How To Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Day

Work, kids school, after school activities, lunch with a friend…. your days are packed!  How in the world are you suppose to make time for exercise in your busy day? 

We all know the many health benefits of exercise, but making the time can be difficult when you have a lot of responsibilities and obligations taking up most of your time.  If you’re not sure how you’ll possibly squeeze in time for exercise, then the following 7 step process should help you figure that out.

First, you have to know your “why”.  Why do you want to exercise?  Is it to lose weight, improve your health, to fit into smaller clothes?  Keep asking yourself why until you get to the true root of your why.  

Second, identify your top priorities.  What are you big rocks?  Time with friends and family, work, and sleep are generally some of those top priorities.  Then identify your pebbles, those priorities next in line that add fun and satisfaction but aren’t completely necessary.  Those could include hobbies, excelling at work, being a competitive athlete, or working on a “passion project”.  Last identify the sand, those bonus activities that you might enjoy if there’s time left, but they’re not crucial to your survival.  Those may include things like watching tv, social media, playing video games, or going out for a drink.  

Everyone’s rocks, pebbles, and sand will look different, but if you fill up your jar with too much sand first there won’t be room for the really important things.  

The third thing to do to understand how you can fit exercise into your day is to keep a time diary.  Track your day in 15 minute increments and then analyze it.  When and how are you actually spending your time?  How does this compare with how you think you should be spending your time?  

Fourth, increase your health and fitness activities in 15 minute increments.  You can take 15 minutes from an activity that fell into your “sand” category and replace it with something that would move you towards your goals, like taking a walk or practice yoga. 

The fifth step is to create a system to help you make adding exercise into your day faster and easier.  Set your alarm earlier to create a morning workout routine, prepare your gym bag before bed so that you can run to the gym at lunch time the next day, or schedule work meetings at a nearby park or outside somewhere that you can walk.  

Step six is to schedule that time in your calendar.  Make it an appointment with yourself and don’t skip it unless it’s an emergency.  This time is important for you to improve your health.  

The last step is to review at the end of the week to determine if you used your time to support your fitness goals.  Explore what worked and keep doing that.  If you spent too much time on the low priority stuff, it’s time to rethink and adjust.  

There is a lot of thinking, prioritizing, strategizing, and planning involved in improving your health and making time for exercise, but it’s worth it.  And don’t forget to make it fun!  Find interesting activities that you enjoy and keep you engaged.  Enlist a friend, set a goal to train for a race or compete in a competition, or whatever it takes to make it fun and something that you’ll enjoy doing consistently.