10 really easy ways to fit in a workout or two in your busy schedule
Remember stolen moments here and there do add up. While most experts recommend working out at least 30 minutes a day, we realize that squeezing in half an hour of exercise and taking it up to an hour a day might not be possible for many who have to go to work and have tens of other things to tackle on a daily basis. But that’s no reason to lose heart and give up on exercise altogether.
The good news is that a study has found that people who split their exercise routine into 10-minute sessions each are more likely to exercise consistently and lose weight than those who exercise for over 30 minutes straight. Breaking your workout session into smaller and thus manageable chunks can also keep your confidence up, since skipping it altogether can make you feel tired, guilty, or depressed. Not only that, breaking your workout into smaller sessions also means you are more likely to give it that short amount of time it needs in between all the various things you have to do every day.
If you don’t know how to begin, here are some really simple and practical ways in which you can incorporate exercise into your daily life, even when you are hard pressed for time.
#1: When you go outside to pick up your morning newspaper, take a brisk five-minute power walk up the street in one direction and back in the other. You can also use this same technique as you are drinking water upon waking up. Just walk around the neighborhood for a quick morning workout. The good thing is that you don’t even need to change out of your pajamas. Just slip on some comfortable shoes and you are good to go. Also, doing this early in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day and you are more likely to be motivated to do quick workouts whenever you can.
#2: Making breakfast? Do jumping jacks or jog on spot as you wait for the bread to pop out of the toaster or the eggs to get done. You can also do some pushups at the kitchen counter. Simply stand at an arm’s length from the counter and push your arms against it.
#3: While moving about, carry a pair of dumbbells in one hand and go about your daily chores. It might be difficult initially but, with time, you will definitely get the hang of it. A great idea would be to keep a pair of dumbbells under the bathroom sink and get a quick workout as your brush your teeth. You can also do this as you catch up on the news on television.
#4: Walk around whenever you can – if you are waiting for someone, at the checkout counter at the supermarket, or if you are one the phone. You can also jog for a minute or two as your fitness level improves. The idea is to never sit still when you can be moving.
#5: At work, make it a point to get up from your chair every half an hour and climb stairs for at least two to three minutes. You can also go on a quick trot around the building premises and get back to work recharged if climbing stairs isn’t your thing. But the best thing would be to climb stairs as that way you would get some much-needed cardio into your day.
#6: While sitting, strengthen your core muscles with abdominal exercises. Plant your feet firmly on the ground and make sure your knees are relaxed. Contract the muscles around your belly button, hold for as long as you can and then release. Do this as many times as you can and as often as you can. This simple workout is really effective to noticeably tighten your core area over time.
#7: You have probably heard this one before, but it really works. And we can’t stress enough on its importance. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Find a parking spot far away from your building so you get a little extra walking. If you take the bus to work, get off a stop before your office and walk the extra distance. It might take you a little more time to get to your destination, but all of those extra steps really add up.
#8: It’s easier to fit in a workout on the weekend, but not when your household tasks take over most of your free time. Instead of missing out on a workout, turn some chores into exercise. For instance, wash the car by hand rather than taking it to the car wash and do some gardening or mop the floors till it sparkles. You are killing two birds with one stone here.
#9: And do some squats. These are the easiest and most effective way to lose weight and tone your muscles as well. Just a simple bodyweight squat workout uses almost every muscle group in the body. In addition to your legs, squats use your hips, back and core, and shoulders and arms. So, the first thing in the morning or the last thing at night, do 50 squats straight. You can start with 20 and gradually work your way up.
#10: Staying fit isn’t only about exercising. It’s about what you put in your body as well. So watch what you eat. In fact, it’s possible to lose weight without even exercising at all. Monitor your nutritional choices and try to drink more water instead of sipping on fizzy drinks and juices. The idea here is to eat when you are hungry and not overstuff yourself. Cut down your portion sizes and always carry healthy snacks like an apple or assorted nuts in your bag.