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Healthy Balance

No Time to Exercise? 7 Tips to Be More Active

Woman at home office is walking on under desk treadmill

You've got deadlines at work. You're packing lunches and dropping kids off at school. Now the dog needs to go to the vet. You know being active is good for you, but it feels like there's no time to exercise.

But being more active doesn't have to mean spending hours a day at the gym. Use these 7 tips to make getting more activity in easier.

1. Sit Less, Move More

Maybe adding in an hour workout session each day is too much — especially when you have no time to exercise. Instead, add small chunks of activity. Make it a goal to sit less throughout the day. Try getting up every hour during the day. Spend 5 minutes standing, walking around, or stretching.

Starting a Workout Routine?

Talk with a UVA Health primary care doctor about the safest way to exercise.

2. Go For a Daily Walk

Don't worry about the time or the distance. Just commit to 1 walk a day, no matter how long or far you go. Before you know it, your walks will be longer than when you started. Sometimes the hardest part of exercising is putting on your shoes and getting out the door.

3. Do Something Fun

It's so much easier to make time for something you enjoy. So find something you look forward to instead of dread. Would you rather watch paint dry than do the elliptical? Try a group exercise class instead. Love bonding with your pup? Take them for a walk outside.

4. Try Something New

This goes back to doing something fun. You might have to try a few activities to find what you like. Don't be afraid to walk around a new area of town, go for a hike, or try a new sport. Try a new class at the gym or ask your friend if you can try their workout.

5. Add It All Up

If it feels like there's no time to exercise, try breaking activity into smaller chunks. Any activity you do throughout the day is good for you. See where you can sneak in a few minutes of walking, stretching, or strength exercises.

6. Make a Plan

It's easier to fit exercise in when you make it automatic instead of a choice. Put it on your calendar. Pack your gym clothes the night before. Don't make yourself think about whether you're going to do it.

7. Don't Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

Sometimes, "I have no time to exercise" really means "I don't have time for my full hour-long workout, so what's the point?" Remember, you don't have to be perfect. Squeezing in 15 or 30 minutes even if you can't do your full workout is still better than 0 minutes. Is it going to take too long to drive to the gym and back? Workout at home that day instead.

Tags: exercise

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