Sure, you’re well aware that you should exercise, but if it’s a struggle to make time in your busy life for fitness, then rest assured you’re not alone. While the CDC recommends aiming for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) each week, plenty of us find it difficult to cram those pockets of “free time” into our already jam-packed schedules. In fact, “lack of time” is one of the most common reasons people claim they’re not exercising enough, yet that doesn’t mean you should allow your well-being to fall by the wayside.
Instead, take a new approach and sneak “microbursts” of activity into your day: Research shows that even brief amounts of exercise can help you fortify your cardiorespiratory health, manage your weight, and simply boost your overall well-being. The best part is that you may be more likely to stick with your fitness plan because it’s easier to fit into your already hectic day.
Your fitness mission—and we hope that you’ll accept it—is to take a stealthy approach to fitting in more fitness with these sly (and simple) techniques.
Your Mission: Sneak in Fitness at Work
Even if you’re chained to your computer—in fact, especially if you spend the majority of your day chair-bound—there are ample opportunities to get moving even while on the clock:
- Exit the bus or train a few stops before you normally disembark and walk the extra blocks to your office. If you commute by car, choose the farthest parking spot away from the entrance and hoof it to your building.
- Schedule physical activity just like you would any other appointment. Set a timer or reminder on your calendar as a reminder to get up from your chair and stretch or go for a walk.
- Every time your telephone rings, stand up and do a few calf raises, march in place, or pace back and forth. If you’re stuck on a long phone call, practice exercises that build strength and balance, such as squats, desk push-ups, and chair poses.
- Store small hand weights or a resistance band at your workstation and grab them for bicep curls, rows, overhead presses, and lateral raises. To make sure you’re doing these exercises correctly, view online videos demonstrating the different moves so you can safely add them to your at-work repertoire.
- Instead of pinging a coworker with a question or to discuss an item, walk to his or her office or desk for an in-person conversation.
- When you need to use a break room, conference room, or restroom, choose one that’s farther away from your workstation. Bonus points if it’s up a few flights of stairs and skip the elevator, of course.
Your Mission: Sneak in Fitness at Home
With “microbursts,” you may not even realize you’re doing them because you’re being productive and, yes, sometimes even having a blast! You’ll also set a great example for your family by sneaking in fitness whenever you can:
- While watching television, avoid the urge to morph into a couch potato and get up on your feet to walk or jog in place, practice yoga, lift weights, or walk on a treadmill.
- Take a few minutes to pull weeds, rake leaves, or sweep your sidewalk. You’ll increase your heart rate and simultaneously boost your home’s curb appeal.
- Tackle that to-do list: Paint the bathroom, organize your closet, or clean out your garage—you’ll be amazed at how much physical energy these tasks require.
- Toss a Frisbee or softball outside for a few minutes with your kids or a friend.
- Take a walk or bike ride through a park or neighborhood you’ve never explored before.
Your Mission: Sneak in Fitness While on the Road
Whether traveling for work or for play, seek out opportunities to be a little more active while on the go. By doing so, you’ll feel better overall and even get to experience new places in new ways:
- During a long car trip, stop frequently to walk and stretch your body.
- If you’re flying, take a brisk walk through the airport terminal before you board.
- Pack workout clothes, sneakers, and a swimsuit and take advantage of the equipment in the hotel fitness center or swimming pool—even if you only use it for a short time, you’ll be prepared with the gear you need to make it happen.
- Take as many opportunities as possible to travel by foot, such as walking to restaurants, checking out local attractions, or going for a walk to explore the new locale.
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.