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9 Exercise Ideas That Fit a Busy Schedule

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After the holidays, did you promise yourself you’d exercise more?

And then, your days quickly filled up with work, family, and errands, and there just wasn’t any room left for fitness.

If you’re finding it hard to get your heart rate up, you’re not alone! So, we’ve come up with the perfect solution: 9 exercise ideas that fit into your busy schedule.

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So, put your trainers on and let’s get started!

The 7 Minute Workout

Can you find seven minutes in your day?

If you can cut back on some of your social media time, you’ve probably got enough time for this scientifically proven, high interval training workout.

You don’t need any equipment for this very effective routine.

Why? Because it switches between upper and lower body exercises, and always gives you a 10-second break in between each exercise. Yes, it’s challenging, but it’s only seven minutes!

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High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Want a routine that packs the punch in the shortest amount of time?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great option. With this approach, you do one intense exercise for up to 20 seconds and then recover for 20-40 seconds before moving on to the next, intense exercise. You can repeat this 1-3 times. You can burn a lot of calories this way, and it really works your body quickly and efficiently.

Daily Fitness Focus

If you have 20 minutes in your day, you can focus on one area of your body each day. It’s a doable and non-intimidating routine that lets you work out your entire body over the course of one week.

You can work your upper body with moves like push-ups, burpees and mountain climbers. On other days, strengthen your core with crunches, double crunches, planks, side planks, and bicycles.

When you switch to lower body, try squats, alternating lunges, and step-ups.

These are only a few of the many exercises that target specific body areas.


Doing a yoga routine – for as little as 10 minutes – can be very energizing. Not only is it a great way to stretch and tone the body, but it can also burn calories.

To get started, you can incorporate these fat-burning poses into your practice:

  • Warrior III
  • Down Dog Split
  • One-arm Planks
  • Plank
  • Chaturanga
  • Chair Pose
  • Sun salutations
  • High Lunges


Pilates is great for your entire body, but it’s especially beneficial for your core.

Pilates expert and author, Alycea Ungaro suggests these four moves for a full-body workout, all while strengthening your core: Pilates Push-Ups, Wall Slides, Inner Thigh Lifts, and Crisscrosses.

These four movements push you past your comfort zone, but at your own pace and whenever you can sneak it into your day.

Spread it Out

It might be difficult to find an uninterrupted block of time to do a decent workout. If that’s the case, spread your fitness routine out.

For example, when you wake up, do a quick ten-minute cardio routine, with things like jumping jacks, high knees, alternating lunges, and squats.

At lunchtime, go for a quick, brisk walk.

And before you go to bed, unwind with a gentle yoga practice. It’s probably easier to find ten-minute intervals throughout your day than a full 30 minutes. Plus, you can do whatever exercise you choose.

Sneak Exercise In

If you’re very busy, exercise is probably the last thing you want to do. So, forget about Pilates, HIIT, Yoga and the like, and just sneak “exercise” into what you’re already doing. Here are some easy examples:

  • Take the stairs, not the elevator or escalator.
  • Exercise while watching TV.
  • Take a bike, or walk to work if possible.
  • Park your car further away from the building’s entrance so you can add some extra steps to your day.
  • Take a quick walk on your breaks. Or better yet, find the stairwell and walk up as many flights as you can. You can increase your heart rate without needing any fitness gear or apparel.
  • While you wait for your kids’ games and lessons, head to a nearby mall or park (if the weather permits) and go for a walk or bike ride. It’s a nice opportunity to listen to your favorite music or podcast, too.

Find Exercises That You Love

If it’s hard to find time to exercise, it could be because you don’t enjoy your fitness routine.

Even the best of us don’t want to exercise on some days, no matter how “good” it is. So, it’s very important to find exercises that you seriously enjoy doing (once you start them, of course!).

That way, you might actually want to do them, even on your low-motivation days.

This can mean playing the perfect playlist that pumps you up. It can mean finding a YouTuber that you relate to, and who you can follow along with. You might have to try different workouts before finding the right one, but don’t give up.

Your ideal fitness routine is out there!

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Listen to Your Body

Even if you find the exercise routine that you love, there will be some days when you just need to be gentler on yourself.

Maybe you didn’t sleep well, or maybe you ate something that bothered you. Whatever the case may be, there will be days when your HIIT workouts will make you run in the other direction.

On those days, listen to your body and give it the workout that it needs on that day. Maybe that means a gentle walk in your neighborhood or a restorative yoga routine.

It might mean stretching only.

Exercise should never look or feel like a punishment. Who wants that, right?

Exercise should be something good you do for yourself and your body, so don’t be afraid to adjust as needed.

You’re still just as busy as you when you first started reading this article. But hopefully, we’ve given you some fresh ideas that can kick start your exercise routine no matter how busy your day is.

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