Squeezing in Exercise When There’s No Time to Spare

No time to get to the gym?  No problem!  You can add in some extra movement into your daily routine… the trick is to do it often enough to make it a habit.  I’ve been trying to hit the gym more often since starting to compete in Genghis Grill’s 2013 Health Kwest, but sometimes it’s nice to get in some exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise… like a walk at the park with my friend Holly and her kiddos!

Pre-Shower Workout

Do this routine before every shower:  50 jumping jacks, 5 pushups, 20 crunches, 20 mountain climbers, and 30 second plank. I like the idea of doing it before every shower, then it is easier to become part of a routine.

Here are some extra ideas in case the pre-shower workout doesn’t sound like your cup of tea.

1. Park further away. Yes, it’s a drag, it’s hot in Florida, and you’re probably in a rush… but you can use the exercise.

2. Take the stairs. Sure, the elevator is quicker (unless you have to wait a long time for it). But your body will thank you each time you choose the stairs over the elevator. Bonus: If the power goes out, you’re not trapped with random strangers!

3. Do 25 jumping jacks every time you go to the bathroom. This should add up during the day and since it is spread out, you’ll hardly realize how many you’re actually doing each day.

4. Get a recumbent bike and ride while you watch TV. I do this on occasion and it really goes by very quickly! Plus, you’re knocking out two birds with one stone. Or, get your favorite suitcase and fill it with enough weight that you can carry but enough to make it a little challenge. Watch your TV show standing up. Hold the suitcase. Set it down during commercials. Switch arms. Repeat. Step it up by marching in place at the same time.

5. Think of fun things to do that don’t feel like exercise: bowling, swimming, dancing, ride a bike, etc.

6. Make a point to go on a walk with your entire family on the weekends. You’ll be able to enjoy quality time, fresh air, and good, healthy exercise.

7. Think of ways that everyday chores can be turned into exercise. (Put some weights in the laundry basket while you carry it back and forth around the house; Give yourself some sets of short exercises to do each time you check off one of your chores; Have stairs? Make yourself go up and down the stairs 3x every time you use them instead of just one; etc.)

8. Set your alarm clock somewhere that requires you to get up and turn it off. You’ll be less likely to hit the snooze button and those extra 15-20 minutes would be plenty of time for a quick workout.

9. Is the gym closed? Don’t worry! There are many great exercise videos on YouTube that you can do in the privacy and comfort of your own home 24/7.

10. Do some situps or crunches before bed and first thing in the morning. Start with just a few and add 5 each day to work your way up.

11. Still having trouble committing? Try breaking it up. Instead of exercising for an hour, try 2 30-minute sessions.

12. Video gaming: change your gaming from sitting on the couch to something more interactive like Wii or XBOX Kinect that requires you to get up and move!

13. Check your e-mails standing up instead of sitting down. Walk or run in place while browsing your Facebook News Feed. Sitting in a chair all day? Try some chair exercises (lifting up and down from the arms or seat of the chair). There are also floor pedals you can buy to place on the floor beneath your chair so you can pedal your legs while you work. Spend less time in the break room chatting over coffee and take a co-worker on a walk around the building during your breaks.

14. Have small children? I use Andrew as a weight and lift him up and down and up and down several times throughout the day. He LOVES it and it strengthens my arms.

15. Work keeping you busy? Set your away message when you leave and let it go until morning. Use that evening time for things that better your life, not cause stress.

16. Be sure to get a good nights’ sleep so you wake up well-rested and are ready to start your day right.

17. Before you leave the grocery store, do an extra lap around the entire store. Next time you are at the mall, walk through the entire mall before leaving. Have some time? Try on clothes. Trying on clothes burns calories. Plus, it will motivate you to reward yourself for a job well done (working out) or keep going until you like what you see!

18. Turn your head to the left. Turn your head to the right. Repeat this every time you’re offered something not good to eat.

19. In school? Bring your reading material to the gym. There are plenty of bike exercises that can be done while reading or even on the treadmill. Always find ways to do two things at once. Then you’re not losing any time. You’re doubling your productivity.

20. Use a buddy, an app, or something that works for you to keep you accountable. It’s so easy to make excuses and say, “I’ll do better tomorrow.” But, today is yesterday’s tomorrow. A year from now you will wish you’d started today. No one said it would be easy, but each step is one step closer to your goal. The closer you get, the easier it becomes. Do it because it’s worth it. You’re worth it. Make time for yourself today because you don’t want to wake up one day and find out it’s too late to un-do all of the things you’ve done. In 10 years, your health will matter a whole lot more than what show you watched or who you were stalking on Facebook. Take time away from something that isn’t important to do what is, even if you start with 30 minutes a day. Make that time count. And always remember, no matter how small those first steps are, they’re bigger steps than people who never take them at all.

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