You carve time from your busy schedule to exercise. Maybe it’s an hour per day, or perhaps you can only squeeze in a 15-minute walk. However much time you’re able to spend on your workouts, you want to get the most benefit in exchange for your efforts. After all, you’re doing this for important reasons. Your health depends upon it, and you might be trying to reach a weight loss or fitness goal as well.

Keep showing up for every workout, no matter how much time you have. In the meantime, try these tips to wring the most benefits from your exercise routine.

Get out of the gym. If you’ve been using a treadmill or stationary bike, you might be interested to learn that doing the real thing actually burns more calories. What’s the “real thing”? Riding a real bike, or walking or running on the ground! As an added bonus, the sunlight you will receive gives you a nice boost to your mood.

Mix it up. You only have so much time to exercise, so you fall into the common rut of going through the same routine every time. Unfortunately, your body adapts to repeated activity, requiring fewer calories to complete the activities each time. Switch up your activities to keep your metabolism on its toes, and you’ll reap a higher calorie burn.

Do something unfamiliar. Since your body burns more calories while performing unfamiliar activities, use that to your advantage. Skip instead of running, carry hand weights on your walk, push a stroller, or try a new type of dance class.

Carb up. Carbs are bad, right? Actually, no. After a difficult workout, your body might use muscle tissue for fuel. Refuel your body with a healthy carb-based snack. Just don’t overdo it, or eat unhealthy, sugary treats.

Stay cool. When you become overheated, your brain suffers something called “central nervous system fatigue”. Your brain struggles to send the right signals to your muscles, causing you to slow down or make mistakes. At best, you aren’t exercising at maximum intensity. At worst, you could actually injure yourself (and be forced to sit on the sidelines for weeks while you heal). Make sure to dress in light, breathable clothing, drink plenty of water, and avoid the hottest part of the day if you exercise outside.

Push yourself just a little bit harder. If you’re carving out small bits of time for your workouts, you might as well get the most benefits possible. Alternate bursts of high-intensity activities with lower-intensity ones. You will keep your heart rate high during the entire workout, burn more calories and challenge your body to get into even better shape.