Incorporating exercise into a busy work schedule can be challenging, but it’s essential for overall well-being and productivity.
We’ve gathered 8 effective strategies from founders, CEOs, and wellness professionals to help you incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
From scheduling exercise time in advance to forming good habits that boost positivity, discover how these experts make time for fitness amidst their busy schedules.
Table of Contents
- Schedule Exercise Time in Advance
- Embrace a Morning Exercise Routine
- Choose Enjoyable, Brief Exercises
- Accountability and Variety Matter
- Incorporate Frequent Exercise Breaks
- Walking Is Simple and Convenient
- Practice Consistency Over Intensity
- Form Good Habits and Boost Positivity
- Closing Remarks
Schedule Exercise Time in Advance
Every Friday, before you sign off for the week from work, look ahead into your planner or diary for the next week. Block out gaps for exercise (even if that means a 15-minute walk around the block).
If you don’t fill the gap, someone else will—and having it visible each morning prepares the mind to ready the body. Even if it means starting or finishing a little later, you’ll find you have more “brainpower” to solve problems and challenges if you’re taking exercise breaks.
Embrace a Morning Exercise Routine
I prioritize exercise to enhance my focus and well-being, so by creating a morning exercise routine, I ensure I dedicate time specifically for this activity and set a positive tone for the rest of my day.
It serves as a powerful act of self-care that energizes and prepares me to tackle the tasks ahead with a clear and focused mind. By incorporating exercise into my morning routine, I optimize my productivity and cultivate a positive mindset for a successful workday.
Choose Enjoyable, Brief Exercises
An effective strategy to incorporate exercise into a busy work schedule is to do something you don’t consider work. Most times, exercise is considered another item on the “to-do” list and gets knocked off the list.
So, do what you enjoy and give yourself 10 minutes. I mean really, what will 10 minutes take away from your day? Add this time to your schedule and make it something that is doable and self-fulfilling.
Not all exercise requires a gym, strength, or high intensity. Sometimes, just moving (walking, dancing, bouncing, stretching) is all you need—pick one, but please do what benefits you.
Our schedules are busy because we have taken the fun out of self-focus and poured all the energy into outward focus. Give yourself some grace and experiment with the idea that YOU MATTER and bite-sized moments will compound into a regular habit that will make you feel better, aid your well-being, and boost productivity.
Accountability and Variety Matter
Throughout my career, I have always incorporated exercise regularly. When I first started lifting weights, I asked a couple of friends if they wanted to meet at the gym over the summer to train together. I was scrawny, but they kept me motivated, as I knew they would be there every day.
Another thing that helped was putting a reminder on my lock screen with a workout schedule on it. Even when I am busiest, I will fit in a 5-10 minute run to get my heart rate up. At 46, I do Beachbody stuff daily, and it ranges from strength programs to agility and mobility work.
I have been able to manage ADHD without medication because of the natural changes in my brain (increased dopamine and brain-derived neurotrophic factor), and I sleep better. I think I am more successful and in better shape due to it.
As a therapist, I would say you know yourself best, and it’s about finding an accountability mechanism that will help you stay on track and accomplish your goals.
Incorporate Frequent Exercise Breaks
One misconception about exercise is that you have to do it in long sessions for it to count. But when you work long hours, you don’t have the time or energy to hit the gym for an hour. Instead, I find it more effective to incorporate micro-bursts of physical activity throughout the workday.
If you spend a lot of time at a desk, it’s important to take frequent breaks from sitting. This can be as simple as taking a stretch break, going for a brisk walk, or doing standing exercises like squats, even if for just a minute.
Incorporating regular activity into my daily life has benefited my overall well-being and productivity. Not only do I feel physically stronger and healthier, but I also have more mental clarity and focus throughout the day.
Exercise also helps me manage stress and anxiety, which can be especially important during busy work periods. By making exercise a priority, I can show up as my best self both at work and in my personal life.
Walking Is Simple and Convenient
I have found that trying to go to a gym or specific workout classes doesn’t work as well for me as just stepping out of my front door.
Walking has proven to be a great exercise option for me. I can do it anytime that I need a break.
Whether I’m heading out for a three-mile trek or just going for a 10-minute walk to get fresh air, walking just works.
Practice Consistency Over Intensity
For busy individuals, the idea of making time for exercise can seem daunting. However, the key to successfully incorporating exercise into a busy work schedule is consistency over intensity.
Rather than trying to fit in a grueling workout every couple of days, try breaking exercise into small, manageable chunks throughout the day, such as taking a 10-minute walk every hour or doing a few bodyweight exercises during lunch breaks.
Consistency builds the habit, and over time, the positive impact on overall well-being and productivity will become apparent. By prioritizing exercise and making it part of the daily routine, even the busiest of individuals can achieve their fitness goals.
Form Good Habits and Boost Positivity
I used to go running after work. This would often be at 7pm or 8pm, so it really impeded dinner, and my wife was never too happy about it. The pandemic meant working from home and provided more flexibility. I got a better understanding of my daily rhythms. It means I could exercise when I had a bit of a concentration dip.
Post-pandemic, work became really busy, and stopping mid-morning just didn’t happen. My exercise hours went through the floor, together with my happiness. I hadn’t previously noticed the correlation between exercise and positivity.
I realized, particularly because I am working from home, I need to make exercise a habit. I knew also that if I scheduled it during the working day, it would get bumped for meetings and the habit would never be formed.
I now ride my bike before work. I took on a challenge of 2023 miles in 2023, and it has been enough to cement the habit. And I know that the habit will remain long after the challenge is complete.
There you go, a handy collection of strategies shared by founders, CEOs, and wellness professionals to help you incorporate exercise into your busy schedule.
Give these strategies a try and see which ones click with you. Remember, everyone’s schedule is different, so find what works best for you.
With a bit of experimentation and commitment, we’re confident that you can seamlessly incorporate exercise into your jam-packed routine.