We all lead busy lives these days. This can make it hard to find time to exercise. But you don’t need to carve out an hour of every day to get fit. There are plenty of ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Path to improved health
Getting enough exercise isn’t really about finding the time. It’s about finding the willingness to do it, no matter what. Even if you can’t find a chunk of time to work out, you can try some of these ideas to make fitness part of your life all day long.
Get up and go. As soon as you roll out of bed, hit the floor and do as many pushups and sit-ups as you can. It will only take you about 5 minutes, and it will get your blood moving to wake you up quickly. It’s a great way to start your day, and will encourage you to keep it up as the day goes on.
Break it up. Experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise a day. Don’t have 30 minutes? Break it up into 3 sessions of 10 minutes each, spread throughout the day. Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier and take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Walk for 10 minutes at lunch, and for another 10 when you get home from work.
Go the long way. Create ways to work more walking into your day. Walk to work if possible. Park you car as far away from the door as you can, whether you’re going to work or going shopping. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Build in a little extra time so you don’t have to take shortcuts. The long way is better for you!
Sit on a ball. Trade your office desk chair for an exercise ball. You’ll engage your core and back to stay balanced, giving you a sneaky way to build some muscle. You could even use the ball to do other exercises throughout the day, like pushups, sit-ups, or squats.
Get out of your chair. Regardless of what kind of chair you have, get out of it. Don’t send your coworker an email or call them. Get up and walk over to their desk. It will get your blood moving, get you socializing, and encourage healthier habits.
Multitask. Anytime you’ve got some phone calls to make or brainstorming to do, do them while walking. Even if you’re just pacing around your office, you’re still doing more for your body than if you were sitting down.
Play waiting games. Waiting is part of life, so make the most of it. Waiting in line at the grocery store? Flex and release your abs, or do calf raises while you stand there. Ab work can also be done when you’re in the car sitting at a red light.
Skip the shopping cart. Instead of using a cart to hold your stuff at the store, bring your own sturdy bags and load them up. You’ll get a mini-workout from lifting and carrying them. And you won’t have to take home any more plastic grocery bags!
Walk the dog. If you have a dog, walk it. Even if you have a fenced backyard and usually just let Fido outside, walk him anyway. You’ll both benefit, plus you’ll get a little bonding time.
Watch TV actively. If you have a treadmill or stationary bicycle, you can use one while you watch your favorite show. Keep at a moderate pace, then bump it up during commercials. If you don’t have equipment, try exercises like pushups, sit-ups, planks, and jumping jacks during commercials.
Put some work into your cooking. You’re already on your feet while you’re making dinner, so put some action in it. Dance between the fridge and the stove. Do stand-up pushups against the counter while you’re waiting for the water to boil. Do squats while you’re stirring the pasta.
Play with the kids. No matter how old they are, you can actively play with your kids after dinner. Take little ones to the park and run around with them. Play catch or soccer with older ones. Walk there and back if you can, so everyone gets some time to move before the day is done.
Things to consider
Finding ways to work exercise into your day isn’t hard. But it’s best if you use it as a supplement to a regular fitness routine. Try to find 30 minutes or more on most days to get a thorough workout. Then, when you add in smaller activities throughout your day, you’ll get even more of a benefit.
Questions to ask your doctor
- How much exercise should I be getting every week?
- What types of exercises are safe for me to do?
- Should I get a pedometer?
- What exercises can I do at home?
- What are your suggestions for ways to work fitness into my day?
Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.