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Exercise: 5 Tips For Making it Happen When You’re Short on Time


When days are hectic, responsibilities seem endless, and schedules are packed tight, exercise is often the first thing to go. It’s easy to throw up our hands and skip workouts when we get short on time.

But physical activity should be at the top of your list each day, and not just because of its longer-term benefits – like decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers; improved muscle and bone strength; and longer lifespan, to name a few. We know that exercise also immediately improves brain function, triggering sharper thinking, quicker learning, and better judgment. Exercise also lowers your risk of anxiety and depression and promotes better sleep.

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In other words, exercise is crucialespecially during times of high stress. Exercise can help you function at your best and can mitigate feelings of being overwhelmed as you manage the many responsibilities you shoulder. Today we’re sharing a few tips for fitting in that workout when you’re short on time:

Move in the morning. The later in the day you plan to exercise, the more likely it is that your workout will get derailed by the demands of your daily life. Lay out your workout clothes the night before, roll out of bed, and get moving before other responsibilities get in the way.

Plan ahead and be analytic. Put your workouts on your calendar in advance—just like you schedule a meeting or medical appointment. At the end of each week, think through your exercise regimen and ask yourself what worked and what didn’t work. Adjust your schedule for next week accordingly.

Do what you love. Choosing workouts that bring you joy is critical for cultivating fitness habits that stand the test of time. Try classes and programs that look fun and effective – and give yourself permission to drop them and try something else if they’re making you miserable.

Don’t overcomplicate it. You don’t have go to a gym or work out for an hour to reap the benefits of exercise. Some of the most effective workouts available are 30-minutes long, or even less.

Rally support. What support do you need to exercise more consistently? Talk to your partner, spouse, and/or friends about your fitness goals and ask for their help. Can they help hold you accountable? Maybe they have fun workout ideas or suggestions for ways you can carve out windows of time for your workout?

Curious about other ways to cultivate physical well-being in your everyday life? Explore Bene’s Body series, where we dig into topics focused on all things physical wellness. And if you have more tips for squeezing a workout into a busy day, drop them in the comments below!

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