Dec 19, 2014

5 ways to squeeze exercise into your day

We all know how important it is to make exercise a regular part of our routine, but it can be hard to squeeze in a workout around a busy schedule. We’ve put together some tips to help you find time for exercise, no matter how busy you are.

The American Heart Association recommends we get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, which works out to be around 30 minutes a day, five times a week. It sounds like a lot, but you don’t have to do it all in one go. A Boston University study published in the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, found that breaking it up into 10-minute bursts of activity can make a real difference to your health.


In another study by the University of Virginia1, participants were asked to complete a number of 10-minute exercise routines every week. After just 21 days, their aerobic fitness was equal to that of people 10-15 years younger, while their strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility was equal to that of people up to 20 years their junior.

"It would be useful for people to get out of the all-or-nothing mindset that unless they exercise for 30 minutes, they're wasting their time," wrote lead research Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., professor of exercise physiology at University of Virginia.

If you find it easier to break up your daily exercise into small bursts of activity, here are some ideas to consider:

1. Wake up earlier
Setting your alarm for earlier in the day is one of the best ways to guarantee that you fit in a workout. You’ll feel refreshed and energised for the rest of the day and won’t need to worry about how you’ll find time for exercise.

2. Workout during your commute
Getting off the bus a few stops earlier and walking the rest of the way will put a dent in your daily exercise tally. You may even like to pack your work clothes into a backpack and jog or cycle home.

3. Take the stairs
It sounds simple, because it is. Instead of taking the elevator, kickstart your heart rate by leaping up the stairs instead. You can even do a few runs up and down the stairs during your lunch break, for an easy burst of exercise.

4. Switch off the TV
For one week, try adding up how much time you’ve spent online or watching TV. You might be surprised to find how much time you really have. Consider cutting down your screen time and replacing it with a walk around the block or a Pilates class. If you are watching TV, try to stay active during the commercials by lifting some handweights or doing sit-ups and push-ups.

5. Exercise with friends
One study found that 64 percent of people will push themselves harder and get better results if they workout with a friend. So try to catch-up with friends by going for a long walk, rather than sitting down for a coffee.

How do you maintain your exercise routine during a busy week? We’d love to hear your tips. For more ideas, visit our Strengthen board on Pinterest.

[1] Angadi, SS, Weltman A, Watson-Winfield D, Weltman J, Frick K, Patrie J, Gaesser GA. Effect of fractionized vs continuous, single-session exercise on blood pressure in obese and non-obese adults. J Human Hypertension 2010; 24: 300-302.