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How to Fit in Fitness

By Anika Christ, RD

Scheduling fitness into our hectic lives can be challenging. No matter how good our intentions or how detailed our workout plans are, we can simply run out of hours in a day.

However, if we take a new view of our schedules, we can discover more convenient “spaces” that offer us some easy wins! Below are twelve scheduling strategies to help you fit in more fitness opportunities each day.

See which ideas get you rethinking your workout and daily step potential!

Fitting in Fitness on the Job

Many of us spend the majority of our days working – oftentimes sitting at a desk 8-10 hours in front of a computer. Why not take advantage of that long timespan with these tips below? They’ll make the day go by faster, and they’re sure to boost your energy levels!

Take a fitness break.

Stay away from the break rooms. (They’re often filled with unhealthy food options anyway!) Instead, make a habit of taking a few small breaks during the day, or utilize your lunch break to fit in a “power walk” either outside or inside the building. For your shorter breaks, try going up and down a few flights of stairs to get your heart pumping, or do some lunges on the landings.

Take your phone calls standing up.

Try to make a habit of standing up (whether you have an office, a cubicle, etc.) when you take your phone calls. If you talk on a cell phone, use the opportunity to walk around and fit in some steps. I even have a coworker who keeps a kettle bell inside of his cube and takes a few swings with it during his calls. Nothing is off limits!

Consider your commute.

If you live closer to work, consider walking or biking. If you take the bus, get off a few stops early and walk the remaining blocks. If you can’t bike or walk as part of your commute, practice parking far away from the building entrance for the added steps.

Make an appointment.

We all use our email calendars to help organize our work days including meetings and other appointments. Block time in your calendar, and make an ongoing appointment to work out. That way you plan for it and are “unavailable” to be scheduled for any other meetings. Working out before work is a great way to start your day, while an after-work session offers the opportunity to decompress.

Fitting in Fitness at Home

Home is the place where most of us relax, do housework, enjoy family time and eventually sleep. Although we often don’t get as much time at home as we’d like, consider whether there are easy opportunities for exercise you might be missing.

Multitask during your sedentary time.

After a crazy day at work, collapsing on the couch can sound like the best idea ever! On the days when you just feel the need to park it, try to incorporate some sort of movement. I’m a big fan of taking commercial breaks to do a round of wall pushups, squats or lunges. If you have an “at home” piece of equipment such as a treadmill or stationary bike, make a rule to use it whenever you want to watch T.V. You can incorporate this principle into other more or less sedentary activities, such as doing calf raises while you brush your teeth!

Depend on your best friend.

The best thing I ever did was teach my dog how to be an alarm clock. Every day she wakes me up at 5:00 a.m. for our morning walks. Because I know she is depending on me, I make sure I get to bed on time and look forward to waking up to see her at my bedside with the leash in her mouth. It’s a much nicer wake-up call than an alarm clock!

Get your chores done.

Don’t underestimate the power of good old-fashioned cleaning! Turn up the music as you scrub your bathroom and floors, and scour at a more vigorous pace to get your heart rate up. Try to do as much manual labor outside as possible, including mowing and gardening your own yard versus hiring a service.

Involve your kids.

Getting your kids involved in your fitness routine can help you stay active without limiting time with your family. If you have small children, incorporate them into your workouts by having them sit on your back during pushups or holding them while you do lunges. For bigger kids, play catch or tag with them. Take walks as a family after dinner, or have them come up with a way to be active together.

Fitting Fitness into Your Life

Scheduling exercise in your typical daily routine can work, but be sure to start fitting more movement into your larger lifestyle. Make a goal to be as active as possible each and every day throughout the day whenever possible. Look for ways fitness can dovetail with hobbies, socialization and other free time activities. Below are a few best practices for making fitness “second nature” play.

Make dates.

I usually have a weekend date to hike in a local park with my friends or family. It’s a great way to catch up but also be active. You could do other activities such as visit a local zoo, visit the driving range or just hit the mall and walk while you enjoy time together.

Always be prepared.

Try keeping a gym bag or walking shoes in your car trunk at all times. You won’t miss out on opportunities to be active that may come up. You’ll also be more apt to do something active when you find you have unexpected free time to burn. Many of my clients actually lay gym clothes on their bedroom floor (or sleep in them!) to boost their motivation to get to the gym in the morning.

Join a team.

Teams are great ways to be social and active. They also remind us that even adults need to play! Dodgeball, softball, bowling, soccer and volleyball leagues continue to be popular for adults. Sign up for something that you enjoy or have always wanted to try, and commit to that weekly practice or game. They’re motivating and something to look forward to throughout the week. Because your team is relying on you, you’ll also be less likely to cancel.

Schedule events.

Events such as 5Ks or Mud Runs have become increasingly popular, and many of them incorporate the whole family. There’s something about signing up for an event that spurs you to get your fitness and nutrition in line. A bonus: once you cross one finish line, you’ll be more likely to keep signing up for other events! Try to incorporate similar activities into your holidays as well. Life Time hosts a Turkey Day 5K every Thanksgiving as well as the Commitment Day Run on January 1st.  Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to skip fitness. Make new traditions for yourself and your family that focus on being active together!

If you’re interested in new ways to add workout and movement time, schedule a consultation with one of our fitness professionals.

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The posts on this blog are not intended to suggest or recommend the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease, nor to substitute for medical treatment, nor to be an alternative to medical advice. The use of the suggestions and recommendations on this blog post is at the choice and risk of the reader.
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