Let’s face it, fitting in a complete workout for an hour or more at the gym or going to a fitness class just isn’t in the cards sometimes. During very busy times, like the end of the school year, the holidays, or just during a particularly busy time in your life, it’s sometimes just not possible to stick to a regular workout schedule. Missing a workout here or there is not going to derail your overall fitness, but getting even just a little bit of exercise when life gets frantic has been shown to help reduce stress.
There are creative ways you can work in a workout when you’re pressed for time. Use some of these ideas to get your body moving when life doesn’t seem to stop moving.
Take the stairs.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s true. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work or whenever possible add up to more steps over time. It may seem simple but taking the stairs can help strengthen leg muscles and improve strength in the lower back, which is helpful for avoiding back pain. Up your game by taking the stairs twice; once you reach your floor, turn around, head back down, and go back up again. Additionally, always park farther than usual in parking lots, so you’re taking more steps to get where you’re going.
Exercise at your desk.
Use time sitting at your desk checking emails and reading reports to get in a bit of exercise. You can use hand weights to do bicep curls or overhead raises or use an exercise ball instead of a chair.
Move during your lunch hour.
Pack your lunch and eat at your desk so you can use your lunch hour to get in a workout. Grab a co-worker and go for a walk, or if your office has an on-site gym, it’s a great time to get a quick workout.
Walk or bike instead of driving.
If you live or work in an area where you can walk or bike to your destination, it can make a big difference in your activity levels.
Try speed walking.
Go out for a walk but walk as fast as you can—just be mindful of using proper posture and form. It may feel strange at first, but you will get used to it fairly quickly and will burn a lot of calories in a short period.
Walk or run in place while watching TV.
Unwinding from a long day by watching your favorite TV show is a great way to de-stress, but you can also use this time to get in a workout by walking or jogging in place while you watch.
Stretch, squat, and bend when standing in line.
Whenever you find yourself standing in a long line, use this time to move your body. Do some squats or leg stretches, or contract your abdominal muscles.
Turn housework into a workout.
You can burn calories while cleaning your house! Move more energetically while vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing. Wash all your family’s cars by hand.
Do yard work.
Get outside and do your own yard work. Use a push mower instead of a ride-on mower. Working in a garden is also a great way to get moving and de-stressing.
Play with your kids.
If you’re a parent, spend quality time with your kids while playing like a kid. Play a game of tag or kick or throw a ball around outside. Put on some music and have a dance party. Make it fun; kids love to move, so get moving along with them!