Swellness Blog


Exercises When You're Short On Time

fitness Nov 06, 2023
exercises when short on time

Photo by Dara on Unsplash

Everyone understands the importance of exercise, but getting enough exercise to support your health and manage your weight can seem difficult with a busy schedule. Luckily, you can do mini-exercises when you're short on time and accumulate exercise throughout the day, and it's just as effective as a single continuous session. So whether you hit the gym for an hour a day or do mini-exercises throughout the day, you'll get the same amount of exercise without the need for a 30-minute block of time. Wondering how to do it? Check out these creative exercises for when you're short on time:

Running the Stairs

If you work in an office, you likely get at least a half-hour for lunch. Of course, you should spend this time enjoying your food, but you can also split it up and run the stairs during your lunch break to get your heart rate up and work your glutes and legs. Consider buying and bringing running gifts like shoes and other items like comfortable sports bras that you may need to run the stairs for at least ten minutes on your lunch break. We guarantee you'll feel the burn. In addition, you can run the stairs during any of your breaks. Whenever you need to get up from your desk to stand and stretch, consider hitting the stairs for a few minutes to get a burst of energy.


Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Play Time With Kids & Pets

If you have kids and pets, they probably have a ton of energy and love running around. Consider actively participating in playtime. You can play a game of tag with children and pets or run around your yard having a good time with your family. Running around is a great way to get your heart pumping, and with children and pets, exercise is fun!

Walking Meetings

Walking meetings allow you to accomplish two things at once. Instead of taking a sit-down meeting, you can request walking meetings in which you walk with someone instead of sitting at a conference table or desk. Walking meetings are ideal for teams and coworkers, but they might not be appropriate when you need to present something to a client. Still, if you have a daily team meeting, consider grabbing your reusable water bottles, go outside and get a great workout in with your team to start the day.

Exercise While Doing Other Things

Even though you're always on the go, you likely have some downtime. Whether it's 5 minutes or 30, it doesn't matter; you can exercise while doing just about anything, including watching television, cooking, or talking on the phone. So whether you're in your office or preparing dinner for the family, you can run in place, do jumping jacks, or stretch the entire time to get your blood pumping and help your body burn some additional calories.


Believe it or not, housework is exercise, especially if it gets your heart pumping and you work up a sweat during it. While not all types of cleaning and chores burn tons of calories, some do. For example, vacuuming your house can help you build muscle, especially if you have a heavy vacuum, and since it requires you to walk around and bend over to pick things up, it could be a great way to burn some extra calories throughout the day. Also, if you are doing some deep cleaning and remodeling your kitchen for optimized space in the house, you are getting a great amount of cardio in. When you are remodeling any part of your house you are on your feet lifting, and moving heavy objects around for hours. Let’s face it, most of us would rather spend an etire day remodeling if it meant it’d be fully complete. Therefore, all the movement can equate to an entire workout.

Walk the Dog

If you have a dog, taking them for a daily walk is a great way to exercise when you're short on time. Instead of standing outside holding your dog's leash while they sniff around and look for the perfect spot to do its business, you can walk them around the block in the same amount of time it takes to stand near your dog and do nothing. Dogs love walks, and taking your dog for a walk around the block can help you form a stronger bond while ensuring both of you get the exercise you need to stay healthy.


Squats can be done anytime and anywhere, so whether you're watching television at home or watching the dog play in the yard, you can do squats throughout the day to work your glutes and thighs while working up a sweat. The best part is that squats don't take too much time, and you can gradually increase the number of squats you do to strengthen your entire body. If you're a fan of squats, also check out these squat alternatives to get some squat variation ideas.


Dancing is a great stress reliever and allows you to work every muscle in your body. Dancing to your favorite music throughout the way can increase your mood and help you burn some additional calories, and it only takes about eight to ten songs for you to get a full 30 minutes of exercise. Of course, if you can't block out a full 30 minutes of your time, you can dance throughout the day. For example, you can dance around when:

  • Doing chores
  • Taking a break from work
  • Cooking
  • Watching television


Many fitness classes are designed for those who are short on time. They typically take 30 minutes, so you'll need to find a way to block out at least that much time for the class and more time to get there and back. However, since classes are concise, they're a great way to fit exercise into your week, even if you can't go every day.


If you're short on time but need to get somewhere, the best way may be to take your bike! Of course, biking to work isn't ideal for everyone, but if you live close enough to the office and don't want to pay parking fees around the city, can be a great alternative while ensuring you get enough exercise every day.

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of exercise every week. However, when and how you get that exercise doesn't matter. Breaking these minutes into smaller exercises can help you reach your goals and ensure you're getting enough exercise to promote total body health.

When you have no time to exercise, you must commit to finding time, even if it means only exercising for five minutes at a time multiple times throughout the day. Mini exercises can support physical and mental health while helping you feel your best.

About the Author

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.