5 Workouts for Busy Teachers

5 Workouts for Busy Teachers

by Emily Palmer


As a teacher, it can often be hard to find time to take care of yourself. When you’re at school, your focus is on your students. When you get home in the evening, you may have papers to grade, or life’s activities just seem to get in the way. If you have a family, your focus is on them when you’re at home. After your children go to bed, you spend hours preparing for the next day.

It’s easy to let healthy habits like working out fall by the wayside.

As busy as you are as a teacher, you’re probably wondering why you should even consider adding one more thing to your busy schedule. When you consider some of the benefits of exercise include better relaxation, increased energy, reduced stress levels and better brain function, you may find that working out will help you manage your already busy schedule.  

What if I told you that exercise can be incorporated naturally into your day? Would you be more likely to try adding it to your schedule? Here are five workouts even busy teachers can do.

1. Play a game of tag

At school recess, some teachers may mingle together while watching their students play. One easy way to workout is to organize a game of tag with your students. Instead of sitting on the sidelines at recess, get up, gather your students and start a rousing game of tag.

Running around the playground is definitely a cardiovascular exercise. Everyone involved in the game is likely to enjoy some laughter which will be a mood booster, and you might have some students who begin to see you through a new filter.

If you aren't comfortable engaging your students in a game of tag, you might consider starting a game with your own children or with nieces or nephews. The children will believe you are simply trying to play, and you reap the benefits of a cardiovascular workout that doesn't feel like a workout. 

2. Do jumping jacks

Have you ever seen a child who has just learned to do jumping jacks? Typically, they practice the simple exercise repeatedly until told to stop. The exercise combines two of their favorite activities, jumping and clapping their hands together.

As we grow older, we forget the joy we felt when we learned to do a jumping jack. Jumping jacks, when done correctly, engage your core, work your arms and legs, and get your heart pumping.

Just sixty seconds of exercise can be beneficial, so jumping jacks fit the bill nicely. How many jumping jacks can you do in sixty seconds. 


3. Strike a pose

Yoga is a form of exercise that increases your flexibility. You can do yoga at your desk if necessary.

If you have a planning period, you can take a few minutes to do a simple yoga routine.

You might consider incorporating yoga stretches into your regular classroom routine. Perhaps having the children join you in stretches before a test could be beneficial both to your health and to their test scores.

4. Add extra steps to your day

Walking is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise, and it is one of the easiest workouts to add to a busy schedule. You can incorporate more walking into your routine both at school and during your off time.

 Simple ways to add more steps to your day while you are working include taking the longer way to get to the gym, library, or cafeteria, and parking further from the building. If your school requires you to park in a specified place every day, find the longest route possible to get from your car to your classroom.

 Consider walking around the building or the track during times when students are not in your classroom, like your planning period or immediately before or after school.

 Simply walking around your classroom as you teach is an effective way to add steps to your daily routine. Rather than sit at your desk or hover near the front of your classroom, get up and move.

 When at home, take a stroll through your neighborhood. Park a little further away from the store or even the house. Make walking a family event. Have a set time when you walk your neighborhood or the local park. Is there a nature trail nearby? Make it a habit to take the entire family and walk the trail.

 Not only will you reap health benefits, but also you might find your relationships start to strengthen.


5. Play or coach a sport

Life is busy, but it should also contain an element of fun. If you participated in organized sports when you were younger, you might consider joining a team or league now.

Many communities offer an adult league. If not, perhaps you could play in a corporate league with a spouse, friend, or relative's company. Perhaps you and your coworkers would like to start a league for the teachers in your area.  

If your child plays sports, volunteer to be the assistant coach or even the head coach. Most coaches actively participate with their team especially at practices. Sports like soccer or basketball require a lot of running and physical movement. Sports like baseball, softball, or tennis require flexibility and strength in both the lower and upper portions of your body.

Regardless of the sport, the goal is to increase movement safely and in a fun manner. If you are coaching, be sure you learn the rules of your chosen sport, so you can most effectively teach the sport to children.

Bonus Tip

With all the new physical activity you’ll be incorporating into your daily routine, it’s extremely important to get a good night’s sleep to allow for your fatigued muscles to regenerate properly.

A few quick tips on this are to keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep cycle, control your exposure to light before bed, ensure you’re sleeping on a comfortable mattress, exercise during the day (you’re already accomplishing this one!), and being smart about what you eat and drink in the evenings (light or no caffeine).


Exercise doesn't have to be a daunting activity. With a little preparation, adding exercise to your daily routine can be more simple than you expect.

The key to incorporating a workout into your already busy day is to find activities that you can do while accomplishing the multitude of tasks already in front of you.  

Simply adjusting the way you already complete your tasks will help you find hidden opportunities to sneak in a workout. It's an added bonus if you find ways to make the new workout time fun.

Emily Palmer is a caffeinated blogger who loves talking Decorating, Travel, Yoga, Parenting, Self Development, and more. She can be reached at https://twitter.com/emilypalmer512 if you can’t find her at the local café.