10 top tips on staying fit when you're super busy!

Gillian McGhee

11 October 2017

The benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Improved mood
  • Better sleep
  • Better coordination 
  • Increased bone density and strength
  • Improved nutrient uptake
  • Improved neuroplasticity

1) Plan ahead

If you lead a busy lifestyle and want to stay fit, efficient time management is essential! Make the most of every moment and try to be productive as possible. This doesn’t mean you should be exercising every single spare moment you can, but even those extra 5 minutes throughout the day can go a long way! Why not try a couple of simple exercises when you’re waiting on your dinner to finish cooking, or during TV ad breaks?

2) Make it a priority

Stop making excuses! If you keep saying to yourself ‘I’m too busy this week, I’ll start next week…’ before you know it months and months have passed and you’ll never get round to it! You’ll always be ‘too busy.’ Exercise is a great way to look after your health, the hardest part is starting. Stop thinking of exercise as optional; instead think of it as a priority, an appointment that is too important to cancel.

3) Diet

Staying fit doesn’t just involve exercise; it involves your diet too. Eating healthy is fundamental to staying fit and, if you are extremely busy all those processed foods that are quick and easy to make are sometimes too tempting to resist! 

When it comes to making dietary changes try making small, manageable changes first because completely changing your diet all at once can be harder to stick to. First, start with snack-swaps, swap junk food like chocolate for healthier options such as fruit. Try to eat foods that will keep you fuller for longer and provide you with more energy, such as protein. 

Keeping a balanced diet is extremely important when it comes to exercise, particularly after a workout. This is because, when we exercise, we lose important minerals such as zinc, potassium and sodium through our sweat. It is important to replace these minerals so that our body can operate at its optimum levels. 

If you struggle to fit in a post-workout meal I would definitely recommend a healthy snack rich in potassium, such as a banana, which not only helps to replace lost potassium but also helps in the recovery process post-workout. I’d also suggest taking one of our Balance Mineral Drink sachets which is packed full of essential minerals including potassium, magnesium, zinc and calcium. The handy sachets make it an easy option on the go too, just add to water, shake and go!

No matter how busy you are, try to avoid skipping meals as this will leave you feeling fatigued and unable to concentrate. Research has found that those who skip breakfast have a 20% increased chance of developing diabetes and other health conditions.1 When you lead an extremely busy lifestyle, preparing meals in advance and batch baking is a great way to make sure that you get a hearty meal, filled with nutrition.

Smart snack swaps:

Chocolate orange boost balls

Beetroot breadsticks

Lovely lunch to go ideas:

Mexican avocado and bean burrito

Speedy pea and mint soup

4) Stay hydrated

It probably won’t come as a surprise that drinking more water is one of our top tips for staying healthy. Our bodies are 70% water and we need plenty of it so that our body is able function properly. It is recommended that men should roughly drink 13 cups of water a day and women to take around 9 cups of water a day.2

This can seem like a huge amount, particularly when there are so many other tempting beverages out there! The good news is that beverages such as milk and juices can also contribute to your fluid intake. However, drinks like alcohol, caffeine, soft drinks, and coffee should be limited and avoided when possible because they are often full of empty calories. That being said, water is definitely the best source of fluid for the body; why not try infusing your water with a slice of lime, lemon or mint to give it more flavour? 

5) Sleep

When you lead a busy lifestyle, work long hours, with lots of commitments, it can be difficult to give your body the rest it needs – and deserves! Sleep deprivation not only leads to poor physical health, it also affects your brain function, decreases social interaction, concentration, problem-solving skills, memory and mood. 

Getting those few extra hours of sleep can lead to more alertness, better productivity, performance and reaction times. One study found that sleep can actually help prevent you from gaining weight! The study found that those who sleep 5 hours a night are 32% more likely to gain 30 pounds or more than those who sleep for 7 hours or more.3

6) Quality over quantity

When you lead a busy lifestyle, packing in a full hour of exercise numerous times a week can be challenging – or near impossible – so don’t try to do it all in one go! Try to do a few short bursts of intense exercise throughout the day. Little changes in how you move throughout the day can go a long way to helping you to stay fit try some of these tips:

7) Pick a workout that you can do almost anywhere

Not everyone has easy access to a swimming pool, gym, or workout class, throw in a busy lifestyle on top of that and keeping up an active lifestyle becomes tricky. Picking a workout that is quick and easy to do will help you to build a routine and manage your time more productively. Exercising at home is a good alternative for those of you who simply don’t have the time to get to a gym or a class. You don’t necessarily need equipment to exercise, try our easy 10 minute workout for beginners with handy videos to follow to get you started.

8) Get a workout buddy

Working out with a friend is a great way to keep you motivated to keep exercising as well as save time. You get two in one – a great workout AND a catch up with a friend perfect for those busy weeks! Studies have found that working out with a friend helps improve motivation, commitment and time spent exercising than those who exercise alone.4 Not only that but exercising with a friend has also been shown to make us feel calmer than when we exercise alone5 – sounds like the perfect way to calm down after a stressful, busy day to me!

9) Visual cues

When we can see things we associate with our workouts – our trainers, yoga mat, workout leggings, and weights – we are more likely to exercise than if they are hidden away in a cupboard. Visual reminders are a great way to keep us staying fit, particularly in those early days of setting up a routine. You are more likely to exercise if you are physically seeing and interacting with your workout possessions than if you use mental motivation.

10) Make it fun!

My last and most important tip is to have fun! If it’s not fun, you’re probably not going to want to do it much! Don’t think of exercise as a chore, try to think of it as time for you, a way to detach and expel any stresses that can crop up with a busy lifestyle. Joining a class and working out with a mate are great ways to make exercising more enjoyable. Music is a great way to liven up your workout, why not check out our motivational running songs playlist for some ideas?

1 https://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/effects-skipping-meals
2 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814.php
3 http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/sleep/10-reasons-why-you-need-more-sleep/4/
4 https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/why-you-should-work-out-crowd-ncna798936
5 https://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/34033/exercise-another.pdf

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