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5 Surprising Movement Science-Based Tips for Time-Efficient Exercising

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

When your time is limited, exercise is often the first thing to go. No matter how much you know exercising is important, your brain really doesn’t care about that when life has lots of demands right now.

What your brain does care about is that stress is dampening your ability to survive and thrive now.

Exercise, when done well, is the exact antidote to keep stress from draining your energy and enjoyment of life. When it makes your whole person feel better now, your brain wants you to repeat it.

This is what makes exercise time efficient with the 'let's get this over with' stress mindset, but time efficient with the 'wow that made me feel so much better' well-being effect.

The five tips below are information from motivation and movement science for amping up the whole person, in the moment benefits of exercise to be time efficient AND effective.

However, they won't work until you add "you science". The video below gets you started with a mindfulness meditation designed to let you tap into what only you know inside about how to make exercising a way to Be Well Now, especially when limited on time.

The five surprising ways to make exercise time effective for your whole person health

1. Don't just move more: When getting enough exercise is defined as increasing physical activity and getting to a step goal, you are telling your body you don't want to keep your strength, stamina, and mobility. Getting steps is just not specific enough to give your body the skills it needs to move well in daily life. The most effective way to get enough exercise is to do a balance of strength, stamina, and mobility. The 1-2-3 Template makes it time effective and efficient.

2. Add mindfulness to your movement. Adding the qualities of presence, open curiosity and self-kindness ensure you are getting the full stress-reducing whole-person benefits from each type of exercise. Knowing how the flexible ranges in the Exercising Well Templates, give you a way to use exercise as moments in your day to get out of the stress state. Exercise becomes a user-friendly cure for chronic stress

3. Measure enough by your Core Why. When enough exercise is determined by calorie burning or steps, it's a never-ending task. When enough exercise is determined by your Core Why you have a clear path to Be Well Now. Your Core Why is the one word that reminds you of your ultimate intrinsic reason for exercising. For example, if your Core Why is energy, you would do enough to give you energy now. When you know how to move to have more energy now, you have a personalized and motivating way to know how much is enough. Plus, your mindful awareness that exercise increased energy now strengthens inner confidence that you know how to increase energy in the future too.

4. Build on established habits. Habits save energy. You have already established habits that are gold mines for making exercise time effective. Link each type of exercise to an already established routine in your daily life, like mindful stretching moments when you use the microwave, to save energy build adding Exercising Well moments to current habits.

5. Learn from what only you know. Tracking and journaling are boring and seem to be a waste of time. Thrive TrackingTM is when you use the skill of open curiosity to note also how your body feels as you exercise. This ramps up the learning about how what you are doing is leading toward or away from thriving. When exercise shifts you to the thrive state, you are using your time in the most effective way. Thrive tracking becomes your personalized guide to use exercise as a way to feel and function your best, especially when life is stressful.

Start by simply noticing your mindset about investing time in exercise. Awareness is the first step to lasting change. Putting these science-based tips into action based, guided by what only you know inside, is the way to simply time-effective exercise that works even when you are stressed.


  • Rohleder N. Stress and inflammation - The need to address the gap in the transition between acute and chronic stress effects. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2019 Jul;105:164-171. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.02.021. Epub 2019 Feb 20. PMID: 30826163.

  • Cuddy AJC, Schultz SJ, Fosse NE. P-Curving a More Comprehensive Body of Research on Postural Feedback Reveals Clear Evidential Value for Power-Posing Effects: Reply to Simmons and Simonsohn (2017). Psychol Sci. 2018 Apr;29(4):656-666.

  • Silvio Maltagliati, Philippe Sarrazin, Layan Fessler, Maël Lebreton, Boris Cheval, Why people should run after positive affective experiences instead of health benefits, Journal of Sport and Health Science, 2022,

More Tips on Time-Effective Exercise

Time-Effective Stretching

Time-Effective Strength Training

Time-Effective Cardio

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