10 Ways To Include Exercise In Your Daily Life (Even When You’re Too Busy)

Finding the balance in your life is tough – and drawing the line between being inactive and working out can be even harder – but you can’t keep avoiding this issue and hoping it goes away on its own.

There's no shame in acknowledging that you might need a little help taking proper care of your health when you're neck-deep in work, commuting, deadlines, and all those life stuff that happens every day – it happens to everyone, whether they'd like to admit it or not.

That’s why today’s article is all about sharing proven ways to include exercise in your daily life – even when it seems impossible to do so!

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1. You Can Exercise Without Ever Leaving Your Desk 

Of course, I’m not talking about full-blown strength training. I mean, that would be amazing, but we all know it’s not a very realistic expectation to have at this point, now, is it?

However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on physical activity altogether, and spend most of your waking hours with your behind promptly glued to your chair.

I know, I know, you have a LOT to do, but I can assure you that a quick desk-job-inspired “workout,” such as light stretching, won’t hurt your progress in any way.

So, whenever you catch yourself doing some mundane tasks or waiting for that Slack reply, use it to squeeze some physical activity in – a couple of minutes here and a couple of minutes there, and before you know it, you're making a difference in your physical activity level.

2. Note It Down In Your Planner 

You wouldn’t skip a dentist appointment because you don’t want to interrupt your flow, now, would you?

(I know you would, but let’s pretend for the sake of this argument, okay?)

So, if you can’t seem to squeeze in a workout without it messing up your entire schedule, plan ahead, note it down in your calendar, as you would any other appointment, and make sure you follow through with it:

You’ll always be busy, so you’ll have to work your way around it – and the first step is learning to treat exercise not as something optional, but as a priority, instead.

You’re having an appointment with a healthier version of yourself here!

3. Reward Yourself for Being Productive 

Do you feel particularly proud of a particular task you finished or the efficiency and results you got from the engagement you’ve put in, and you're in the mood to celebrate your success?

What better way to do that than by treating yourself with something as beneficial for your general wellbeing as a workout, instead of going for your usual celebration method of having a glass of wine?

Or, you know, have both, if you feel like it – as long as you don’t do it at the same time, I won’t judge! 

4. Get Yourself One of Those Standing Desks 

And no, I’m not saying you should spend the entire day on your feet. Standing for prolonged periods can be just as bad for you as sitting.

The idea is to give yourself options and switch between the two throughout the day – from sitting to standing and back. Once you get into it, I’m sure you’ll notice something interesting:

The mere act of standing up will make you move more because you’ll be naturally compelled to do so.

Stretching, walking around, shifting your weight from one leg to the other – and even dancing when your favorite song comes on – will all become a part of your routine. And before you know it, you’ll be making a difference in your activity level. 

5. Did You Know That Running Boosts Creativity? 

If that's not a reason enough for you to put on your running shoes and head outside, I don't know what is!

Whenever you face a demanding task which involves creative thinking and you get stuck, go for a run – enjoy the fresh air, experience the runner’s high, and most importantly, give your brain a chance to have its “aha!” moment.

Running is repetitive by nature, which means your body – and your brain – can switch to autopilot and free up some space in your subconscious for creativity and deeper thinking.

If you’re a total running newbie, consider giving the Couch to 5K Program a try – you can check out my couch to 5k reviews for more info!

6. Start Your Day A Tad Bit Earlier Than Usual 

If you’re not exactly a morning person, you’re probably going to hate me for this, but I don’t mind – it’s for your own good, as they say!

Here’s the thing:
Maybe you’re not that busy as you think, and you merely fell into the same trap as anyone who’s ever worked from home:

You’re starting your day way later than you probably should because you can afford to do so.

If there’s even a slim chance of you starting your day a half an hour to an hour earlier, seize it, and use that time for a quick workout!

7. It Doesn’t Have To Be Time-Consuming – Every Bit Counts 

One of the main things I’d like you to remember about finding ways to include exercise in your daily life is that every bit counts. No one expects you to go from zero to a hundred straight away.

It’s okay to split your workouts into small, five to ten-minute portions, and space them out evenly throughout the day if that’s what works for you.

Also, focus on making your workouts more effective and less time-consuming – rather than doing an hour and a half of yoga, opt for 10-15 minutes of HIIT, instead.

8. Walk, Walk, Walk 

Simply put, forget that you own a car and that public transportation exists, and walk everywhere instead. Running errands, grocery shopping – all these daily activities don’t have to include a vehicle.

Plus, you’ll be doing a massive favor to the environment, and given the alarming rate of climate change these days that should be more than enough to motivate you.

Opt for a bike if it’s more convenient for you, or park farther away from your destination, and walk a few blocks. As long as you’re getting your heart rate up, it doesn’t matter whether you’re walking or cycling – you’re doing something, and that’s all that counts!

9. Let’s Pretend That Elevators Aren’t a Thing 

Yes, you read that right.

Besides your car, the elevator is something you should add on your list of things to ditch to sneak in more physical activity in your day, too.

I mean, if you can sit there writing fantasy fiction, pretending that dragons do exist, apply the same creative thinking to your daily life, and pretend that elevators don’t.

No one expects you to climb ten flights of stairs every single day, but whenever you’re going only a couple of floors up, opt for taking the stairs. Even a stairway or two can be enough to get your heart rate up – and that’s all that matters. 

10. Do You Have A Dog? 

Okay, I get how this may seem like a completely random, off-topic question, but you’ll see where I’m going with it soon enough.

So, do you?

If the answer is "No," it might be time to reconsider your life choices here – not only because of how unbelievably adorable pooches can be but because there's actual research that shows that these four-legged companions help keep their owners more active!

I mean, if all else fails, at least you’ll have a new best friend that will motivate you to go on daily walks.

You May Go Back To Your Important Stuff Now 

But before you go, I’d like you to remember one thing:

I know that, in your mind, everything that's not directly related to working gets labeled as a waste of time almost immediately, and I'd like to see you working on changing that attitude by following these simple tips.

You’re allowed to take a break; you know that, right?

There are plenty of ways to include exercise in your daily life – even when you’re too busy – so, don’t make excuses!

All I’m asking for here is 30 minutes of your day. And once you commit to it, you’ll see how beneficial it will be not only for your body but your work, as well!

Matt C.
 

Hi, I’m Matt, the man behind Empower Your Run. There's nothing quite like crossing your first finish line, and I hope one day you'll get the chance to experience that for yourself. Remember – “if you can walk, you can run” – and I'll be here guiding you every step of the way!