One excuse I hear often from women who don’t exercise consistently is lack of time. This article looks at ways that you can find time to fit in exercise so you can enjoy the benefits of a more active lifestyle.

Don’t get discouraged by guidelines

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. That is 2 1/2 hours of exercise every week or 30 minutes on most days. If you have limited time that can seem like an impossible task. But don’t feel that if you don’t have time to exercise for 150 minutes each week that you shouldn’t bother. Any amount of exercise will provide benefits so if you are starting out at 10 minutes at a time this will still be good for you.

Fit in small amounts throughout the day

If you don’t have 30 minutes to exercise don’t feel like it is not worth doing. A 10 minute workout is a good place to start. You could also try the 7 minute workout. Download an app to get started.

Schedule in your workout

If you find the day has gone by and you didn’t find time to exercise, try adding it to your schedule or your to do list. You are more likely to do it if it is an item on your schedule at a specific time or an item you have to check off your to do list.

Workout first thing in the morning

If your workout is in the middle of the day, after work, or in the evening it’s easy for something to get in the way. Maybe you had to work late, so you can’t stop for your workout, or you find out your volunteer organization is meeting tonight or your daily chores just took longer and you need to make dinner. It’s easy to find something that gets in the way of your workout. But if you set your alarm half an hour early and get up and workout there is less likely to be anything getting in the way. Morning exercise leaves you refreshed and more focused the rest of your day. And you get to check it off your to do list.

Exercise at home or at work

Part of finding time to exercise is the travel time. If it takes 15 minutes to get to the gym, then your 30 minute workout becomes an hour. Factor in time spent getting in to the gym, checking in, talking to your friends or waiting for equipment and your 30 minute workout can really eat into your day.

One alternative is to set up a home gym and do your workout at home. This means you can easily do a workout first thing in the morning, while dinner is cooking or while catching your favourite show on TV.

Check out my post on setting up a home gym for some ideas on how to get started.

If you have a gym at work, you can get in a quick workout before work, at lunch or at the end of the day. If not bring your runners and maybe some exercise clothes and head out for a quick walk or run at lunch time.

Use circuit training to maximize your workout efficiency

Strength training is important for women, but if you are reading this article you probably don’t have hours to spend on a resistance training program that involves multiple sets and long rest periods. You can make your workout more efficient by using circuit training.

Circuit training has been around for decades but it is still an efficient way to work out. With circuit training you group exercises in groups of 2 to 4 or more exercises, trying not to include the same muscle group.

Look at high intensity interval training

Do you want to find a way to get in a high quality workout in the least amount of time? High intensity interval training might be for you. High intensity interval training is an efficient workout that boosts your metabolism, and increases your fitness.

Don’t start with a high intensity workout if you haven’t been exercising. But if this appeals to you I’ve discussed how to get started with interval training.

Increase the intensity

150 minutes is recommended for moderate intensity exercise, but you can get more benefits exercising for less time at a higher intensity. Rather than spend 45 minutes on the exercise bike at a moderate intensity, increase your intensity after the warmup one or more levels higher than normal, but know that you can stop sooner. Just like with interval training, even a short time at high intensity has big benefits.

Exercise with your spouse, your family or a friend

If you are torn between spending time with a loved one or getting in exercise, why not do both? Instead of meeting for lunch or a coffee, meet for a walk, a bike ride or an exercise class. You will both be healthier for it. Working out with some one else helps to keep you motivated. If you know you are meeting your friend at the gym at 7 AM, you won’t hit the snooze button when you get up.

Do a time diary

Does it seem like you just have no time in the day to fit in exercise? To find out if that is true, do a time diary. Starting when you wake up, look at what you are doing all day and see what is wasted time and when you might be able to fit in some exercise. It looks something like this

6 AM wakeup
6-6:30 hit snooze button
6:30 – 7:30 shower, breakfast, get ready for work
7:30 – 8:30 commute, stuck in traffic

You start to notice things like, “If I got up at 6 when the alarm went off, I would probably get to work 20 minutes faster. I could get a workout in at the gym in our building and still start on time”. Use some of the hints I’ve included to see where you can sneak in a few minutes to exercise.


It may seem like finding time to exercise is impossible, but if you use these tips you will find that you can fit in a few minutes or more. If you are looking for help getting started with your exercise plan, then sign up for this free exercise plan designed specifically for women going through menopause this free exercise plan designed specifically for women going through menopause