5 Creative Ways to Fit a Workout into Your Busy Schedule

This is a guest post written by my friend Kelli Hahn. Kelli is a certified Personal Trainer & Health Coach in the Denver area, who also specializes in making working out convenient & online training. She is a mom of two, hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro for her honeymoon, and used to play a crazy sport called Australian Rules Football. 

I love this topic because I feel like all of us can relate to this feeling of overwhelm, and exercise is often the first thing we ditch in busy times. Read on for five awesome and creative ways to incorporate activity into your day. Hope you enjoy!

5 Creative Ways to Fit a Workout into Your Busy Schedule

Is Busy the New Normal?

It seems to be that time of year when everyone is busy. Really though, do our busy schedules ever let up? For most people if we are busy now we will find ways to keep our schedule packed all year around, or we at least feel as though we are and just can’t figure out how on earth to squeeze in some exercise.

The hard truth? We all have the same 24 hours in a day and for 99.9% of us it’s not actually about a lack of time, it’s about priorities. I’ve already covered the “I don’t have time” to exercise thing in a blog post, so I won’t go on too long here.  All day we make decisions about what we are and are not going to do and it is our decision if we workout or not. Remember, you don’t need to carve out a solid hour every day of the week. You just need 15-30 minutes and you can even build that time into your daily to-do’s to make workouts both functional and practical.

It’s not always going to be easy to workout and you might never find that motivation you keep searching for, but maybe you are searching for the wrong things? Let’s face it, we aren’t motivated to do the dishes or our laundry, but we do it anyway. Why? Because we feel like we have to; we need clean clothes to wear and clean dishes to eat from. So, why shouldn’t we also feel like we just have to workout? We should take care of our body (and mind) just as we do our cars, house, and clothes. We only have one body and one life so it really should be a top priority.

The Benefits of Exercise

While trying to incorporate a new workout routine it’s important to 1) take it slow and 2) create small habits so that they are sustainable.

It’s also important to remember why you want to (and should) workout. Some of the amazing benefits of exercise include:

  • More energy

  • Confidence

  • Strength

  • Bone health

  • Heart health

  • Feel happier

  • Reduce stress

  • Helps brain health & memory

Incorporating Exercise Into Your Routine

Now that you know why exercise is so amazing, here are some practical ways to incorporate it into your everyday routine.

“Run” Your Errands

Literally. Run to the store to grab that one item you forgot, or to an appointment, a friend’s house, a restaurant. I’ve actually run to the liquor store before… had to earn that glass of wine 😉 I promise you, no one cares if you are a little sweaty. If anything they’ll be in awe that you’re running!

Take a 20 Min Lunch Break (ideally even longer!)

You deserve it, and you’ll be even more productive if you get a workout in mid-day. Do as many rounds as possible of the following:

  • 10 squats

  • 10 pushups

  • 10 lunges (each side)

  • 10 tricep dips

  • 40 jumping jacks

Walk & Talk

Have a conference call? Date with a friend? Making phone calls? Walk while you talk!

5-Minute Workouts

Everyone has at least five minutes to spare each day - actually, I’m sure most of us could find several five-minute blocks! Instead of scrolling Facebook try some of these 5-Minute Workouts.

Social Media Challenge

Speaking of Facebook, I know I’m guilty of spending wasteful time on social media throughout the day. My challenge to all of you is this: Every time you consider visiting a social media site, you must first do one of the following for one minute:

  • Squats

  • Pushups

  • Lunges

  • Jumping jacks

  • Wall sit

  • Plank

  • Side plank (each side)

  • Step-ups

You might be surprised how often you are checking social media and how many exercises you can squeeze in throughout the day. Take the challenge and use the hashtag #HealthyHabitsByHahn.

To Summarize

Start prioritizing and making time for working out! Even if you feel like your schedule is packed, try using some of the tips mentioned above and be sure to let us know how it goes - you are worth it!

Kelli also has some awesome 20-30 minute workouts that are perfect for busy schedules. Check them out at Hahn Fitness Online Workouts.

The Importance of Self-Care During Busy Seasons

ice cream cone.JPG

So this last few weeks have been C R A Z Y busy. And I don’t like to use the “b” word lightly because it’s kind of a pet peeve when this happens:

Q: It’s been forever – how are you?

A: Busy!

I’m guilty of it too, but I’m really trying to stop doing this. After all, when someone is asking me about what’s new in my life, I’m sure they are looking for something a little bit more meaningful in a response. But I digress…

Today I wanted to talk about the importance of self-care during busier seasons of life. In addition to my usual work/school combo, I just recently added house-hunting to my list. Who knew how time-consuming this was?! I'm sure many of you know. Throughout the last few weeks I have realized that self-care and exercise are always the first things to go when my time is limited, and it never ends well for me. Here’s how it usually goes:

Full day of activities sans self-care – feel sluggish & burnt out – don’t sleep as well – tired the next day – wake up later than normal and start day on a semi stressful note – less time during the day to accomplish tasks – repeat

As you can see, skipping self-care does not help me in any way (as I often assume it will since I'm removing something from the to-do list). Stepping back to look at the systemic effect of making time for yourself, you can see that it actually makes burn-out way less likely to happen in the long run. So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to list your responsibilities, then all of the extra things that come up. Next, look at where you can cut back or rearrange things to work to your advantage instead of against you. Sleep is integral, so make sure to factor in at least 6-8 hours (or whatever you need) first and foremost. Also remember to be realistic.

I know that I need to make exercise a priority for me to feel my best, so I try to get some walking in each day over lunch. This is a total win since it helps break up my sedentary work day, plus the fresh air and sunlight is a huge mood/creativity booster. In case you need some inspiration, here are a few examples of other simple self-care activities that always make me really happy:

  • Taking a hot shower in the evening, putting on the comfiest sweats, and then giving myself a manicure/pedicure
  • Treating myself to a solo dinner date to one of my favorite fast casual spots 
  • Listening to a podcast while strolling around outside
  • Getting ice cream with my husband on a week night, just because
  • Making a time intensive home-cooked meal with some wine (the more chopping, the better)

It is so cliché - but you really can't pour from an empty cup. Making time for yourself will most certainly make you a better friend, spouse, co-worker, parent, etc... so it's important not to skip! I would love to hear about your tips for fitting in self-care when life gets busy, so tell me in the comments:

What is your favorite self-care activity and how do you make time for it?