Exercise, like sleep and eating right, is critical to a healthy life. But it's not always so easy to get. Busy work schedules, busy family life, a busy social calendar: All of this spells busy, and that applies to most of us. It may be our No. 1 excuse for why we can't exercise. There's just too much going on, all the time.
But something has to give. If we want to live long, healthy, productive lives (and get everything done), we simply have to work out when we can. If that means getting a little creative to work exercise into our cramped daily routines, then so be it. Here are a few ways to make sure you find time to take care of your body without cutting the other things that matter from your schedule.
1. Do Calisthenics
Done right, a good combination of intense calisthenics every day can provide most of the exercise you need. That's right, we're talking the old-fashioned way here: push-ups, sit-ups and jumping jacks. Exercises that use the body, not kettle bells or weights, as resistance. According to The New York Times, the use of calisthenics as a core workout regimen is experiencing a rebirth of sorts, pulled from the bag of drill sergeants past. It's not perfect. It will maintain but not build body strength, and it doesn't replace cardiovascular exercise. But there's one great thing about it: You can do it in your bedroom, in your hotel room, anywhere you like, any time of day.
2. Take the Stairs
Whether you work on the eighth floor of a high-rise or the second level of a two-story building, always try to take the stairs if you can. Climb both ways, down and up. If you live or work too high up in a high-rise building, consider getting off the elevator part way up (or down) and climbing the rest of the way. Not only do you get the exercise, you save the money and time you'd otherwise spend on a stair climber or gym membership. Which isn't to say you shouldn't use a gym, only that the stairs are there for the taking.
3. Walk, Don't Drive
Walk or ride your bicycle wherever you can. If you have to drive to work, park as far from the building as you reasonably can and walk the rest of the way. If your office is too far to reach by bike, see if your public transit system allows cycles: You might be able to ride part way, put your bike on a bus rack, and take the bus the rest of the way. New York City is notorious for its thin people, and one reason may be that they do so much more walking than residents of any other city in America. When you have no car, your body often ends up the better for it.
4. Partner Up
Get some of your exercising and your socializing done at the same time. Buddy up with a co-worker for a lunchtime walk of 20 or 30 minutes. Join your fiancé for a pre-work run. Use each other for motivation and make the time go by faster. When you have someone to help, you'll find it's easier to squeeze exercise into your routine.
5. Exercise On the Go
Don't give up your routine just because your geography has changed. Use work trips and family vacations as an excuse to hike, jog, run, bike or exercise somewhere new. Involve your family or coworkers. Exercise outdoors and see the natural sites. Even a day trip is an opportunity to see something new and get in a workout.
Our daily lives are busy, and it's hard to fit exercise it. But we can't expect to live long, healthy lives without it. That means we have to do what we can to find the time. These simple steps should make it easier to fit exercise into your busy schedule.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.