How to Be Active When You’re Strapped for Time

By Kelly Krause

Lately, things have been really busy around here. Most of you already know I work for one of the largest creative festivals in the world (SXSW) and for the next few weeks, finding time to take care of anything outside of work is tough. As I type this, we are exactly four days out from showtime (gah!). To add a fun twist to the equation, I’m also training for a big ride in Portland two weeks after the festival, so balancing work, training and sleep has certainly kept me on my toes — literally.

While this level of busy is not consistent year-round, I know many of you probably feel just as strapped for time. Whether you’re running a business, managing school with a full-time job or navigating parenthood, we’ve all got something going on that makes it easy to lose sight of prioritizing ourselves.

how to have a great 15 minute workout

photo credit: outdoor voices

I’ve been thinking a lot about my schedule for the next 2 weeks and mapping out a game plan to ensure I’m staying on top of my training, but not completely burned out. With 16-hour days on the horizon and a lot of unpredictable moments, true success might just mean getting enough sleep and drinking enough water.

So, my overall strategy? To keep it super simple and just move every single day.

This is an evolution from my friend Brenna’s routine of running 1 mile everyday. She told me about this last summer when we exchanged frustrations about having little time to stay active while traveling. She started this routine to compliment her very busy schedule when she’s often strapped for time. I thought it was genius — it only requires a good pair of shoes and maybe 15 minutes max.

That had me wondering, what else can I do with 15 minutes? Turns out, a lot.

gorgeous classic watch

photo credit: Michael Kors

Since early February, I’ve made an effort to move for 15-20 minutes on days I’m limited on time and can’t spend 4 hours on my bike or even 45 minutes for a pilates class. In the past I’ve trained so hard I eventually crashed and burned and ended up taking more time off than I’d have liked. Now, shorter spurts of activity everyday allow me to listen to my body and adapt to what it needs.

Some mornings I’m full of energy, ready for interval training (2 minutes sprinting, 1 minute walking x 5) or a quick circuit of weights. Other mornings, 15 minutes of stretching or yoga does the trick. While the workouts change, one thing is certain — when I finish, physically I feel great and mentally I feel accomplished and proud for taking care of myself. All from 15 minutes!

Pro-tip, if you decide 1-mile a day is your thing, I recommend custom insoles. I got a pair over the holidays (in Los Angeles, but you can go anywhere). They have been a game-changer for comfortable running. Also, I favor this cardio and stretching app and this yoga app. They’re perfect for on-the-go and no-gym-in-sight workouts.

ultimate jump rope workout

photo credit: The Coveteur

The smallest change in the busiest of times has taught me three important things.

1. Maximize Your Time. You can make a lot of progress in a short amount of time. Don’t let the quantity of time turn you away from small bits of progress.

2. Keep it Simple. If there’s one theme that’s starting to emerge for 2016, it’s that simple acts and gestures (and doing them right now), lead to the biggest changes. There’s no need to do a full-blown workout every single day. Let’s not overcomplicate life.

3. Listen to Your Body. You can’t possibly predict today what your body is going to need a week from today. Be open to the idea of adapting to what you truly need. I’d love to say that on the first day of SXSW I’ll wake up with so much energy that I want to run a mile before my day starts, but I’m acutely aware that sleeping an extra 20 minutes might be the better option.