I have a limited amount of time, how can I fit in cardio exercise?


Most of us cannot be gym rats and workout at the gym all day, so what is the alternative? My first suggestion is to break up the amounts of time into 3, 10 minute increments. Spend 10 minutes in the morning before you go to work. You can spare 10 minutes at lunch for a power walk and 10 minutes in the evening enjoying an activity of your choice.

Second- I have kids and am always busy with their schedules, so often times it’s easier for me to work out at home after they have gone to bed or find a suitable activity for all of us to enjoy together at home or at the park. I find a jump rope is the easiest form of equipment to take with me anywhere, do at home and even to store. Plus, it’s an amazing workout. 

Suggestion three-Don't forget during the day to take the stairs, park in the far side of the parking lot or stand up and make frequent trips during the day (the non-exercise exercise). It all adds up and counts no matter how you choose to do it.

Depending on your health and fitness goals you should aim for 20-60 minutes of cardio each day. This does not have to be done all at once. For example, 30 minutes a day of walking can make a positive impact on your health.  So consider, walking 10 minutes in the morning before work, walk 10 minutes at lunchtime, and complete your 30 minutes with a 10 minute walk after dinner. For your convenience, you can keep track of your total minutes of cardio exercise in your daily planner.

If you are trying to lose weight then you should consider getting up to 60 minutes per day. However, for your convenience, you can also break this up in 10-15-30 minutes bouts of cardio as well. Please consider doing 30 minutes in the morning before you begin your day and then perhaps, 30 minutes in the evening before dinner with your family. Or maybe you can only squeeze in 15 minutes of cardio at one time “here and there?” Well then 15 minutes of calisthenics before breakfast, followed by 15 minutes of walking on a break at work, 15 minutes of circuit training after work, and finally 15 minutes of walking after dinner.

Finally, I would like to say that lack of time is one of the biggest excuses not to exercise. However, with some dedication, clear priorities, and a little to discipline to use a daily planner to schedule all your daily activities, including you cardio, you will succeed in reaching your health and fitness goals. GOOD LUCK!


Wendy Batts

Cardio can come in many forms. Any exercise that makes the heart and lungs work harder is considered cardio training. It does not always need to come in the form of the treadmill or the elliptical trainer at the gym. Accumulated activity has been shown to be as beneficial as a continuous bout. For example three 10 minute bouts of cardio can be as effective as one 30 minute bout. Start small with simply moving your body faster while performing typical household tasks to get your heart rate up. Vacuuming, cleaning the closet or unloading the groceries can all count as daily activity. Take a couple short brisk walks around the neighborhood even for 10 minutes at a time to get in extra activity.

Many people are pressed for time today with busy work schedules & family. However, if you have a half an hour in your day you can accomplish a lot. To maximize your time and to get the best workout, you should do high-intensity circuit training. It is a tough workout and has you burning a lot of calories in a short period of time. Performing some strength exercises such as squats, push-ups, shoulder press, core exercises, and more along with cardiovascular exercises in between such as plyometrics, sprinting, cycling, & kickboxing is definitely a way to increase your heart rate and burn some serious calories. It is a much more difficult workout because you are constantly moving and doing 30seconds-1minute of each exercise. Also, you are working all of your muscle groups on your body which challenges you even more.

Research has shown that performing three 10 minute sessions of exercise is just as effective as performing one 30 minute session. If you are pressed for time, split your cardio up throughout the day. Another way to decrease your time spent exercising is to increase the intensity of your activity. For example, instead of doing 60 minutes of cardio at the same pace, try doing 20-30 minutes of interval training. Make sure you have developed a strong cardio foundation before doing any interval training though.

Lack of time is perhaps the most commonly used excuse for why people don't exercise. If time is an issue for you, take a look at your day and see where you could arrange to find more time. For example, how long do you spend watching TV each day? No matter how busy we are we will always find time to do the things we like to do, and the things we want to do. So be honest with yourself. Are you really pressed for time, or are you using this as an excuse?

Schedule your cardio workouts into your day as appointments. Make your health and fitness a bigger priority then it currently is. I guarantee once you begin scheduling daily exercise appointments with a high priority, you will find more than enough time for your fitness program.

Cardio does not always have to be long and steady. It can be broken down into 2 shorter sessions per day or you can add intensity and shorten the time. If you normally do 30 to 40 minutes of a steady pace cardio you can break it into two 15 or 20 minutes sessions. Also changing the intensity (pace, resistance or incline) will allow you to burn the same calories in a shorter amount of time.

Crank up the music and move for ten minutes folks!  We all know that cardio is great for your heart, it helps reduce stress and best of all helps you shed those extra pounds that have been following you around on your back side.  It is easiest to fit cardio into your day when you break it up into smaller sessions throughout the day.  By the way, let’s not get crazy and run a marathon tomorrow - consult your physician before starting any kind of cardio program.  Don’t forget that when doing any exercise, pull your belly button to your spine, keep your feet straight, keep your butt tight and keep your knees over your toes.  Listen, when you do cardio, you should be winded, but able to talk (not a long conversation though).  If you are not able to talk, cool your jets and go less intense – we don’t need you to hurt yourself right out of the gates.  But seriously – you aren’t working hard enough if you are reading the gossip mag and gabbing with friends about every detail!  Here are just a few simple ideas to get you started.

1.  Get in 10,000 per day – and I’m not talking about calories – steps.  Make as many of these jogging steps as you can.
2.  Before you jump into the shower in the morning, spend 10 minutes walking or jogging up and down your stairs.   
3.  Do 15 repetitions of mountain climbers: get in a push up position.  Hold that position while you run in place.
4.  Go outside and play tag with your kids for 15 minutes, it’s also great family time!5.  Spend 5 minutes jumping side to side and then front to back.
6.  Do 50 jumping jacks
7.  Park in the last parking spot at the store, jog or skip in.
8.  Jump rope for 5-15 minutes
9.  Do 10 squats to a jump.  Do them in a row with no rest
10.  Jog back and forth across your house 20 times

If you are creative, there are a variety of cardio exercises you can squeeze into your day.  And you may drop a muffin top or two along the way.  Now go get moving!


Dominique Adair

A very common complaint is not having enough time to exercise – if you find yourself in the “how can I squeeze it in?” category. Here are some helpful hints.  1. If you’ve been exercising for a little while, you might want to bump up the intensity a notch.  For example, if you are jogging a 13 minute mile, you might try to take off a minute or two off your mile time by progressively increasing your pace.  Not only will the workout be shorter, but you’ll be improving your fitness level as well.  2. Exercise does not have to be done all at the same time.  You can accumulate 40 minutes of cardio in four 10-minute sessions.  For some people this is easier to fit into their day than one longer session. 3.  While you may not be a morning person (and exercise at any time is fabulous) it is easier for exercise to get pushed lower and lower on the list throughout the day.  If you can exercise in the morning it’s a great way to handle pushing it off a tight schedule. 4. Ideally you stretch out your exercise throughout the week, but some people have much more time on weekends.  It may be easier to exercise on Saturday and Sunday and then one or two weekdays than try to find four weekdays that can accommodate your exercise session.  Most important, if you skip a day or two because you run out of time, DON’T GIVE UP!  This does not mean the program is over, it just means it’s waiting with open arms for you to come back! 

Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine
I have heard every excuse in the world why you can't exercise.  I think you should flip it around and figure out every possible way to fit in.  All you need for a quick walk or run is a pair of shoes.  If the area is difficult carry a jump rope with you and do that 20 minutes.  You do not have to do it all at once.  Wake up and do 10 minutes of exercise and then fit the other 20 minutes during the day.  

You can accumulate the recommended amount of cardio exercise throughout your day. One practical way to fit in cardio exercise is to park in the farthest parking stall in the parking lot from the store or mall entrance. If you are a parent with a baby or toddler in a stroller you can count your daily walk out with the other mothers in your social group. Mowing your lawn can be considered a cardio exercise, as long as it is not a self-propelled mower. When you are just beginning most any activity that leaves you winded from vacuuming to chasing your toddler can be considered cardio exercise. By accumulating your time throughout the day you can be creative in adding a few more steps into your day.

It is recommended to complete 30 minutes of cardio most days of the week, however you can split that time up into shorter bouts of physical activity throughout the day. Research has suggested that performing shorter bouts of activity throughout the day will yield similar results to one, longer bout of physical activity. For example, you could perform 15 minutes of cardio at an intensity level of 70% in the morning and then repeat the activity later in the day. Assuming you have adequately progressed, you could also incorporate the use of interval (alternating bouts of high and low intensities) training into your workout. This can be accomplished by incorporating intervals of 80 - 85% of your heart rate maximum (HRmax) intensity level and then recovering at 60 - 75% HRmax. Initially your intense intervals will be shorter in duration with a longer recovery, however, as you improve you will be able to sustain longer durations of higher intensity with shorter recovery times. Incorporating interval training into your cardio training will allow you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time as well as improving your overall performance.

Continue Learning about Types Of Exercise

Types Of Exercise

Types Of Exercise

Exercise provides many health benefits - from fitness to increased physical and mental energy. In order to prepare yourself for a exercise routine, you need to research which exercise is right for you and how to fit a new exercise ...

e program into your daily schedule.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.