You know you need to be more active, but how can you fit exercise into your day when there is never enough time?
Between work and family responsibilities, many of us feel like we are running frantically from one task to another with little time to focus on taking care of ourselves. Here are twenty-one ways to get in some intentional exercise, no matter how busy you are.
1. Extra steps.
Park far away from the door at work and at stores so that you have to walk farther to reach your destination.
2. Get up earlier.
Rising 30 minutes earlier would let you get in a brisk 30 minute walk or jog. Be sure to go to bed 30 minutes earlier, too, so you don't miss out on important sleep.
3. YouTube exercise videos.
Seriously, there are a ton of free workouts available on YouTube, some of them just 7 minutes long. And 7 minutes is better than 0 minutes.
4. Recover lost time.
Do a time study on yourself. Write down everything that you do during a day, and the time each activity takes. Is there time in your day that you could substitute exercise for something else? I found I was spending an hour drinking coffee and reading the news first thing in the morning to "wake up." That's a time suck that could be better filled with exercise and a healthy green smoothie.
5. Take the stairs.
Stairs are great for building large muscle strength in your thighs and glutes. Take the stairs at every opportunity!
6. Walking/Standing desk.
Sitting is the new smoking, so if your workplace allows you to use a walking or standing desk, take advantage.
7. Office routine.
If you work at a desk job, every hour or two, get up and walk around the office. Set an alarm to remind you if you tend to get absorbed in your work. A quick walkabout will allow you to return to your work refreshed and re-focused.
8. Desk Exercise.
That sedentary desk job is not helping your physical fitness. Take a few minutes every hour to work in some stretching, lunges or squats, calf raises, glute squeezes, or wall pushups.
9. Desk weights.
Keep a pair of small hand weights at your desk, and do a few reps of curls, shoulder presses and throughout the day.
10. TV Exercise.
Instead of kicking back to watch your favorite show, use that time to get in some exercise time. Treadmill, stationary cycle, marching in place, squats, weights, leg lefts.
11. Bedtime stretching.
As part of your before bedtime routine, engage in slow stretching exercises or yoga. You'll maintain your flexibility and the relaxing stretches will help you sleep better.
12. Dance your way to a cleaner house.
When you are cleaning, turn on the party music and bust out the dance moves. You'll be more physically active and house cleaning will be way more fun.
Cooking in the kitchen, washing dishes, and folding laundry can be physical exercise time, too. Add some squats and wall push ups as you go through your tasks.
14. Shared time.
Get in some quality time with your spouse, children, or BFF by going for a walk after work. It's a great way to catch up with focused, undistracted conversation while improving physical fitness.
15. Team sports.
If you are used to waiting in the car while your children are at team sports practices, get out of the car and walk around the building, field, or parking lot. Get your exercise while they get theirs.
Are you taking the kids or grand kids to the park or playground? Instead of sitting on the bench, get up and play with them, Run around, climb on the equipment, slide down the slides, jump in puddles, play ball. You might start to feel like a kid again.
17. Join a class.
If you pay for it and there are other people there, you will feel more obligated and committed to go. Better yet, join with a friend or your spouse.
18. Running errands and getting to work.
For errands close to home, walk or ride your bike. If your job is local, ride your bike or walk to work. If you take public transportation, get off at an earlier stop and walk the rest of the way.
19. Change your friend activities.
Instead of getting together for lunch, coffee, or a movie, meet up for a physical activity - golf, tennis, or bowling. Planning a get-together with work mates or friends? Suggest a fun and physical team activity like paintball or a charity walk.
20. Reading exercise.
Do you love to read? Get your books on audio and walk while you listen.
21. Yard Work.
You can burn a lot of calories working in your yard or garden. Using a push mower, raking, digging, turning compost, and carrying bags of soil, rocks, bricks, will all build muscle and stamina. And you'll have a beautiful yard as well!
Do you have more ideas for fitting exercise into your busy day? Share them in the comments!