When people think of exercise, most would describe it as breaking a sweat in the gym or pounding the pavement for miles on end, but exercise doesn't have to be so time-consuming, difficult or rigorous to provide you with great, total body benefits. In fact, the most current science is showing that exercises comprised of short, intensive bursts in between periods of rest is the most effective way to lose weight, strengthen and tone. HIIT, or "high intensity interval training" is a great way to get your body moving, increase your heart rate and see some results in your body's look and feel.
These days, everyone is so busy living life, it's easy to forget to stop and take some time to exercise the body. Exercise has proven health benefits, but who has the time to spend hours in the gym or out on the road when there are kids to be cared for, meals to be prepared, work to be done, and everything else to take care of? Thankfully, you can fit exercise into just about any schedule with a few simple tips. Take a look at what you do every day and you'll find opportunities to fit in some exercise, even in small doses.
Incorporating weights into your exercise positively impacts your overall health, from preventing osteoporosis to supporting weak ligaments and bones. Don't have traditional dumbbells or weights handy? Pick up your kid and squat during playtime. Cooking dinner? Grab a gallon of juice and lift it over your head a few times. Working a long day? Take the stairs, park as far away from the office as you can and power-walk to the front door. Get up from your desk and do some wall push-ups or squats every hour. The coffee break can involve taking a few flights of stairs or a walk around the building. On nice days, ride your bike to work. Swap out your regular work chair for an ergonomic balance ball for a seat that strengthens your core.
Even if you don't have the kind of lunch break that lets you put on your shoes and go for a run, there are ways to sneak in some great moments of exercise throughout your day just by utilizing what you have around you. Feel silly? Ask a colleague to join you. There's power in numbers! Looking for more ideas? Read on.
Ways to Incorporate Exercise into a Busy Life
- Apps – If your smart phone isn't already your new best friend, it will be once you download an exercise app that will help you incorporate exercise into your busy schedule. From tips on form to personalized workouts, and progress tracking to ideas for exercising, no matter where you are or what you're doing, apps are the personal trainer you always wished you could afford--right there in your purse or pocket.
- DVDs – The great thing about DVDs is that you can take them anywhere you take your laptop. It's like having a mobile gym class with you. DVDs let you work out at home or on the road, and usually for 30-minute intervals. Let's face it, some people need the extra motivation of seeing other people sweat it out and the encouragement of a group fitness class. DVDs let you join your exercise class anywhere you are.
- Two-for-One – One of the most frequent excuses for not exercising that parents give is that they don't have time because they're too busy taking care of kids. Walking is a great form of exercise that lets you take your kids along with you. Additionally, there are classes that incorporate kids right into the exercise program. Look for "mommy and me" exercise classes, stroller exercise groups, and more. Some of the Wii exercise programs engage more than one player at home--kids too!
- Workout at Work – From calf raises to squats, to wall pushups to yoga poses and even running in place, desk-jobbers don't have to be a slave to their desk with all the ways they can get moving, right where they are. The length of time you workout isn't as important as the quality of what you do, and sweat isn't necessarily an indication of your effort. What's important is that you get your heart rate up, get your body moving and challenge yourself, even if your tricep dips have to happen on your office chair. Get your colleagues to join you in "fit breaks" vs. "coffee breaks."
If you're motivated to start working out, nothing has to get in your way. You have enough to worry about without worrying that you'll miss a day of exercise because things got busy. Getting creative may be necessary to fit your daily exercise in, but the payoff will be worth it.