finding time to exercise

By: Shannon Dougherty, Fit Mom Living

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Technically, that’s the truth. For a businesswoman working behind a desk all day, a good chunk of these 24 hours is confined to a chair. It’s often difficult to take breaks away from the desk, let alone think about finding time to exercise. 

Boss Lady 9-5 & Beyond: How fitness can be added to your busy schedule 

As a certified personal trainer, I have found a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, balancing my health and wellness, all while running my own business, which requires a lot of desk time. I always emphasize that one small change at a time can lead to significant improvement in your fitness routine and activity overall. 

Put simply, a desk job tends to have employees working about nine hours a day, five days a week. After a long day in the office, it’s time for family, dinner, relaxing, and any other personal chores or errands that may need to be done. By the weekend, it’s often hard to find the time to exercise or the motivation to want to do anything more than relax or do something for your own enjoyment. Health and fitness can easily slip through the cracks and fall to the end of the priority list. 

Add small adjustments to your routine:

Desk jobs throw employees into a schedule that doesn’t allot much time for much more in a day. It’s time to assess your schedule and find time for you. Whether that means setting your alarm for earlier or reserving time at the end of the day- ‘me’ time is imperative to work healthy self-care practices into your busy schedule. This doesn’t have to happen too fast.

Don’t rush into drastic changes that would result in tiring you out more than helping you on your journey. You can even start with ten minutes and gradually increase your duration of exercise in order to get into the habit of carving out time to take care of your body. Your mind and muscles will feel the difference and your energy throughout the day will see major transformation. 

Hold yourself accountable for dedicating this time to yourself. Writing down your goals in a space you check and reflect on constantly will assist you in going along with your best practices when it comes to spending time for your health and nutrition. Make a dedicated checklist and write down goals to maintain your new routine. Throughout my experience crafting programs to help women get started on their fitness journey, I have learned that written checklists and templates are a concise path to success. 

No Gym? No Problem:

After packing up your desk to head home, it’s hard to find the time to exercise or the motivation and patience to make a stop to the gym for a post-work workout. Although the gym is a great escape to decompress and channel emotions in a new environment, home workouts can be much less intimidating and much more cost-effective. 

At home, I like to find any open space before or after my day job to fit in some high-impact and low stress workouts. The idea is to move your body, get your heartrate up and incorporate weights. Even stretching is good for a body that is inactive during the day. There are ways you can also be budget friendly when it comes to home workouts besides the cost of a gym membership. Use bottles of detergent, gallon water jugs and other household items as free weights to boost your workout at home. If you can afford weights and at-home gym equipment, it might be a great investment for your health.

Make Meetings Mobile:

Do you have calls or meetings sprinkled throughout the workday? Instead of taking these meetings in a conference room or at your desk, use this time to walk and talk, even if that means doing laps around the office. Using set time to multitask will make the exercise mindless, and eventually will be something you incorporate into your routine instinctually. Sometimes physical activity can stimulate your thought process, too.

On-the-Go Workout:

Finding time to exercise includes finding ways to add movement to your already established daily routine is key to implementing new daily habits. After a day spent at the office, there are often grocery trips, pharmacy visits, dry-cleaning pickups and other tasks that take up the remainder of your evening. Look at your nightly routine and pick out ways you can move your body more efficiently. For example, try parking further away from your destination or take the stairs instead of an elevator. Maybe a few ab exercises in front of the TV is a new addition that will work for you.

Play Time Isn’t Just For Kids:

Are your evenings full of driving kids from one extracurricular activity to another? Make time for yourself at your kid’s sports practices, and walk while they are practicing. You can take multitasking to another level and make calls or answer emails while getting your steps in. Don’t let yourself wait in the car or sit on the sidelines, use the wait time to prioritize yourself. 

Stand Up Every Hour:

Something as small as standing up can make a big difference when working at a desk. The 20-8-2 rule is a small, but mighty habit to incorporate into your routine to overcome the sedentary lifestyle of working at a desk for an extended amount of time. In short, for every 20 minutes of sitting at home or at work, you should stand for eight minutes and move for two minutes.

It’s all about getting your steps in and moving your body. Focus on one small change at a time to improve your exercise, don’t try to make too big of changes too quickly. 

Remember, exercise is the icing on the cake, you can’t out train a poor diet so make sure you are fueling your goals. Throughout my time as a certified macro coach, I have found that staying true to yourself and treating your body with kindness requires dedication. Take it from me, someone who has already tried it the hard way so that you don’t have to. 

When I started crafting my Fit Mom Living programs, one of my biggest priorities was crafting guidelines that anyone could follow. We all live busy lives, however it’s important to not allow the hustle of life to become an excuse. 

The most important thing to remember about juggling a day job, kids, or just being a boss lady, is that taking care of yourself along the way should be the number one opportunity to make yourself proud. Do it for yourself, and there is no possible way you could go wrong. All it takes is self-determination, a change of habits and the switch-up of your priority list. 


Shannon Jay Dougherty created Fit Mom Living in 2020. Her company aims to empower and guide determined women to drop fat and gain confidence through flexible nutrition. Dougherty’s background in health and nutrition motivated her to spread her knowledge and become a Certified Macronutrient Coach. Furthermore, as a mom of two, Dougherty has used her Fit Mom Living programs to share what she knows in order to improve individuals’ lifestyles and maintain consistency.

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