By Nora Krug

Digital First Media

Staying fit and being busy aren't mutually exclusive. You just need to be a little creative with your schedule and your definition of exercise.

"All movement is good for you," says Rebecca Scritchfield, a registered dietitian, health fitness specialist and founder of Capitol Nutrition Group. It "increases blood flow, bringing nutrients to every cell in your body, strengthening your heart, muscles and improving your cardiovascular system."

You can get some of these benefits by just adding walking to your daily routine, she says. This can be as simple as "walking to an errand, walking to a park for lunch, walking around the house picking up messes." Ideally, she says, you'd add resistance and strength training and flexibility, too.

Carolyn Muse Siegel, owner and lead instructor at Mommy Bootcamp in Fairfax, Va., has some additional ideas.

1. Schedule exercise "dates" with your friends. Friends help keep you accountable in your fitness routine. And, since it's often hard to schedule catching-up time on your already busy calendar, you can do double duty here. Skip the drinks or lunch and instead set up a tennis match or meet for a jog. You'll burn calories and get in needed friend time.

2. Find a routine you can love. When you find a class, group or individual program that you love, exercise becomes less of an added chore and more of a pleasure that you can look forward to.


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3. "Play" during family time. Family time is a great time to work exercise into a busy schedule. Hiking, biking, sledding, even just simply kicking a ball with your kids are all great ways to burn calories and have fun! Plus, the added bonus is that you're teaching your children the importance of an active lifestyle.

4. Go to bed earlier. If you find yourself wasting away your evening hours watching television or browsing the Internet, try going to sleep earlier. The added rest could give you enough extra energy to wake up early for a workout. Because of fewer scheduling conflicts early in the morning, you are much less likely to miss your workout. Plus, morning exercise sessions get your endorphins going for increased productivity throughout the day.

5. Keep exercise clothes and a "cleanup" kit at your desk. Sometimes a lunchtime workout is all you can fit in. Be prepared for these days by having essentials at your desk to quickly clean up if a shower is not possible. Hair refresher products, deodorant, disposable body wipes and travel cosmetics make it possible to get back to work in a flash.