According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to reap the health benefits of exercise, adults should engage in moderate-intensity workouts for at least 150 minutes or vigorous-intensity exercises for not less than 75 minutes a week.
The CDC further recommends at least two days per week of physical activities that strengthen muscles.
If you're a woman with a job, children, and other responsibilities, finding that much time to exercise can be difficult – which is why "I don't have time" is one of the top reasons many women give for not working out.
While having a hectic schedule is certainly understandable, it is critical that you regularly make time in your day to exercise in order to avoid health problems, relieve stress, lose weight (and break a weight loss plateau), and so on.
In this post, I'd like to share with you the best exercises that experts recommend for the busy woman with a measly ten minutes to an hour to spare. Let's get into it!
3 Fast and Ultra-Effective Exercises for the Busy Woman
Going to the gym may cut into your workout time if you only have a few minutes to spare in your day.
So, I'll share exercises you can perform immediately after your time frees up, from the comfort of your home (also see our review of women's home workout programs for more ideas) or office if you have the space.
Total time: 10 minutes
Watch Rocky, Creed, When We Were Kings or any other hit boxing movie, and you'll not miss a jumping rope scene.
Most professional boxers include skipping in their workout routines because of the numerous health benefits it provides, such as improved cardiorespiratory fitness 1, better coordination and balance, and stronger bones and muscles.
Jumping rope also helps burn many calories quickly, which can help your body create the calorie deficit required to lose weight.
This physical activity is highly recommended as it is one of the cheapest, most convenient, and most effective workouts for busy women. All you need is a skipping rope and training shoes, and you can do it anywhere and at any time.
Here is a video that will teach you how to jump rope like a pro.
Total time: 20 minutes
Tabata is a high-intensity interval workout in which you perform a variety of exercises in short bursts of intensity followed by shorter rest periods.
A typical Tabata round lasts four minutes and consists of eight 20-second intervals of vigorous exercise followed by ten-second breaks.
A full Tabata workout lasts 20 minutes, but if you're pressed for time, you can shorten it by doing fewer exercises.
Burpees, squats, mountain climbers, push-ups, crunches, and reverse lunges are examples of exercises that can be included in a Tabata workout.
An example of a simple Tabata workout that you could do quickly is:
- 20 seconds of push-ups
- 10 seconds of rest
- 20 seconds of air-squats
- 10 seconds of rest
- Repeat the set four times to finish a Tabata round
- Take a break for 60 to 90 seconds, then start another round with the same exercises or different ones
Ensure you warm up before beginning a Tabata workout and cool down afterward. Here's a Tabata YouTube video to get you started.
Total time: 25 minutes
Running is another high-intensity, easy-to-start exercise that you can squeeze into a busy schedule.
Planning three 25-minute runs per week will help you meet the CDC's recommended 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, which will provide you with health benefits such as a lower risk of diseases like Parkinson's, various cancers, and Alzheimer's, as well as a decreased risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.
No worries if you've never run before and find it difficult.
Put on your training shoes and leave the house, beginning with walking and gradually progressing to running.
You can also incorporate walking into your workday by walking to meetings and standing up from your desk every hour to stretch and take short walks.
Walking is a low-intensity workout; aim for 30 minutes five times per week to reap the benefits.
How Busy Women Fit Workouts into Their Daily Schedules
If you're having trouble finding time to do any of the recommended exercises or a workout you enjoy, try using these tips to achieve your fitness goals while leading a hectic lifestyle!
- Do your workout first thing in the morning because if you have a demanding job and family life, you're unlikely to find time to exercise once your day's activities begin.
A good morning workout will clear your mind and rev up your energy for the day ahead.
- Work out while you're working. Steve Jobs, the late Apple founder, loved to walk and frequently held serious business meetings while out walking.
This is something you could start doing. Instead of a business lunch, ask the person you're meeting if they'd like to meet for a yoga or spin class and then grab a bite later.
- Choose a workout that you'll enjoy. Don't do yoga because everyone else is. Choose something you'll enjoy because it will be easier to make time for it even if you have a busy schedule and you'll always look forward to doing it.
- Perform brief, intense workouts. If you can't commit to 30 minutes of exercise, do short workouts that get you sweating, such as 10 minutes of uphill sprints on the treadmill.
- Go for walks during your lunch break. If you dislike going to the gym or are unmotivated to work out before or after work, consider carrying your trainers to work and walking during your lunch break. This way, you can exercise without disrupting your busy schedule.
- Take full advantage of weekends. As the work week comes to an end, you'll most likely have more free time. Make use of your free time to catch up on workouts you missed during the week.