No Time to Exercise? Try This

Consider exercise an investment in yourself.

  • Aerobic exercise has great benefits like raising your heart rate and working your muscles.
  • Strength training helps build strong bones and muscles.
  • Stretching exercises not only help keep your joints flexible, but reduce your chances of injury as you work out.

And if you're concerned about extra weight or type 2 diabetes, an exercise program can help you to lose weight. Need one more reason to get moving? You'll feel better!

So what if you don't have an hour a day to spare?

"You don't have to work out for an hour in order for your exercise routine to be effective," says Steve Ettinger, certified strength and conditioning specialist, a personal trainer, and the author of "Wallie Exercises" "You can accomplish a lot in just 15 minutes," he says. "You're definitely not wasting your time."

Adds Laurie Kendall-Ellis, PT, executive director of the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, "You want to start slowly and then build up." If you haven't exercised in awhile, this could be as simple as just taking the stairs instead of the elevator a few times a day. (Check with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen.)

Here are some other easy ways to work aerobic, strength, and stretching (flexibility exercises) into your day.


  1. Sign up for a class in strength training so you can learn how to use weights and elastic bands to get stronger.
  2. Try doing calisthenics, recommends the American Diabetes Association.
  3. Carry dumbbells when you walk up and down the stairs, Ettinger says. If you take walks during the day, take the dumbbells along.


  1. Start with a short walk on your lunch hour, say, 15 or 20 minutes, says Kendall-Ellis. "Start out slowly," she says. "Then walk at a brisk pace and slow it down at the end so that when you get back to your desk you are ready to get back to work."
  2. Ride a bike outside, or peddle on your stationary bike inside.
  3. Not sure how far you're walking? Buy a pedometer and keep it on as you go about your daily activities. You may be surprised by how far you've traveled by the end of a day.
  4. Take a swim class or enroll in a water aerobics class.
  5. Sign up for tennis lessons.


  1. Invest in some resistance bands and do stretching exercises while watching TV. "Resistance bands are so dynamic," Ettinger says. "I use them with all my clients."
  2. Try yoga or a Pilates class.
  3. Always stretch on your own before and after you exercise.

American Diabetes Association. Types of Exercise.