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10 Clever Workout Tips for Busy People

Just because your schedule won’t slow down, doesn’t mean you have to


With a new year comes an even busier schedule. That project you said you’d circle back to next year? That after-school activity your child wants to take up? That endlessly postponed get-together with friends? It all seems to converge at once.

Fitting regular exercise into your to-do list might seem impossible. That’s why we’ve gathered quick and easy workout ideas that will fit seamlessly into your busy schedule.


Prep your workouts

You may have tried meal prepping, but what about workout prepping? To help you stay at the top of your exercise game this winter, set aside time at the beginning of each week to plan out your workout schedule. Your plan could include going to the gym every other morning or getting in an afternoon walk each day—make it your own!

Pro tip : set out your workout clothes or pack your gym bag the night before to make exercise even easier the next day.


2. Walk and talk

Don’t skip quality time with a friend or partner for your workout, as spending time with loved ones has its own health benefits like reducing stress and enhancing self-confidence. Instead, have your social time on the go! Head to the trails or around the neighborhood for a walk and talk.

Pro tip : bring a warm, health-boosting drink like matcha or rooibos tea for a cozy bonus as you walk.


3. Try bedtime yoga

Can you only seem to find time for yourself as you’re about to turn off the lights? Bedtime yoga will give you a chance to move and relax your body, prepping you for a good night’s sleep. Plus, yoga can help improve balance, strength, hearth health, and more.

Pro tip : try listing what you are thankful for in your head during your yoga session to add an extra layer of gratitude to your practice.


4. Give HIIT workouts a shot

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help you cram big benefits into shorter workouts. HIIT consists of multiple rounds of short workout sets. For example, 45 seconds of jumping rope, a 10-second break, 45 seconds of squats, and so on. HIIT workouts can help improve endurance and strength—and they’re great for people who are short on time.

Pro tip : download a HIIT timer app on your phone to help keep track of each set.


5. Multitask with a treadmill

A recent trend among remote employees, working while walking on a treadmill or walking pad is a great way to move your body while moving your career forward. Walking has plenty of powerful health benefits, from helping curb your sweet tooth to boosting immune function: one study even found that those who walk for just 20 minutes, five days a week, have 43 percent fewer sick days!

Pro tip : pick tasks that are relatively easy to complete while walking, such as reading, answering emails, or brainstorming (and maybe save that Zoom meeting for later).


6. Switch up your commute

If possible, try varying your commute. Run, walk, or bike to work a few days a week for a built-in morning workout. In addition to providing physical health benefits, biking and other activities that require focus can help keep your mind away from negative thoughts and decrease stress levels.

Pro tip : decrease your carbon footprint from transport by around 67 percent just by biking instead of driving to your destination once a day.


7. Involve the kiddos

If you just can’t sneak in some alone time to exercise, involve your kids in your workout! Try having them do yoga with you—which has been shown to boost both mental and physical health in kids aged six to 12—or let them bike alongside you while you run.

Pro tip : if your child is not able to participate in a parent-child workout, or you’re really searching for time to yourself, sign them up for an activity near your local gym.


8. Take a resistance band on the go

For a mini workout anytime, anywhere, keep a resistance band in your bag or car! Resistance bands are easy to use, affordable, and helpful for building strength when used correctly. Make sure to do your research or consult a personal trainer to learn how to use this small but mighty fitness tool properly.

Pro tip : more than just a fun recess activity for kids, a jump rope is another portable fitness tool that can be great for a killer cardio workout.


9. Create healthy hobbies

As shown by many of the workout ideas on this list, exercise doesn’t have to look like heading to the gym or strapping on your running shoes. Tie your workout into your free time by finding forms of exercise that bring you joy. Sign up for a dance class, take up geocaching, or simply walk the long way to your favorite coffee shop.

Pro tip : for a unique heart-pumping hobby, head to your local climbing gym to try indoor rock climbing (also known as bouldering).


10. Switch it up

Don’t feel like you need to stick to one form of exercise. Head to the gym one day, go for a long walk the next, and do some bedtime yoga the day after that. This will help you stay motivated to fit movement into your busy schedule—not just this year, but also long into the future!

Pro tip : Don’t forget to schedule rest days to help promote muscle recovery, prevent injury, and encourage relaxation.



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Raise a glass and say cheers to not-so-hard drinks

Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD