Work it Out! Fitting Exercise into your Working Day



If there were twice as many hours in the day you’d have no trouble getting some exercise in, right? Well, maybe. But until science or technology proves otherwise, you’re stuck in the 24-7 zone and there’s no escaping it.

So before you say you’re too busy at work to fit exercise into your schedule, or have no time or energy left at the end of a busy day for a workout, consider this: Do you want to feel so busy and stressed every day for the rest of your life that you never get your body in good shape? Or do you want to give exercise a chance? Perhaps it might actually help reduce your stress…

It’s something to think about! Read on for more encouragement and good hints on getting moving.

Why work out?

It’s a vicious cycle. You’re so busy at work that you can’t find time to exercise. There’s a huge stack of work to get through, and even if you do take a lunch break, you use it to catch up on emails, or go to the supermarket and do the grocery shopping. When you get home, you’re so exhausted from the day that you can’t find the energy to exercise – and who wants to add another thing to the to-do list anyway?

And guess what? It happens all over again the next day.

Although adding exercise into your day may seem like another task or sacrifice of time, in the end it buys you energy and time. Exercise is one of best ways to deal with the underlying stress that we experience as a result of our hectic lifestyles. When you’re less stressed, you sleep better, have more energy and are ultimately more productive at work. Plus, your health is better and you’ve got a better shot at a long, illness-free life.

Use your opportunities

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While you might want to exercise more, it’s true that being busy can make it more difficult. However, for many of us, there are pockets of time during the day that we could use more productively. Get in the habit of recognising an opportunity for exercise when you see one.

Here are some ideas:

  • Take a walk around the block during your lunch break
  • If your workplace is close enough, walk or cycle to work instead of driving or catching the bus or train
  • Get off the train or bus one or two stops before your regular stop and walk the extra distance
  • If you drive to work, park the car a 5-10 minute walk away
  • Either start your working day with a walk by getting up half an hour earlier or finish your working day with a walk as soon as you arrive home
  • Treat grocery shopping or a visit to a shopping centre as an opportunity for exercising. Walk a little further for some extra window shopping!
  • Use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator

Workplace workouts

If the company you work for has fitness facilities, use them! Many companies today provide access to gyms or offer fitness classes to employees. If there’s a gym in your workplace, there’s no excuse not to use it.

Fitness classes with your colleagues can be a fun way to exercise and you can motivate each other. If your organisation doesn’t provide such classes, why not ask around and see who’s interested? You may find several eager workout buddies.

Here are some more ideas:

  • Early morning yoga or tai chi can be a great way to start the day. See if any of your colleagues are interested in joining you
  • Start or join a company team – volleyball, basketball or touch rugby make great social activities that will get you fit as well!
  • Make sure you stretch during the day. Taking some time out to stretch your limbs, shoulders, back and neck will help to keep you flexible and can help to reduce neck, back or shoulder strain

Exercise habits for after hours

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Once you’ve finished work for the day, what do you do? Flop onto the couch in front of the TV? Join friends for some socialising? How about finding time for some exercise after work instead? It will help you unwind and leave the working day behind you.

Here are some ideas for relaxing exercise after work:

  • Take a walk with your family or a friend for a great way to unwind and catch up on the day’s events. Plan a regular walking time before or after dinner
  • If you have access to a pool or swimable beach, lake or river, take some time out for a leisurely swim
  • Plan a fun family or social activity, such as a bike ride or a casual game of cricket
  • Enjoy the outdoors and take a walk at a beach or park
  • Join a gym. Choose one that is on your way to or from work to make it easier to go
Calorie King
CalorieKing's mission is to provide the best information, tools and education to Australians to help them conquer their weight.

CalorieKing is the brainchild of Allan Borushek, registered dietitian, co-found here at and author of "Allan Borushek's Pocket Calorie & Fat Counter", Australia's best-selling calorie counter for over 30 years.

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