Exercising is important. It not only keeps you healthy and fit but it also makes you feel good about yourself. But, try as you might, it can sometimes be difficult to fit in an hour-long workout into your routine. For those days when you are hard pressed for time, here’s how you can stay on top of your fitness game.
Bring out the jump rope
There really couldn’t be an easier way of staying fit when you can’t do your regular workout. Regardless of your fitness level right now, this is a workout that will challenge you. Put on a two-minute timer and get jumping. Do this for at least five times – 10 minutes – a day and you have managed to fit in a solid workout into your busy schedule. While jumping, focus on keeping your back straight and look ahead. Don’t let your neck drop as this creates a lot of tension on your neck and shoulder muscles. Make sure you are using your wrists to turn the rope (not your elbows or shoulders). Good wrist rotation is also the key to good rope rotation. And finally, maintain a light bound all the way through. Don’t jump too high or bring your knees up or kick your feet back. Bend your knees slightly for adequate shock absorption. As you get better, work on increasing the pace of your jumps.
Climb the stairs
You don’t need fancy gym equipment – or even a skipping rope for that matter – to get a good workout. Get some quick exercise into your day by simply climbing the stairs. Research shows that stair climbing helps strengthen and tone your leg muscles. It keeps your leg arteries flexible, allowing blood to move more easily. Better blood flow in your legs equals a healthier heart and body. This simple activity also helps our body produce endorphins – the hormones known for creating a sense of happiness in our mind. It’s also a great form of cardio exercise as, while climbing stairs, you work against gravity lifting your entire body. According to studies, taking a three-minute stroll up and down the stairs after a meal may also help you control your blood sugar. Make it a point to go up and down the stairs a few times in a day even when you are at work. Just a two-minute stair climbing session four to five times a day when you are at work can compensate pretty well for a skipped workout.
Do the Surya Namaskar
For centuries, people have been bowing and offering prayers to the sun – the source of life on the planet. It’s believed that an element of the sun is present in everything we eat, drink, and breathe. The Surya Namaskar is a comprehensive workout that works on the entire body. The diverse 12 postures stretch, strengthen, and boost fitness levels of the body. Besides relieving constipation and promoting healthy digestion, doing the Surya Namaskar on a daily basis helps aid weight loss around the abdominal region as the asanas tone the abs and strengthen the musculoskeletal system. Contrary to popular belief, perfecting the Surya Namaskar isn’t difficult. However, if you are new to this, we recommend you get someone to guide you through the basics as doing the asanas wrong could lead you to pull a muscle. Once you get the hang of it, you will find that this is an effective exercise for weight loss, increased flexibility, and better health.
Turn to YouTube
YouTube can really be your savior when you don’t have time to go to the gym or you have had to skip your morning jog in order to complete some chores. There are many short exercise videos on YouTube that can help you get your heart rate up in a matter of minutes. Try some light yoga or do a few minutes of pilates – you can do anything you want and you can vary your workout according to your mood too. With no dearth of workout videos, there really is no need to stick to one particular routine. There are also some really great seven-minute workout videos on YouTube that we highly recommend. They are on Lucy Wyndham-Read’s channel by the same name. Do check them out. We have been told that her seven-minute workouts to lose belly fat, to tone your legs, and to drop a dress size are highly effective. Then there’s BeFit, one of the better known fitness channels on YouTube. Professional trainers like Jillian Michaels, Denise Austin, and Jane Fonda among others feature here in the many exercise videos. There’s also the series of videos on five-minute workouts that are just great for times when you have a zillion things to do and need some quick mood lifters.
Convert your chores into mini workouts
Often times you don’t get to go to the gym or hit the treadmill at home because there are just so many things that need your attention. If that’s the case, then consider this: Put on some music and make the activities that are keeping you away from working out into mini workouts. If you want a real challenge, do some push-ups or squats every time a new song starts to play. If you have to vacuum the house, make it as strenuous as possible by trying to reach as far and wide as possible. Or be as quick and vigorous as you can. If you have to wash dishes, try to do so while standing and balancing on one leg. Set a 10-minute timer and rush around cleaning the house. This will definitely make you break a sweat. At the grocery store, don’t opt for the pushcart. Get one of those baskets that you have to carry. By learning to convert chores into exercise, you won’t have to skip working out ever again.