10 time hacks if you’re ‘too busy’ to exercise

Busy schedules can often leave us juggling our time between commuting, working and catching up with friends, so it’s no surprise many of us find it hard to stick to an exercise routine. But finding the time to keep fit doesn’t have to be difficult! Here are just a few simple ways to get those heart rates pumping…

1. Try HIIT (high intensity interval training)

Female exercising with personal trainer at gym

“HIIT is most effective training method for burning fat and can be done in less in 20 minutes,” says Lily Soutter, nutritionist and weight loss expert at lilysoutternutrition.com. “It involves short bursts of maximal effort with rest periods in between, i.e. 20 seconds of star jumps followed by 40 seconds of rest. This is repeated for 20 minutes, using any type of exercise. With no gym required, you can practice HIIT anywhere and you’ll be burning fat for up to 18 hours afterwards.”

2. Use your feet before the wheels


“Rather than jumping in the car to your local shop or work meeting, why not leave that bit earlier and take a stroll? It can be a great way to relax and clear your mind too,” says Carnation Footcare podiatrist Dave Wain (carnationfootcare.co.uk).

3. Get off the bus or train a stop earlier

Berlin tram commuter

“There’s no need to exercise in one long chunk. A ten-minute walk to and from work will add up to a 20 minutes of exercise a day,” says Lily. “You can track your steps by adding a pedometer app to your phone, which can be an additional motivator.”

4. Sit and stay healthy with Pilates

Meeting up at the mat for a pilates session

“To keep yourself feeling fit and healthy, why not set yourself the goal of doing five minutes of Pilates at your desk whenever you get a break?” says Lynne Robinson, author of Pilates for Life and founder of Body Control Pilates. “If you’ve time for coffee, you’ve got time for Pilates! Even though you are only doing five minutes, you need to focus and do the exercises mindfully. Then try to retain what you’ve learnt with you as you move around the office.”

5. Save time by cycling

Bike Commuter in Portland Oregon

“Cycling around cities is usually the quickest mode of transport,” says Lily. “You can save time on your journey while fitting in a workout! Cycling is a low-impact exercise, so it’s great for those who struggle with joint pain.”

6. Recruit a friend

Women jogging

“To help you squeeze in a workout and see your friends, try to combine both,” says Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at superfooduk.com. “You go for a morning powerwalk with a friend, giving you the chance to burn some calories while you catch up. Or, if you have more time, why not help motivate each other at the gym?”

7. Make those windows sparkle

young woman washing window

Do household chores make it impossible for you to make time for exercise? Try embracing the housework as this can in fact help you burn calories – win, win! If you clean the windows in a circular motion you can expect to sweat off around 125 calories an hour, according to musclefood.com.

8. Travel with a skipping rope

Do sports

“With no routine, exercise often falls by the wayside while travelling,” says Lily. “One solution is to pack a skipping rope and skip in your hotel room. Skipping is a great cardio workout and you only need to do short bursts to gain benefits. Try using it as part of your HIIT training.”

9. Get enough sleep

wake up

Ok, this one involves lying down…but it’s crucial. Getting a good night’s sleep helps you to be more productive the next day, which in turn can help you squeeze in exercise!

10. Embrace fidgeting


Are you someone who feels like they constantly have to move, whether that’s simply tapping your foot, or swinging on your chair? This could actually help you burn calories, according to a Mayo Clinic study, so even with a busy schedule you could be exercising without even realising!


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