10 Ways to Sneak In a Workout (Even When You're Super Busy)

Finding time to work out is sometimes easier said than done. When you're pressed for time, try these tips to squeeze in an exercise session.

a person running outdoors while wearing a backpack and smart watch
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Sure, 24 hours a day sounds like a lot, but it's almost never enough time to fit in work or school, catching up with family and friends, hobbies, a good night's sleep...deep breath. Here's how to find time to work out even when your schedule is all over the place.

01 of 10

Set Your Alarm Early

zoomed in picture of a phone with alarms set every five minutes

Becoming an a.m. exerciser means you get to cross your workout off your to-do list first thing. Don't skip out on sleep to work in a workout, but consider taking a simple step to reset your sleep schedule and wake up earlier. For example, if you can't quite get yourself out of bed that early, wear your athleisure instead of pajamas so it's a cinch to get your sweat on as soon as you wake up.

02 of 10

Turn Your Commute into a Workout

a person running outdoors while wearing a backpack and smart watch

On days that Monica Vazquez, a master trainer for New York Sports Clubs in New York City, can't do her usual run, she stuffs her essentials — keys, cash, credit card, phone, and ID — into a fanny pack and jogs home from work instead. "Running is a great workout, but it's also great transportation," she says. "Sometimes I get home even earlier than I normally do taking the subway," adds Vazquez.

Not into pounding the pavement? Instead, try biking to work, getting off your bus or train a few stops earlier, or parking the car further away to extend your walk.

03 of 10

Make Your Office Your Home Gym

a person in a blazer and jeans doing elevated push-ups on a communal desk
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Yes, it's possible to get your daily dose of exercise without stepping foot outside of your office. "Sit on a stability ball to strengthen your core, and keep dumbbells or exercise tubing at your desk," suggests Gregory Florez, an ACSM-certified personal trainer and CEO of V2 Performace. "Squeeze in 12 to 15 reps of exercises like dumbbell curls, overhead presses, and ab crunches; aim for two or three sets of each," he adds.

04 of 10

Sneak In a Lunch Break Workout

model in office attire sitting at a desk and looking at their phone
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Make use of your precious 60 minutes by hitting the gym, doing a speedy HIIT session, or going for a walk. Not only will you feel more energized, but studies have also proven that you'll be more productive during the day by logging off for an hour than you would be by eating lunch at your desk.

05 of 10

Take the Kids with You

a person, maybe a parent, jogging outside with a jogging stroller
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Got a young brood? Invest in a jogging stroller to get your miles in without paying big bucks for a sitter. Or strap your bundle of joy into a carrier and do squats for extra resistance and a fun distraction.

06 of 10

Multitask on the Treadmill

a person on a treadmill in an empty gym
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Save time at the gym with this 10-minute cardio/upper body session from Michael George, the author of Body Express Makeover: Trim and Sculpt Your Body in Less Than Six Weeks:

"Hop on a treadmill holding a three- to five-pound dumbbell in each hand, and set the speed to a brisk walk. Do a one-minute set each of shoulder presses, biceps curls, triceps extensions, side laterals, front laterals, and standing triceps kickbacks one after another as you walk. It's an amazing upper-body challenge that also gets your heart pumping. Do this series two or three times each week. As you improve, work up to doing four-minute sets."

07 of 10

Make It a Date

four people high-fiving after a group fitness workout

Here's one way you can sweat like a medal-winning athlete: Go on a fitness date like Olympic figure skating gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi. She and husband, NHL player Bret Hedican, set up exercise dates to keep themselves accountable. Single? Invite your friends to try a new gym class instead of hitting happy hour.

08 of 10

Don't Just Wait Around

people standing on a subway platform either looking at their phones or looking at the train doors
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All the time spent waiting for the subway to arrive, the microwave to ding, or the checkout line to move really adds up, so why not sneak in a bit of exercise while you're standing there? Biggest Loser winner Ali Vincent says one of her favorite solutions for how to find time to work out can be found in the aisles of her local store. Crank out lunges, toe raises, and squats at the checkout line, suggests Vincent. "People might look at you like you're silly, but who cares?" she adds.

09 of 10

Get Moving While You Watch TV

a person in exercise pants turning on the television with a stability ball nearby, likely working out while watching TV

Just because you're catching up on Love Island doesn't mean you can't do push-ups, jumping jacks, and squats too. Clear up some space between the couch and the TV so you don't miss any of the drama while breaking a sweat. Need an extra nudge? Move your dumbbells, jump rope, and other fitness equipment near the tube to give yourself visible reminders.

10 of 10

Power Up Your Stair Climbs

shot of a person's legs as they climb concrete stairs

"Instead of walking leisurely up a flight of stairs, gradually increase your speed and the number of stairs you take in one minute," says Kari Anderson, an ACE-certified group fitness instructor and the owner of the Seattle Gym. "Take two steps at once — if you're able to do it safely — and you'll target your glutes even more," she adds.

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