Cue giggle and eye-roll. This is after your doctor says, “just exercise a few days a week”. It’s an uphill battle finding time to exercise consistently when our schedules are jam-packed and constantly changing. It’s not uncommon to feel like we are short on time, don’t have enough equipment, or are simply struggling to keep-up. First and foremost, we need to commit to making exercise a priority. Then, we can work on ways of creatively squeezing exercise into our busy schedules.

Short on Time

Often, we have an idea in our head that we need to set aside a large chunk of our day for exercise. On busy days, and with an ever-changing schedule, it can be difficult to carve out even 30 minutes regularly. Luckily, exercise sessions don’t all need to be this long. Studies have shown that there are quicker options that are just as effective. These options include shorter bouts of 10-15 minutes adding up to about 30 minutes throughout the day or shorter and more intense intervals of exercise.

Get Creative. Use spots that already exist in your schedule to fit in some regular activity. Take the stairs, park further away, exercise while your kids are at practice. All of these are great ideas for fitting movement into your daily routine.

Plan Ahead. Get your workout schedule for the week set ahead of time, so you don’t have to spend time each day thinking about what, when, and how long. Some days will stray from that schedule, and that is okay. Be flexible with yourself and your expectations, but also have an alternate plan in mind for those unexpected interruptions.

Keep Your Workout Bag Handy. Finally, you get to work out for more than 20 minutes. But then you realize, in your haste this morning, you forgot to pack your gym shoes! Have your workout clothes and workout bag ready, so all you have to do is grab and go.

Change it Up. If you’re short on time or exercising in a different space, chances are you’ll have to deviate from your usual workout routine. The benefits of change include added variety and avoiding boredom.

Add Intervals. Intervals are a great way to maximize your workout time. Increasing the intensity allows for a shorter workout session with the same benefits. To learn more about interval workouts, check out Shake Up your Exercise with a HIIT Workout.

Short on Equipment

Squeezing in a quick workout at home, outside, or while traveling is a great way to keep your exercise consistent. But, this can be challenging when we don’t have a lot of equipment to use. The good news is that you can still get in a great workout while using very little or even no equipment at all.

Makeshift Home Equipment. Even if you don’t have a set of dumbbells at home, you can still get a great strength workout. Use makeshift items found around your houses, such as water bottles, cans of food, or a tote bag filled with books in place of weights. You can even use items like a small towel or paper plate in place of sliders.

Bodyweight Exercises. Hershel Walker only does bodyweight exercises. He is a very fit 58 year old and former NFL football player. As you can see, exercises that utilize your body weight as resistance can be very effective. Squats, lunges, and push-ups are all examples of bodyweight exercises. These exercises take minimal space and can be varied to fit your fitness level.

Choose Equipment Wisely. If you’re considering purchasing equipment, think about choosing items that are versatile and space-saving. Items that can be used for more than one exercise are also a good option. Resistance bands are a great example of equipment that doesn’t take up much space and has many uses.

Use Free Apps and Videos. There are so many resources available at our fingertips, including many free resources. Many apps and videos highlight workouts that can be done at home with little to no equipment.


Some days our routine will look different than others. And there might even be days when the routine gets skipped. Just remember that consistency is always more important than perfection. Get creative and fit in any activity you can, when you can.

Always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise program.

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Written by BWS Lead Health Coach- Kelly Schlather, BS, ASCM – CEP