Sneaking in a Little Exercise When You're Too Freakin' Busy

Lyne Rogers

Full disclosure- I’m a runner and I’m that person who is up before the sun during summer months to sneak in long runs before the heat and humidity take over New England. Second disclosure? I hate mornings and will happily skip these stupid-early sessions if I can. This sometimes means the day gets away from me and I end up having to scramble some type of exercise together at the last minute. Which brings me to today’s article: five ways to sneak in exercise when you’re too damn busy.

  1. Bodyweight work during commercial breaks. This, my friends, is a life (and body) changer! It does require you have cable or Hulu with commercials, so this doesn’t work with Netflix or Amazon Prime, for you cord cutters out there. Pop on your favorite show and, at each commercial break, do a different bodyweight movement for the duration of the commercials. Squats, lunges, pushups, planks...they’re all good. For the last commercial break, challenge yourself to burpees. You’ll feel like dying, but you will get in a solid workout!

  2. YouTube Yoga. I’m the worst at doing stretching or yoga because it just seems to take so long. And I’m bad at it. And I know I’d be better at it if I did more...but it’s boring. So, when I’m feeling like it’s been too long since I touched my toes, I slide on over to Yoga by Adriene on YouTube. She has a slew of videos with different focuses and themes...but I just look for one that’s under 20 minutes long. Let’s face it: unless I’m sweating it out at a 90 minute Bikram yoga class that’s more torture session than workout class, 20 minutes is all I’ve got in me for yoga.

  3. Modify your work space. If your job is super-sedentary, sitting on a yoga ball instead of a traditional desk chair will help you to engage your core muscles throughout the day. It’s like a workout without actually having to work out! More effort would be to modify your desk into a standing desk, though that depends on your employer, the type of work you’re doing, etc. But a yoga ball? That’s inexpensive and gets you a trip to Target to pick one up! And speaking of Target…

  4. Park in the last spot. If you have a day of errand to do, you can easily rack up the 10,000 steps someone is always recommending we do a day by parking far from the entrance to the stores. Besides logging some more walking, you’ll also avoid people who don’t seem to know how to park properly or how to find a carriage corral for their shopping cart once their done with their shop. More steps, fewer dents in your car. It’s a win win!

  5. Walk everywhere. This one depends on your location. I’m lucky: I live about a half mile from my grocery store, three-quarters of a mile from one of my favorite coffee shops and a park, and about a mile from my gym. I can easily get to many places I want to be by walking or jogging. Sure, I wouldn’t do a full grocery shop on foot. And I wouldn’t run for coffee with a friend in the rain. But if I’ve got a little extra time and the weather is good, I’m going to walk or run to those places. I hate driving and this sneaks in a few extra minutes of exercise and lets me avoid jerks who apparently forgot everything they learned in driving school.

I literally do all of these things to help me sneak in a little extra exercise when I’ve gotten too busy for “real” exercise. They do take up some time but if those few extra minutes contribute to your overall well-being, it's worth it, right? Plus, the dogs and kids LOVE working out with you. Down dog with your toddler or terrier is going to make for adorable Instagram content.