Do you often feel like you have no time to exercise? It’s not always easy to get the exercise in. You probably know many of the benefits of exercise, but do you still struggle fit it into your day? I want to share with you over 30 ways to add fitness to your daily routine.
Because of the physical and mental benefits of exercising, I used to never struggle with the motivation to exercise. I was a regular (if not obsessed) exerciser. It felt natural to have exercise a part of my daily routine. Before having children, I worked out 6-7 days per week.
Now with children at home, I find that it can be much harder. Some days it’s hard for me to find the motivation to fit in even a quick workout. I used to get frustrated about the decrease in motivation but then realized that I just needed to adjust my expectations and get more creative about fitting the exercise into my day.
You may have to try hard to sneak in your workout. You may have to prepare a little so you cannot give into the excuse that you don’t have the time.
Here are over 30 ways to add fitness to your daily routine:
Schedule it in. If you don’t write exercise into your schedule, you may not get around to it. Add your workout to your calendar and stick to it!
Exercise in the morning. It’s a great feeling to complete your workout, shower, and be ready for your day by 7 AM. There are also typically fewer time commitments that can get in the way of working out in the morning than during the rest of the day.
Create goals that are realistic for your time of life. Do you have 3 children under 4? Maybe now isn’t the best time to set the goal of running a marathon. Be realistic about what you can accomplish at this time in your life. Get free Goal Setting Printables here!
Make a Health and Wellness plan. Sometimes just taking a step back and evaluating where you are with your health and wellness can be motivating. Use this Health & Wellness Planner to help you set goals and track your progress.
Pick an efficient workout. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is an efficient workout when you are short on time. When you don’t have a large window of time, focus on quality, not quantity. This list also includes links to videos and other workouts that are helpful if you have trouble setting aside a large amount of time to workout.
Find a workout partner. If you have a time and place set up to meet, it’s harder to skip. You won’t want to ditch your plans when you have someone waiting for you.
Find an accountability partner. Text a friend every morning after you complete your workout or find an app with an accountability feature.
If you need accountability in your fitness journey, check out FASTer Way to Fat Loss. This program is based on science-backed strategies with whole-food nutrition plus fast + effective workouts. When you join, you get a coach for accountability, training, and support…along with access to an accountability group. When you sign up you fill out a questionnaire that will be sent along to a coach. I like the personalization and education in this program so far.
Sign up for a class. Spending the money will probably motivate you to complete the class. A little skin in the game never hurts. I did this when I purchased the MUTU System.
Limit screen time. I know. It’s much easier to browse Facebook, but you will feel much better after a 20-minute walk than 20 minutes on Facebook. Trust me.
Find a challenge or make up your own. There are so many online challenges to join. Search around Pinterest or check out The Balanced Life for free pilates challenges. Here is her 3-Week Pilates Summer Series.
Here are a few ideas
- Grokker – includes at-home fitness videos and a free 14-day trial. UPDATE: You can try Grokker is FREE during the month of January 2021.
- FASTer Way to Fat Loss – This program is based on science-backed strategies with whole-food nutrition plus fast + effective workouts. When you join, you get a coach for accountability, training, and support…along with access to an accountability group.
- MUTU System is a 12 week ‘Mummy Tummy’ & Diastasis Recti Program
Set our your clothes the night before. If you are off to work in the morning, all you have to do is grab your gym bag as you head out the door. As you leave work, you won’t have the excuse that you don’t have your gym clothes along.
Find your exercise purpose. Do you want to be healthier for your children? Get rid of aches and pains? Complete your first 10K? Lose weight? Having a reason for your exercise may help you to enjoy it rather than just get through it. It may make it easier to form a new habit.
Track your progress. Write out the detail of your exercise each week or just check off that you did something. Many say a key component of achieving a goal is to write it down. It’s motivating to see the number of days you workout add up. It can also motivate you to improve week to week. Use this free Fitness Tracker printable to record your weekly workouts.
Track your steps. Use your FitBit (I had the Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker before I got a Garmin Forerunner 245 for running) or just find a cheap pedometer to track your activity throughout the day.
Break your goal down into smaller pieces. Is your health goal to lose 50 pounds? Focus on the first 10 and then worry about the next 10 later.
Reward yourself. I must admit that this isn’t the most motivating factor for me. I’m just too cheap to reward myself and am simply happy with how much better I feel when I workout. I do know that many people are motivated by new workout gear, a pedicure, or another splurge for keeping a consistent workout schedule. If it works for you, go with it!
Although here are a few rewards I could get used to: Ellie (fitness apparel and gear). There are all boxes I have ordered and the quality and value is very high!
Buy fun workout gear. While workout gear is not my most motivating factor, it is fun to get a new tank top or pair of leggings. Check out Fabletics or Ellie. There are so many options (both inexpensive and too expensive!) of great gear out there.
Add variety. If you worry about getting bored, don’t forget to vary up your exercise.
Have a list of workouts ready to go. If you workout at home, don’t spend the first 10 minutes of your workout finding the perfect online workout video. Have a list of your favorites, so you can use your workout time efficiently. Here is a list to get you started.
Do what you love! If you despise running, try another activity. If you are not fond of exercising, you may not absolutely LOVE whatever exercise you choose. If you really hate it, though, try to find something you can tolerate better. Find something that fits your lifestyle and desires.
Focus on a daily habit. Sometimes the best way to start a new habit is to force yourself to do it daily until it becomes your new routine.
Walk on your lunch break. Not only will you be efficiently fitting exercise into your day, but you will probably feel more alert in the afternoon.
Have a walking work meeting. If you spend much of your day sitting, a walking meeting will be great for your health. This is also another way to get rid of the afternoon slump.
Exercise date. My husband and I spent many of our first dates running or cycling together.
Catch up with a friend. It makes your workout go by much faster!
Include the family. Enjoy your evenings with a family walk or bike ride.
Walk or bike to work. Make your commute your workout.
Always be prepared. Keep an extra pair of tennis shoes in your car. You never know when you may have a few extra minutes to take a quick walk. If you have a few minutes while waiting for your child to get done with practice, walk around the block instead of scrolling through your phone.
Turn your chores into exercise. Yard work, shoveling, cleaning. Add a little vigor to it!
Add snippets of exercise into your day. Squats while you brush your teeth? Or while trying to get your newborn to sleep in the middle of the night? OK…maybe only I am strange enough to do that. :)
Be flexible. Did you have a 5 mile run scheduled, but life got in the way? Find another day.
How do you fit your exercise into your day?
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Originally posted February 14, 2016.
Great motivation! I get up before the kids to get it done, or it may never happen. And how true is that about Facebook?? Get off and get moving instead – love that! Great post!
It feels so great to get it done in the morning! Nice work. :)
Michelle @ Moms Are Frugal says
Great post with a lot of great tips.I do have small children and homeschool but I need to get back in the habit of my morning workout. I do really well in the summer but it falls by the wayside in the winter.
It is so much easier to incorporate working out into our days when it’s warmer out! Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Michelle.
Fabiola Rodriguez says
These are very useful tips. For me, setting a purpose and tracking my progress are essential for staying on track.
Yep. Tracking progress is soo helpful! Thanks for stopping by!
Amazing tips Emily! Love this post. I need to remember to schedule a share for it!
Thanks Beth! Thanks for the shares also. :)
Mother of 3 says
I have been really struggling with this! I put it on my planner each day, put on my exercise gear, and somehow dinner comes around and I still have not gotten around to exercising. I decided that instead of setting a 30 min. everyday goal I’m going to start with 15 then move up to 20, etc. until I”m where I want to be. This list was helpful; thank you!
15 minutes is so much better than nothing. So I hope that works well for you!
good tips. I think finding an exercise that you really enjoy and really sticking with it is important. It has to become part of your daily routine to become habit
Liz Jo says
Great ways to find motivation for exercise! My main goals are to stay healthy to keep up with my daughter who seems to have boundless amounts of energy.
liz @ j for joiner
Awesome tips! Making it a daily habit is was really was a game changer for me. First I connected exercise with a different activity I did throughout the day. Each time I did x then I had to do y. Maybe every time I went to the bathroom then I did 10 push ups. Now I do pilates every morning, but I had to start somewhere smaller.
Do X and then you have to do Y. I love that! I may try and incorporate that into my day! Pushups is a good idea.
Thanks for sharing what worked for you!
This is a habit I am hoping to develop soon. This year my focus is on living a healthier lifestyle and I am adding new habits every month or so. Thanks for the encouragement and ideas.
Stefanie (@LexieLooDylan2) says
Stopping by from the linkup! Thank you for your tips. I love to meet my friend for a walk/run once a week. We get to chat and exercise at the same time!
The one thing that worked for me was : Stick to what I LIKE! I love swimming & biking and thats the only thing I do. Any other exercise that I start , I give up pretty soon!
These tips are interesting! Would love to see your posts in the Practical Mondays Link Up:)
I don’t have any excuses. No children at home. Just a computer that takes up way to much time. But today I was good, went for a walk. Didn’t feel like doing it, but when I got back, I felt great. Awesome tips here for really anyone.
Kathryn Shirey says
Great ideas! It’s hard to fit in exercise with kids, a job, and all the other stuff we do -but so essential. I love when the weather’s nice and I can take the kids for a bike ride or play football/baseball/soccer with them in the park. We’re spending time together and I get a little exercise.
Keri Snyder says
Love these ideas! Sometimes we can get caught up into only thinking of fitness as one thing. It is great to see all of the options that can then fit into our lives
Great tips! My husband and I are getting ready to go to the gym right now:) I Hope you can stop by:
Working out in the morning is always my best bet, especially with kids! I also made my husband my accountability partner and we are marking our progress on a little calendar in our kitchen.
Such a good list and you particularly struck a chord with the 20 minute walk rather than 20 mins of facebook!
I need to get better at fitting exercise in, I’ve recently started going straight past the post box on my drive home from work. Then I make a cuppa, and walk to the post box and back, my tea is just ready to drink by the time I get back and now it’s routine I do it every day. Now I just need to add another thing into my routine, then another….
That is great that walking to the post box became a routine. Little bits of exercise throughout the day add up.
These are some great tips! I have been struggling to fit my workouts in lately. I just feel like I never have enough time or I have to sacrifice time with my family to workout.
These are great tips! I do several of them, but I find setting goals and a visible plan works best to keep me motivated. It is also key for me to have accountability.
Ruthie Gray says
Some of my most favorite workouts have been with friends. I’m in a time of life where I need to just do it in my basement and be done with it and not waste time driving somewhere (like cross-fit that I tried to like for two years but at least I made friends)!
This is so good and practical, Emily. Sharing!
Yes! I have been on more walks with my mom, husband, cousins, and friends over the years. Such a wonderful time, but much harder to fit in these days. Some days you just need to get it done. :)
Thank you so much for sharing the post, Ruthie!
Michele Morin says
Yup, I do need this! Thanks for the creativity and variety!
Love this! It’s hard to stay motivated everyday but with all these tips it makes it easier for sure! I always do a HIIT workout in the morning before my daughter is up, and try to stay active in the afternoons by going on a walk but I cant always find time. Maybe 20 less minutes on Pinterest would help!
karyl henry says
These are great tips! I agree with you that working out in the morning is better, and “stuff” can easily get in the way in the afternoon But sometimes my bed just keeps dragging me back :)
I love these suggestions! Especially the exercise dates. My husband and I went hiking on our first date and we still love to get out and exercise together. I’m just about to have our first baby so I’m looking forward to trying some of these tips in the coming months!
Hiking as a first date? That is the best. :)
When our first daughter was born, we were still able to get out on walks together. I was thankful for strollers and baby carriers! I hope you are still able to get out together after you welcome your baby into your life!
We definitely plan on it! We have a stroller, and we each have a baby carrier (his is for long-distance hikes, mine is more for grocery store trips, etc.) so we don’t have any excuse not to get in lots of activity. Thanks for the motivation! :)
Thank you for this list! Exercise is not on my list of favourite activities, but I know how important it is. Last night I began a game of tennis that will run for the next 12 weeks. I have been having weekly tennis coaching lessons for the past five months, so it was really fun to actually play the game. After playing for just over an hour, I felt really good! Tired but good. This morning, I feel a few aches in my muscles. I know it is good for me so I will try to incorporate more exercise into my week. Thanks for the tips.
It definitely helps to have something scheduled out like that!
I love exercising at the beginning of the day, so that I don’t have it hanging over my head as something that I need to get done. Yes, I too count yard work and the big chores as exercise for the day, although I should probably put a little more vigor into it! One of my favorite ways to squeeze in a quick workout is doing a YouTube video. There are so many 15 minute workouts available!
I agree. While I enjoy exercising, it’s always nice to get it done early!
Thanks for stopping by, Emily!
Jen @ Women Winning Online says
Squats while you brush your teeth?! You are my hero! I need to be more conscience about doing small things like that combined with my small tasks I do every day. Great tips!
Ha! That hardly deserves hero status…it’s kind of odd. ;)
K. Ann Guinn says
I find that doing workouts that I enjoy is key. If it feels too difficult, painful or lengthy, I have trouble committing to exercise. I’ve learned that doing anything is much better than nothing! And at my almost-50 years of age, I have to be a little more careful not to strain my joints. :)
I most often try for a half-hour video, but often resort to a 10-15 minute session, rather than skip it altogether.
Also, a brisk walk out side can be a refreshing and healthy change for your day! Even small steps like parking farther away from a store can add up to healthy movement.
You shared some great ideas!
I agree. There are so many options for exercise, it doesn’t make sense to do something you don’t enjoy!
I am with you on parking farther away. Even just an extra minute of fresh air and a little walk is nice. :)
This is really the bible of daily fitness! You are so spot on. I recently started getting up earlier to work out, not only do I actually have time to do it now, but I have more energy and I feel more focused throughout the day. You’re so right about finding something you love and I 100% agree. I used to run but am not a huge fan of it, until I found Jazzercise. Now when I wake up at 5:45 I’m always a little skeptical, but I remember how much fun I have and it’s just the motivation I need to get dressed and just do it. Pinning, stumbling and tweeting this. <3
Yeah for more energy and focus throughout the day!
Thank you so much for sharing!! I appreciate it. :)
Heather @ Simply Save says
I love this! I hate working out so I’m always trying to find ways to sneak in some exercise! Thanks for sharing on the Small Victories Sunday Linkup!
thanks so much for these! I’m working on doing some kind of activity every day so I try to fit in treadmill walking or jogging for 30 minutes to 1 hour every day and its going great so far :) I’ll have to try some of your suggestions as well!
Sabrina @ Sabrina'sOrganizing says
This is great! Thanks for sharing all these great ways to add fitness to your daily routine. I noticed if I don’t have my sneakers next to my standing desk treadmill, I don’t walk in the morning. So, I place an extra pair of sneakers there.
Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper says
Love these tips! I have been using my FitBit this year to track my steps and it’s really funny that a little watch is motivating me to move more!
It’s funny how one little stat will be so motivating!
Deborah Davis says
I can see by the comments that this really hit a nerve. This is always on my to-do list so thank you for sharing these wonderful suggestions. Gotta go work in some workout time now! Hopped over from Coffee and Conversation. Pinning this!
Excellent tips Emily! I have tried working our at home during the day and its just so hard with my kids needing me. I also agree that morning is best. I started going running and to a bootcamp at 5:30am and it feels so good to have it done. Having someone to workout with like you said is a great motivator!
Joan @ Bible Verse Prayer says
When is the best time for work outs?
Some said morning, some said evening.
Does time actually have different impacts?