

I have been know to wear my pyjamas when I do my yoga some mornings….and there is nothing wrong with that! I got my yoga done and felt great!

Woman lying on a yoga mat with ear phone in working out at home

10. Use music to motivate you

Music makes us happy and is a great way to get you motivated to move! Make yourself a play list of all the songs that make you feel good and lift you up and press play for your workout and enjoy!

Music has a great way of pushing us in a workout. I love picking tracks for my indoor cycling classes that will get my clients fired up and ready to go.

11. Keep your workouts short!

You do not have to plan in an hour to get your workout done. You can get a great workout done and dusted in 20 minutes. Making how to make time for exercise when you are busy much easier.

Changing your mindset on the length/time of your workout will take away that panic of feeling you must do an hours workout for it to really count.

Having a 20 minute workout frequently throughout the week will be enough to see and feel changes to your body and mind! (I recommend between 3/4 times a week) but don’t stress if you only manage two.

If you don’t have 20 minutes some days, then aim for 10-15 minutes instead, something is better than nothing.

The great thing with short workouts is that it is much easier to stick with!

Do what works for you and make time for your workouts! If getting up earlier is really not going to happen then find another way of adding it in to your day. Use your lunch break or finish work a bit earlier so you can go get your workout done at home before you are too tired!

Everyone’s work life is different, and finding what fits best into your schedule will be key to a consistent workout routine.

Use these tips to help plan where you can effectively place your 20 mins of workout time into your busy day.

Take the time to plan using these tips to organise your home workout schedule. Remember this is something that is worth doing for your self. Committing to make exercise a priority in your life will help you to feel great in your body but also your mind which will transfer to other areas of your life. All it takes is a little planning and commitment to make your health and fitness a priority.

I would love to hear about what has worked for you. Let me know in the comments!

<b>Author:</b> Claire Vanstone
Author: Claire Vanstone

Yoga, Pilates and fitness have been part of my life for over 10 years and have changed shapes within that time. All have helped me grow stronger physically and mentally, and help me through tough times in my life.

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