How to Find the Time to Exercise

Jamie Staley, NASM-CPT, Pn1

“I don’t have time to exercise.”

Do you want to exercise, but just don’t know when you would fit it in? This can be a common reason that people don’t start an exercise program, mostly because we think it has to look a certain way.

I’m here to give you some tips and ideas to fit in some exercise. Yes, even into your schedule!

Take Stock of Your Time

Making time starts with finding the right time! How do you do this? Try time-blocking for two weeks. Time-blocking simply means you divide your day into chunks of time, usually by the hour.

[Try this template.]

Things to include in your time-blocking:

  • Sleep
  • Work
  • Errands
  • Meals
  • Housework
  • Kid/family activities
  • TV/social media
  • Rest/relaxation
  • hobbies

Once you’ve done this for a couple weeks, hopefully you can see where some time might be for exercise!

Start small

Some activity done every day is extremely beneficial, but if you are pressed for time start with two or three days per week and go from there.

Keep it short

You don’t need to spend hours working out. Start with 30-45 minutes and see how you feel!

Find mini breaks

If you don’t have time for a 45-minute workout, try to find the time for three, 15-minute breaks throughout your day. One in the morning, one at lunchtime, and one in the evening.

Limit TV/social media

We all know that we can spend way too much time in front of the TV or scrolling through social media. Putting a social media timer on your phone can be super helpful in revealing how much time you are actually on your phone! Be sure to add this into your time-blocking and be honest!

Get up earlier

This is towards the bottom of the list because it is not always ideal. I only recommend this option if you can still get at least 7 hours of sleep most nights. Sleep is incredibly important for many aspects of your health, but especially when you start exercising. Sacrificing recovery is not the ideal option.


Can you find a way to exercise with your family? What about walking laps during your son’s soccer practice? Can you walk on a treadmill while you study? What about riding a recumbent bike during a phone conference?

Get creative!

Write down why it is a priority

This is going to be a little bit of a tough love moment: you will find time for the things that are important to you. Take some time and really think through what daily exercise could do for you. Would having more strength help you be more active with your kids? Would walking more help you be able to hike with your family?

Take the time to correlate exercise into how it would impact your daily life and help those around you. Often, people don’t take the time for exercise because they fear they are being selfish.

Taking care of yourself will help you take care of others.

Don’t ignore “good” for “perfect”

Some movement is better than no movement. Even if it’s not what you pictured or it’s not what someone else is doing, don’t discount your efforts!

Next Steps

If tackling a new exercise regime on your own feels too intimidating and confusing, I can help! I am a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and have experience with a wide array of clients.

I will coach you through an individualized plan to meet your goals and help you gain strength and confidence, while cutting through the confusion. I’ll give you the accountability, real information, motivation, and guidance to make lasting change.

In-person or online coaching available! Send me an email at and let’s chat about your goals!

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