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5 Strategies for Squeezing in Exercise When You Have a Busy Schedule

The usual excuse for not exercising is that we don't have enough time. It is amazing to take a look at what we squeeze into our schedules and what we may not realize that we prioritize. I know this when I say that I want to read more as I am scrolling social media. I need to put the phone down and grab one of the many books that I have been wanting to read. Then I realize I get much more out of reading a book that I have chosen versus scrolling through social media. It is like exercise. We know we need to do it more yet will sit for an hour watching television.

Here are 5 strategies for squeezing exercise into your schedule. Stay committed to your health and well-being and you will feel the difference. You will be healthier and live more years to enjoy with those you love.

Number One: Short bouts of exercise throughout the day

I have a split routine for exercise since I may not have an hour to exercise. Sometimes I have 30-45 minutes, sometimes longer. I have each split routine written on a dry-erase board so it is easy to look up the list and know what to do. One day I will do leg work, another chest and triceps, and one day my run and abdominal work focus. I then can get all the exercises I need to do in one week. I no longer pressure myself to get a full routine every day. I recover better and enjoy my workouts. Yes sometimes, I have 15 minutes before I need to go to bed. I will do 3-5 exercises and I'm done.

Number Two: Lunch break exercise

I learned this from my friend and colleague, Beth Templeton Lemmon. I was working through my lunches like most people, especially in healthcare. She would come up to me and ask if I wanted to go for a walk. I knew she wasn't really asking but telling me I needed to go for a walk. It was a quick 10-15 minute walk but it was fun and I felt relaxed and ready to work. I know some businesses have workout classes during lunch times as well where you can spend 30-60 minutes getting in a workout. You should take this opportunity. At the end of the workday, you can rush off to pick up your kids or make it home for dinner.

Number Three: Schedule exercise

Make exercise a priority. Add it to your calendar so people know that it is your time to take care of yourself. It is for you to get it done as well. This works for me especially with my running schedule since I run 3 times a week. I have to look at events and find the best time to get my run in. Sometimes I need to drive where I can run 8 more more miles. I have to figure in travel time as well. Sometimes I just have a lot of things I want to do on a particular day and to make sure exercise just doesn't get put off, I schedule the time 7-8 am or when it works best. It needs to be structured time and not low on the priority list.

Number Four: Walk to places instead of driving

If you travel around the world or have read about blue zones where people live to 100, people walk everywhere and are healthy to show it. I have a watch that tracks my daily steps and on one vacation I walked 38,000 steps! People in America are sometimes lucky to get 1,000-2,000 steps in a day. If you have only a few things to get at the grocery store that you live near, walk there. If you do have to drive to your grocery store, park as far as you can from the entrance of the store. Take the stairs to the medical clinic instead of the elevator. If you pick up your child at school. Park your car and go for a walk until they are out to meet you.

Number Five: Make activities or meetings into exercise

Instead of meeting a friend or colleague at a coffee shop and sitting the whole time, grab your coffee and have a walking meeting/conversation. Convert your garage or extra space in a room into a workout room so you can watch your kids or have them workout with you. Watch television or a movie while you work out. I have instructed people with low exercise tolerance to exercise during commercials while they watch their television programs or the news. I like it when my best friend invites me to a workout class. I especially like dance aerobics since I get a good workout and have fun too. All I have to pay is the guest price but I get a fun time with a friend.

If you are unsure where to start or have pain/injury limiting your ability to start exercising, (and you live in the area) please contact me at to get started.

Karen Baltz Gibbs, PT, DPT, CSCS, CMP, LMT, Owner Garage Training & Rehab Gym


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