Studies show that getting as little as ten minutes exercise a few times per day can have significant health benefits. Carving out two hours to hit the gym isn’t always necessary, and most of us don’t have that kind of time in our busy schedules. The key is to get moving wherever you spend your time. Working long days? Juggling work, kids and putting dinner on the table? Or maybe you’re just looking for variety. We’ve got your covered. Check out some ideas below.
An alternate commute
Most of us are in the habit of driving to and from work. We like to sip our coffee from our thermos, listen to radio banter and mentally prepare for the day ahead. Biking or walking to work can replace your coffee altogether by kick-starting your endorphins and clearing your head before you arrive at your desk. Choosing to get a workout in while you commute has become increasingly popular thanks to city bike lanes in many large cities and more affordable equipment options. The best part is, by the time you get to your first meeting you will be firing on all cylinders – ready to take on the hectic day ahead.
Get fit tip: Check out your local bike routes and map out your most efficient trip. Get reflectors for your helmet and an LED light for your bike if you will be on the road after dark. Invite a co-worker to join you!
Pack a picnic and go hiking
Take the kids hiking this weekend. Pack a lunch and enjoy the beauty of nature while you get a great workout. Most cities have guides that share information about local hikes like level of difficulty, best time of year to visit and any local attractions that are en route. Plus it’s fun for the whole family, your best friends or your partner. Breathe in the fresh air, snap a selfie at the top and meander back down at your own pace.
Get fit tip: Can’t find a hiking buddy? Join a meet-up group online.
Play with the kids after dinner and you’ll burn calories, unwind and get them ready for bed. Play a quick game of basketball, pickup baseball or a simple game of tag. Take advantage of the light in the summer months and get outside.
Get fit tip: Ask your kids to plan a game that they’re into to take the preparation out of the equation. You’d be surprised what they’ll come up with!
Invest in a set of dumbbells
Lift weights while you’re watching TV or while you’re walking around the house. Throw in some lunges holding a dumbbell in each hand while you walk down your hallway. An eight to ten pound weight will do fine, especially if you want to tone your arms and shoulder muscles.
Get fit tip: Do bicep curls, tricep dips and lateral raises on the commercial break. It’s 2-3 minutes of time periodically throughout your show and gives you a structure to work with. No one is actually watching the commercials anyway, right?
Take the stairs
This is the simplest, most convenient way to get a few minutes of exercise in multiple times per day. Walk the stairs up to your floor at work instead of cramming into the elevator. Just make sure your key fob will let you in from the stairwell.
Get fit tip: Anytime you can take the stairs, do it. You can burn up to 5 calories climbing one flight of stairs! Easy, effective and always an option.
Arrive at your offsite meeting early
Give yourself an extra ten minutes before you have to meet your client and walk around the block – twice. Clear your head and come to your meeting refreshed and ready to go.
Get fit tip: Sometimes taking transit to an offsite meeting will get you moving and save you time. Look ahead to see if it’s the better choice for your time management and your fitness.
Avoid moving carpets
When you’re walking through the airport terminal, choose the slow lane and don’t opt for the moving walkways (carpets). Take the extra steps. You most likely have time to wait for your flight anyway.
Get fit tip: Before your flight, try to stand as much as you can and do simple exercised like calf raises to promote circulation in your legs. You will be sitting for long periods on the plane and high elevations often restrict blood flow. Take advantage of the airport space as much as you can before you depart.
Break up your road trip
Driving long distances? Take a pit stop for a walk instead of a burger. Get some fresh air and stretch your legs.
Get fit tip: Do a quick search before your next road trip to discover new local attractions or adventures you can have on your way to your final destination. Sometimes the fun is also in the journey.
Take your meeting outside
Instead of booking a meeting room or grabbing a coffee with your colleague, ask them to go for a walk around the neighborhood for your half hour meeting. Studies have shown that people are clearer in thought and more open when they’re walking side by side with something that when they’re sitting directly across from them. Walking will increase bloodflow, get your ideas pumping and offer an open space for discussion. Don’t be surprised if your next big project idea comes out of taking more meetings outside.
Get fit tip: Store walking shoes at your desk for your outdoor meetings. That way you’re not bound to your desk because you’re wearing your new stilettos to work today.
Cook and exercise
Try some standing pushups while you wait for the oven to heat up. Use your baking time to do some quick lunges or pushups. Incorporate short exercise spurts into your wait times while you cook up a storm in the kitchen.
Get fit tip: Throw on your favorite workout tunes on your laptop or put in your ear buds to spice it up.
Bring your workout class to you
Invite some friends over, clear the living room and follow a yoga class on YouTube. You provide fresh lemon water, they bring the post workout snacks, and voila! This way you take your friend dates out of the coffee shop or the bar and into your home. Oh, and it’s make sure to remind them it’s BYOM (bring your own mat)!
Get fit tip: YouTube is packed full of fun exercise classes that you can customize to your needs. It’s a less expensive option than a spin class or Pilates drop-in fee.
Shop ‘til you drop
Shopping burns calories. Start at one end of the mall and walk to the other end, stopping at stores you love. Take the stairs up one floor and do the same. Take a friend and make an afternoon of it.
Get fit tip: Most malls open their doors to walking groups before the official mall doors open. While you may not see many people under sixty in the crowd, malls offer a great space to walk indoors without hitting a treadmill.
Need to tend to your grass? Weeds out of control? Throw on your oldest workout clothes and get your hands dirty. Gardening is a full body workout that requires a strong back and limber joints. It’ll get your outside with the whole family and you’ll be getting to those chores you have been putting off for weeks now.
Get fit tip: Incorporate lunges, pushups and sprints into your gardening routine to push it up a notch.
Cleaning your house burns calories, period. One hour of sweeping, mopping and scrubbing can burn up to 200 calories. Burn through your to-do list and those extra few pounds.
Get fit tip: Moving house? Lifting boxes and moving furniture can burn up to 100 calories every fifteen minutes! We’ll call that a silver lining.
Stand at your desk
More and more companies are offering stand up desks for employees who are looking for a more active workday, or who suffer from back pain due to prolonged sitting. If a new desk isn’t an option, try standing while you’re on your next phone call. If you don’t need to be at your computer typing, pace the room or your cubicle to get yourself moving.
Get fit tip: If you have the privacy, try taking off your heels at your desk and placing your feet flat on the floor. Sitting in heels can put your back out of line. Root yourself on the floor periodically throughout the day and feel a world of difference.