Published May 4, 2014

Fitting In Workouts When Busy

by Helen M. Ryan
Helen Ryan exercising in a dress

Trying to exercise when we are busy is challenge.

How do we keep our bodies moving, the blood flowing, and our metabolisms firing while trying to get our jobs done and our lives lived?

I once spoke in front of a professional business women’s organization where I let them in on my little “secret” to keeping workouts going even on our busiest days. What did I tell them?

This super easy and useful tip:  Use a timer (whether online or on your device) and set it for 55 minutes. When the timer goes off, get up and do something. Walk around, squat, breathe deeply, do big arm circles, walk up some stairs, hula hoop, step, dance, sweep, or vacuum a room. Do something.

Squats, lunges, jumps, mountain climbers, pushups, dips, and jumping jacks are all awesome, too. So is skipping through the house, running from room to room, or walking around with exercise bands placed at your knees. The “exercise band walk” resembles that old “pee-pee dance” we girls used to do when we were little, and really works your butt and upper outer thigh.

The only way to make this really effective, though, is to work hard during those little breaks. You want to feel the burning in your muscles and start feeling warmish all over. You probably will not break a sweat but you will feel that overall glow from exertion…kind of like a “good” hot flash. That’s the feeling you are looking for.

I can’t believe how effective these little exercise bursts are.

When you think about it, if you work a 7-hour shift at your desk and you fit in even 3 minutes of exercise every hour, that’s 21 minutes a day you are doing something. If you move for five minutes every hour, that’s 35 minutes a day. Add 10 minutes in the morning to get you going and maybe 10 minutes of stretching or yoga in the evening, and you are up to almost an hour of exercise a day with barely any effort.

 This is something you can fit into even the busiest day. Of course, if you work in an office you will have to modify a bit, but it’s certainly doable. Even better…get your coworkers to do some mini-bouts of exercise with you (they’ll either love you or hate you for it).

It might not seem like much, but this little trick really does work.

Something is always better than nothing. Always. Just like some money in the bank is better than no money in the bank.