When You Don't Have Time to Work Out

This is part of a series of tips and suggestions I've learned from the Weight Watchers program. I lost 35 pounds and have maintained that loss for three years (see my before and after pics) and am a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member. 

For many new Weight Watchers members, exercise is a challenge. One of the biggest reasons for not exercising is finding the time to fit it in.

But not having enough time isn't unique to Weight Watchers members. A longtime friend of mine, a fellow vegan who makes fitness and health a top priority, recently emailed me about her dilemma with not having enough time to work out. Because of her job, commute, and childcare, she's limited to going to the gym four days a week and would like to go five or six.

Weight Watchers tells its members that when you don't have time for a full workout, fit in activity wherever and however you can. Some suggestions recently discussed at one of my Weight Watchers meetings include:

I read a lot of fitness magazines, and over the past year or so I've noticed a trend in them advising shorter, intense bursts of activity as opposed to longer, more moderate activity. Women's Health Magazine has a monthly 15-minute workout feature but also features workouts that take 10 and even 5 minutes. Here's one that was recently featured, but do a search and you'll find a bunch more. With all the resources out there, you don't have to make a dedicated trip to the gym to get a good workout in.

I'm lucky to have a very nice home gym and yoga studio, so I do all my non-running workouts at home. My friend has already told me she doesn't have a dedicated space in her house to work out. I'd suggest two things: 1.) Since the weather is warming up, take it outside! She lives in a country setting with a big yard, so why not take advantage of it? 2.) Get up earlier than everyone else and use the living room. That way you won't have people staring at you while you work out.

Neither of those are ideal, but then I'm reminded of the interview with Bruce Dern in Runner's World, where he said that when the winter weather was awful outside, he would run in underground parking garages, and when he was shooting a movie and had no other place to run, he ran laps in his hotel room! It may not be ideal, but like Weight Watchers says, you need to fit it in wherever and however you can.

Do you have any other tips for fitting in activity when you're crunched for time?