No Time to Exercise? How to Sneak Exercise into Your Life

Do you feel you should get more exercise but feel so busy you can’t dedicate even 30 minutes for a gym or a walk?

Actually, you can get a good workout even if you have no time to go to a gym or you don’t own exercise equipment. Small things add up, so the idea is to get as much physical activity as possible as part of your daily life.

I created a short list of suggestions on how to sneak exercise to your life. Many of the suggestions are inspired by Dr Bookspan’s fitness articles.

The following activities are especially good for your calves, thighs and butt. They are perfect for office workers who sit at a desk all day. (Thigh and hip muscles are the biggest muscle group in the human body and they consume a lot of calories – if you give them a chance.)

If you have knee problems, consider learning to do the stationary exercises like lunges and squats first.

Take the stairs:

Climbing and descending stairs at every opportunity provides free exercise for your calf, thigh and butt muscles. The catch is that if you want to get more than sore knees out of this exercise, you had better check your technique. Dr Bookspan’s article shows how to climb stairs without knee problems.

Learning to go up and down stairs using Jolie Bookspan’s instructions has been quite a revelation to me. It’s completely different to go down the stairs using your calf muscles to slow down the movement and using the thigh and butt muscles to go up. After one week my legs feel lot stronger than before and my knees aren’t any worse for wear.

I’m lucky to live on the 7th floor, so I’ve had lots of thigh and butt exercise lately. 😀

TIP: Proceed slowly. At the beginning, I practiced climbing stairs very slowly so that I could be sure I’m really using my muscles and not just letting my joints take all the strain.  If you don’t have a chance to climb stairs, find some sturdy piece of furniture you can use instead.

At your desk:

Learn to lunge using Bookspan’s instructions. Have a short break, position yourself beside your desk. You can take support of the desk if necessary, but don’t lean.

Do #n stationary lunges on your left leg, #n on your right leg. No special equipment needed. The #n depends on how strong your muscles are already. Lunges can be quite strenuous to do if you do them correctly.

Use short blocks of time:

Take advantage of short blocks of time and have several 10 minute “workouts” instead.

I’m usually able to sneak 10 minutes of walking or another activity in my day by telling myself it’s only 10 minutes.  Consider having a 10 minute workout in the morning if possible, so you don’t forget it.

Lately, one of my favourite ways to sneak physical activity into my life has been ExerciseTV. They have a large collection of 10 minute (and longer) exercise videos you can download for a few dollars/piece.


Shopping can be a great source of fun physical activity. 🙂 ( For some reason I have to avoid shopping for bras as long as possible, it makes my mood plummet).

You can get some serious exercise when you spend an afternoon in a shopping center. A couple of years ago I decided to wear a pedometer with me when I spent one afternoon shopping for Christmas presents. According to my pedometer, I took 14 000 steps doing Christmas shopping.

Even though it doesn’t fell like exercise, it doesn’t mean it isn’t real exercise. Take your friend, go window shopping and have some fun!


I’d love to hear YOUR suggestions!