Family. Household. Work. School. Friends. Between all of the responsibilities you might have, exercise often seems like a nice idea–but not a realistic one. But even busy people can find time for fitness with a little creativity.
Exercise helps with weight control, strengthens muscles, keeps bones strong, battles stress, enhances sleep and mood, and may even improve immune function. If you reap these benefits, you may find yourself getting things done faster and more efficiently in all areas of your life–giving you more time and energy to put back into exercise. It’s a positive cycle. Just remember to get your doctor’s approval before you dive in.
Work Fitness Into Your Workday
If your 9-to-5 is spoken for, find small ways to work in activity. For a cardio boost, park farther away from your workplace entrance. Or get off the bus a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way to your home or office. Climbing stairs is a great exercise, too. You also can do a drill of running in place for 60 seconds.
For strength building, try one-legged squats (hold onto a wall or table for support). Or while sitting in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it straight out then lower and lift for 15 repetitions. To work your chest, shoulders and arms, place both hands on your chair arms (make sure it’s a steady chair without wheels). Slowly lift your butt off the seat. Lower yourself but stop short of touching the seat with your butt. Do 12 to 15 repetitions.
For flexibility, you can do neck rolls, shoulder rolls, and quad or hamstring stretches while standing at your desk.
Turn Home Time Into Fitness Fun
When you walk the dog, make it a one or two mile brisk walk, jog or run. Stepping out to check the mail or pick up the newspaper? Keep on walking! You can also march or jog in place while watching your favorite TV show.
If you have children in your household or watch kids during the day, don’t let them hold you back. In fact, they can benefit from activity too. With preschool and school-aged children, you can walk or jog in the park, play catch, ride bikes, hike, and swim during the warmer months. In the winter, you can sled, ice skate, snowshoe, and cross-country ski. With infants and toddlers, put them in a stroller and go for a brisk walk or jog with some ankle weights. If offered in your community, try a Mommy and me yoga class.
Move at Every Chance
Use a basket instead of a cart if you need only a few items at the grocery store. If you use a cart, pick up the pace when going down the aisles that contain products you don’t need. Walk around medical buildings if you have a long wait for a doctor’s appointment. Keep moving while you catch up with family or friends on a cordless or cell phone.
Remember That Every Little Bit Adds Up
People tend to think they need to spend hours working out, but you can achieve healthy benefits with a 20- to 30-minute workout three or four times a week.