Blog Posts

How Do You Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Day?

It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

This week I asked our panel of experts a question that I know is on a lot of your minds.

“Let's talk again about exercise.

How do you fit movement into your daily schedule without guilt?”

It's about finding small pockets of opportunity to take care of YOU.

I think you'll find the responses inspiring.

terryTerry Dean of My Marketing Coach says:

One of the best things for my health was moving to Florida over 4 years ago. Both my wife and I lost weight since we moved here, because we aren't trapped inside during the winter like we were back in Indiana. It's pretty amazing what a difference location has made.

I walk my two dogs every day. Once I made that habit, they make sure I stick to it. And during regular breaks throughout the day I'll play ball with them in the backyard. Instead of sitting there stressing about what to write or do, I'll get up and start moving. Some of the best brainstorming is during the walks.

Terry and his Dogs

I also have a weight set on our lanai which I workout with 3 times a week. In the summer time I worked out first thing in the morning to avoid the heat. Now that it's a little cooler I'll change this over to right before lunch. It becomes a break right in the middle of my day.

What I've found is exercise and movement get ideas flowing…which is the business we're in online. It doesn't take time away because your mind is still working in the background on the day's projects.

Jeanette S. Cates, PhD of Plan Your Online Business says:

We all agree that we feel better when we exercise, but sometimes in the midst of a project it's hard to remember that. I use a Happy Face timer.

Not only does it make me smile, but it reminds me to get up out of my chair every 45 minutes and walk around for a few minutes, maybe even vacuum a room or two. On good exercise days I dance to one or two tunes or turn on the Wii and dance to one of the dance videos so I can keep up with my grandkids.

Although I don't do as much as I “should” I enjoy walking the hike and bike trails in our neighborhood. On rainy days I go the mall that is only 3 minutes away. If I'm really feeling ambitious I walk the pool at our health club.

Note from Nik:  See Cute Timers on Amazon

Kevin Riley of Blogpreneur Training says:

Every day, I walk briskly. In fact, I no longer own a car. I walk everywhere. Sometimes, I'll take a train out to the countryside and go trail running (I love trail running like a mad man). Every Wednesday evening, I hit the boxing gym, beat the crap out of the heavy bag, go a few rounds with another boxer (I am in fact sporting a slightly fat lip today from this Wednesday's sparring), and then join the music boxing group for 30 minutes of all-out boxing aerobics. I feel fantastic after 2 hours of the boxing gym.

Movement - Kevin Riley

**Update: This week, I'm suffering badly bruised or cracked ribs (not sure as I passed on going to doctor) after challenging a semi-pro boxer half my age (yes, I am that crazy). I won the fight overall, but took a nasty powerhouse shot to my left ribs near the end. Don't make me laugh – it hurts. LOL. Ouch.

Dr. Mani of How to Set Goals says:

Outside professional work, I drive sparingly and only if the place I'm going to is over 2 kilometers away, or it's raining. For all other things, I walk.

When I drive, I try and park some distance away to squeeze in some brisk walking in between.

When it's less than 4 floors up, I take the stairs, not the elevator.

While working at a computer, I take breaks every hour or so, to walk around the house for a few minutes.

I've fit in an evening walk of around an hour with my daughter, a ritual we try and stick with every day. It works, more or less.

Not quite “exercise” in the sense of serious workouts, but you'd be amazed at how healthy it can be to walk briskly and regularly!

rachelRachel Rofe of How To Get Every Book You Write Onto The First Page Of Kindle says:

I have found that getting exercise finished first thing in the morning is the absolute best way to go for me.

I generally hate commitments :), and scheduling anything during the day feels like I have to schedule my whole day around that commitment.

When I work out first thing in the morning, it's done, I don't have to think about it any more, and the rest of the day is free to do as I please.

Every morning I wake up, drink 8 oz of water, fill up my water bottle, grab my iPhone and headphones, and walk to the gym.

As a bonus to doing this, working out first thing in the morning puts you in a good mood for the rest of the day and is also best for your metabolism.

Sometimes, if I'm feeling ultra productive, I'll pop in audio trainings and learn as I treadmill. Other times, I'll just play music that makes me happy. 🙂

Note from Nik: If you want some free audio training, check out my podcast –

EricaErica Douglass of Market Vibe says:

I love the new game Ingress — it's made by Google and available on Android phones. You play in real life, so you physically have to walk to historical markers to play the game. It's quite fun. In the 3 days I've been playing it, I've walked/jogged nearly 3 miles just to “hack some portals” in the game.

It will be available for iOS next year, but in the meantime, it has quite an active base of Android players (over 1 million people are actively playing already!) I am on the “Resistance” side.

kellyKelly McCausey of Solo Smarts Podcast says:

I belong to a 24 hour gym and am fortunate that it's right around the corner from me.

I know it's hard to believe, but I like going to the gym.

Give me a bunch of podcasts to listen to and a not too busy gym and I'm a happy gal. My key to making this happen is going late at night, after the usual evening crowd has thinned out. After eleven at night it's usually just me and a few young guys who keep to the ‘big weights' and leave me to roam the machines without interruption.

I'd like to add another source of movement to my schedule – like maybe a daily walk around my neighborhood? I might also get back to volunteering at the local women's shelter – that was a great way to be more active. This is more practical, especially with winter so close, I don't see myself wanting to wander my streets in the snow.

I'm curious about adding a standing desk to my home office – I've heard many fellow podcasters say they prefer recording from a standing position and I'd like to give it a try. I've scouted out a few options and I like the smaller, mobile versions best.

Laptop Computer Desk/Podium Cart (Black)

I'd love to hear other's experiences with this sort of thing!

Kristen Eckstein of HOLY COW SHE WRITES A LOT OF BOOKS says:

NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

First of all, let me give kudos to my buds.

You’re all awesome! Whether you realize it or not, you’ve inspired me.

Let me share a few things that have helped me over the years..

1. My best friend, the timer.

I use a timer for everything in my house. It is my lifesaver. So, for instance, I’ll set the timer for 45 minutes of work, then I take 15 minutes to walk around, do laundry, exercise, head outside for a bit, whatever. It may not seem like much, but it really works on helping you stay focused — and off Facebook!

When I really need to lose weight fast, I try to break up my day so that I do focused work for 30-50 minutes, then do physical activity (like squats and situps) for 10-20 minutes then repeat. If I can do that 4-6 times in my day, that helps to keep my metabolism up all day long.

2. Wearing running shoes.

I find that it’s silly, but if I put on my running shoes first thing in the morning, I move more during the day than if I’m barefoot. Plus, I can’t climb on the couch or in bed for a nap as easily. (ducking and running)

3. Don’t work weekends.

I try not to work much on the computer (if at all) on the weekends, unless I’m launching a big project (or if something major happened during the week- fun or otherwise).

4. Outsourcing.

I know, it’s not directly related to exercise, but it keeps my butt out of the chair, which helps.

5. Freezer Cooking.

Again, I know it’s not directly related, but if I have meals in my freezer that are healthy, I’m much much much less likely to order pizza at night or go out to eat.

6. Exercise 7 Days/Week.

I used to plan exercise days and plan my “recovery” days back when I was a gym rat. Now, I aim to work out every day so that when life gets in the way and I miss one, it’s  no big deal.

7. Public Accountability.

It helps to have other people pestering me about how I’m doing. Accountability works.

8. Finding wasted time and making it useful.

My daughter is in chorus and dance classes in downtown Pensacola which is a 15-20 minute drive from home. I found myself sitting around for an hour to an hour and a half several times per week while she was at practice. I was too far from home for it to make sense to run back to work, so I'd sit and play Words with Friends or watch Hulu. So, after a year of that, the next year, I joined a gym right near where her rehearsals are. I find that, in the hour or so from when I drop her to pick her up, I can get really sweaty. I have just enough time to run to the gym, park, get inside, and get a good workout. It's not ideal, but it works for me. (Exercise without guilt is a good thing.)

That's it for me. Now it's your turn. How do you find time to exercise in your busy day?

Nicole Dean

PS. This is a great opportunity to tell you about my friend, Tiffany Lambert (formerly Dow) and her new product. Check out Work Life Balance to get a good butt-kicking about making sure you keep your priorities in line.

I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Annette

    I use a standing work station. If I stand for too long my feet get sore, so I HAVE to move. Lots of breaks and planned 3 mile walk in the day helps too.

    • Nicole

      I’m definitely considering trying the standing while working thing. I may experiment with standing by my kitchen island for a bit just to see if it’s doable for me. 🙂

  • Alice Seba

    By scheduling it, just like anything else in a day. I ensure that we, as a family, do two active things together each week. At this time of year, that’s usually indoor swimming and skating.

    Then, on my own, I try to take one morning or afternoon off and get into the outdoors for a hike, bike ride and hopefully soon enough, a snowshoe.

    Of course, walks with the dog happen too because one of them absolutely demands it. I also schedule a yoga break before lunch, at least 3 times a week. It’s a good stress reliever.

    We also made an environmental, health and financial decision to just have one family car. That forces us to get around in foot or on bicycle much more often.

    • Amaryllis Harrop

      I joined Crossfit with my husband! I show up 3 times a week, and they handle the workout. It’s tough, but they also scale down for each individual’s level as well. It’s gotten me in much better shape then when I just used to work out at the gym.

    • Nicole

      Love it, Alice. All great tips. And, you are practicing what you preach. Awesome. 🙂

  • yochana

    You mentioned three of my favorite things: timer, sneakers, and cooking. I use Action Enforcer to remind me it’s time to get off my butt and get moving. I have a fitness blog, so you’d think I wouldn’t need reminded but I do. I’ve also learned that I get more exercise in if I wear sneakers. My biggest problem is eating healthy. So last month I took on the 30 day crock pot challenge. I’m hooked.

    I also keep a kettlebell, flat elastic bands, and my jump rope by my desk. I like to think of them as my “procrastination” toys. 🙂

  • Paul B. Taubman, II

    I belong to a gym – this accomplishes a few things:

    1. Accountability – I have to sign up for a class that will get filled. By signing up, I know I have to show up because I took up a spot that could have gone to someone else.

    2. Working out with people who are better than me helps me get in better shape. They push me to be better.

    3. By scheduling the times, I know I will fit it in. With a definite start time, I know where I have to be. Without it, I might just put it off til later (which never comes!)

    These are also great things to keep in mind with my business 🙂

  • Geri Richmond

    My exercise is always scheduled in the morning because I’m a morning person. I still get up and go get water and tea during the day. Sometimes, I’ll take a break and do something completely different. I take more breaks if I’m having a bad day . When I work, I work with a timer.

  • Moshe

    Well, Gym has become my addiction, so I must visit there every 2 days at the most !
    Great article.

  • Tanya

    Just last night I was looking at workout equitment online. I say a desk that has an excersise bike as the seat. That would be awesome to have.

  • Lynne

    Well, honestly I haven’t found time for exercise this past month and I know I should because I am starting to feel the aches of aging! I hope to start jogging this week. Fingers crossed! Thanks for the tips!

  • Mike Huiwitz

    I’m guilty of not having enough exercise. Guess I have to organize my schedule.

  • Andrea Travillian

    I consider exercise my non-negotiable item of the day. It is the first thing on my to do list and it does not come off till it is done. I review my schedule the night before and figure out what the best time is to workout and then add it in for that day. Being a mom running a business my days are not exactly the same and I am not much of a morning person, so I allow myself the flexibility of when but don’t allow myself out of it. Exercise keeps my mind clear, my stress down and my energy up!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.