Hit the alarm, wake up, get breakfast on the table, get the kids ready, work 8 or 9 hours, pick the kids up from school, cook dinner, soccer practice, bath time, clean up… EXERCISE? Maybe tomorrow. Sound familiar? Are you one of many struggling to find a place to squeeze in exercise?
It’s a common misconception that in order to get quality exercise you must crank out at least an hour at the gym. More and more research is showing there is substantial benefit to adding short bouts of exercise during your day—and without even stepping foot in a gym! According to a recent study by the American Counsel of Exercise, short stints of exercise that were sustained for less than 10 minutes were beneficial for weight gain prevention. In another NHANES study, the more breaks from sitting the participants had, the slimmer their waistlines and the lower their C-reactive protein levels (a marker of inflammation). We also know that without a doubt, breaks from a generally sedentary lifestyle will help with blood sugar control. Every minute of intentional movement counts. Find satisfaction in knowing that your efforts of using the stairs instead of the elevator and choosing the furthest parking spot from the door are not wasted!
Here are 10 simple ways to add more exercise into your day:
1. Have a desk job? Keep a water bottle at your desk and only fill it halfway so that you have to get up for refills throughout the day.
2. Even if we don’t want to admit it, the TV typically takes at least an hour or two of our time. At each commercial break, add in 20 tricep bench dips and feel the burn. Or ditch tonight’s TV time and get out for a walk or bike ride.
3. At the top of each hour, roll your chair back away from your desk and hold a squat for 20 seconds, followed by 10 full squats, repeat. Set your alarm on your phone to remind you to get up every hour!
4. Scheduled buddy system! Intentionally schedule in a few “breaks” in your day with a coworker and try a plank circuit. It will only take 2 minutes!
- On your forearms, hold a standard plank for 40 seconds.
- Roll over onto your right arm for a side plank, and hold for 40 seconds.
- Roll over onto your left arm for a final side plank, and hold for 40 seconds.
5. While waiting for the water to boil or the oven to pre-heat, fill your time with angled push-ups on the counter.
6. Is there an important webinar or conference call to attend today? Have your dumbbells handy! Squeeze in bicep curls, tricep extensions and shoulder presses during the call. They’ll never know! ☺
7. Have a baby fighting nap time? Try side lunges as you “rock” your baby to sleep.
8. In the yard, make an effort to bend down and pick your dandelions or other unwanted weeds. Three benefits here: exercise, pretty lawn and you won’t have to use those toxic herbicides.
9. Intermission of the school play or at the halftime of a sporting event is a great time for a 5-10 minute power walk either in the hallways or around the building while you are supporting your children.
10. Plan active date nights! Whether it’s quality time with your loved one or with the kids, skip the dinner and a movie and go for something with movement! Make dinner at home, then walk to your favorite park, bike the neighborhood, maybe take up tennis…or, pack a PFC picnic dinner and find a unique spot outside to enjoy it!
No time for a 60 minute workout or personal training session? Don’t sweat it. These 10 ways to get your body moving can really make a difference! Whenever you catch yourself in a situation that your body needs to reach, pull, push, squat, rotate…add a few reps! Every movement counts so make the most of it.
Your turn: What’s your favorite way to sneak in exercise?