You’ve probably heard the phrase, “A one-hour workout is 4% of your day.” Although it’s true, it certainly doesn’t feel that way, does it? Sometimes squeezing a workout into a schedule that’s already filled with work and family responsibilities can seem like an impossible task. But it’s not! Use these ten ways to sneak a workout into your super busy schedule.
1. Exercise During Your Work Commute
You’ve got to get to work anyway. Why not exercise in the process? So, can you walk or ride your bike to work? Do it! You’ll get a head start on the workday by getting the blood pumping to your brain before you’ve even checked your email. Do you ride the subway or bus? Consider getting off a few stops early and walking the rest of the way. If you’re too time-crunched in the morning, try riding the bus as usual to work, but then running home afterward. And if you must drive, don’t go for the closest parking spot. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. On especially busy days, every little bit of exercise helps.
2. Turn TV Time Into Exercise Time
Let’s be honest: most people who claim they have no time to work out somehow manage to find time to keep up with their favorite shows. So why not kill two birds with one stone? Sit on a resistance ball instead of the couch as you watch. Do yoga poses or crunches while you’re watching. Use the commercial breaks for cardio intervals. Think how many squat or pushups you could be doing while watching a thirty-minute or hour-long show. Add exercise in the mix and TV time becomes a bona fide workout.
3. Walk Around the Mall
If it’s the pesky weather you’re letting deter you, this may be the option for you. Whether you have actual shopping to do or you simply need a free indoor venue, malls can be a great place for cardio. Walk briskly from one side of the mall to the other and be sure to keep walking when you’re going up and down the escalators. If the idea of staring at a fixed point for an hour on the treadmill makes you want to scream, think how much the scenery will change when you’re people-watching and window-shopping.
4. Fill In the Little Gaps
You know that small amount of time between when dinner’s cooking and when it’s ready? Or those few minutes you spend on the phone waiting to get connected to a live person? Fill in those gaps with tiny bursts of exercise. Do 10 squats. Pace the hallway. Whenever you find yourself waiting for something, move while waiting instead of sitting still.
5. Set Your Alarm
Wake up 30 minutes earlier than your usual time and take a quick walk. Shave extra time off your morning routine by sleeping in your workout clothes, so all you have to do is lace up your shoes and go. Do you have a pet that needs to go out in the morning? Grab the leash and turn your pet into a walking companion.
6. Stop Doing Exercises You Hate
If you hate running, not having time to go running isn’t the problem. The same goes for any other exercise you actively dislike. There are no rules anywhere that say you must perform certain activities in order to be physically fit. Do you hate running but like yoga? Start taking yoga classes. Hate yoga but enjoy the thrill of rock climbing? Check out the rock climbing gym. Hate rock climbing but think you might enjoy trampoline aerobics? You get the picture. The correlation some people have between exercise and suffering is completely unnecessary. Do what makes you happy and you’ll suddenly have all the time in the world.
7. Combine Cardio and Strength Routines
Twenty minutes is an adequate amount of time for a good workout if you plan it well. Try doing a strength-training circuit with cardio intervals. Alternate between strength moves that hit up multiple muscles at a time (like bicep curls with squats) and quick aerobic moves like jumping jacks and jogging in place. If you’re short on time, this is a fast way to get in an efficient workout.
8. Exercise With Your Family
If one of the reasons you’re so short on time is you’re taking care of kids, involve them in your routine. Set up an obstacle course around the house or in the backyard and complete it with your kids. Get the family together for a walk. Shoot hoops or kick a soccer ball together. Exercise and family time can be the exact same thing. As a bonus, your kids will likely love the bonding time spent with you.
9. Cut Down on Screen Time
Modern social media can be a huge time suck. We say we have no time, but on the other hand most of us are spending over an hour a day online, checking our email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. As difficult as it may seem, limiting these check-ins to once or twice a day can free up a lot of time. Enough for quick workout!
10. Turn Your Home Into a Gym
If your gym isn’t conveniently located, you’re less likely to find time to go. Why not make your gym as convenient as possible by bringing it into your home? You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment—in fact, you don’t need any equipment at all. Use a chair or table for tricep dips, and use only your own body weight for other exercises. Think how many moves require absolutely no equipment: pushups, squats, lunges, crunches, Russians, reverse crunches, jumping jacks, running in place, burpees and so many more. The best part about working out from home? You can start right now. Not tomorrow, not five minutes from now, but right now. Quick: change into your workout clothes, lace up your shoes, and start.