There is no denying that exercise is important. It has the power to build muscle, burn fat, and improve your cardiovascular health, but potentially more importantly, exercise provides some serious mental benefits. It reduces stress levels, improves self-confidence, and boosts those happy chemicals in your brain. Simply put, if you want a healthier body and a happier disposition, exercise is a must.
The problem is that between a full workweek, family obligations, and time with friends, you’re probably left with minimal personal time. Sometimes, going on an hour run or hitting the gym just isn’t going to happen. When you’re busy it can be easy to neglect your exercise routine and after a week or two of skipped workouts, a life devoid of exercise is the new norm. When you’ve lost the habit and drive, it can help to slowly integrate exercise back into your life. These six ways will sneak exercise back in without compromising valuable time.
1. Walk and talk
Instead of meeting a coworker in your office or the conference room, see if they want to get some fresh air and chat on the go. Chances are they’ll jump at the chance to get outside and leave the office behind. A 15-minute walk burns about 66 calories and studies have found that mobile meetings can strengthen work relationships, improve health, and boost creativity.
2. Take your chores to the next level
Rather than halfheartedly scrubbing the bathtub, put some vigor into your movements. You can burn more calories (and get a sparkling tub) if you take it up a notch. Whether you’re vacuuming, raking leaves, or washing windows you can increase the intensity by really activating your muscles and getting into the rhythm. The movement and tension burns calories and helps tone muscles.
3. Ditch your car
It can become a habit to drive the two blocks to your favorite lunch spot or hop in the car when you need to grab some last-minute groceries, but chances are that the distances you’re driving aren’t far. Whenever you can, ditch the car and opt for a walk or bike ride. Once you get out of the habit of driving everywhere you may be surprised by how close things are and how much you enjoy not having to worry about parking and traffic.
4. Switch up your morning routine with some exercise
Most of us stumble out of bed and reach for the coffee pot, but one of the best ways to wake up in the morning is with a little physical activity. Before you hop in the shower, eat breakfast, or check your phone, force yourself to complete a short, 10-minute workout comprised of stretching and bodyweight exercises. After some brief stretching, do planks for two minutes, push-ups and sit-ups for five minutes, pull-ups for two minutes, wall sits for one minute, and finally, lunge squats for two minutes.
5. Rethink TV time
Even in the midst of the craziest work weeks, you probably still maintain some TV time. Rather than dedicating a full hour on the couch to your favorite show, take advantage of commercial breaks and get in several micro workouts. At every commercial break, hop off the couch and do a series of jumping jacks, sit-ups, planks, and push-ups. You can pick and choose the exercises, but make it your goal to fill up the entire commercial break with physical activity. Then, jump back on the couch as your show comes back on.
6. Change up your layover
If you travel a lot you’re probably used to spending multiple hours waiting at the gate, staring out the window, and binging on Facebook. Why sit for hours when you’re about to be in a seated position for hours on the plane? Switch things up by walking the terminal. It’s great for people watching and will keep you active and moving until the moment you have to board your flight. Check your bags, keep your carry-on light, and wear comfy shoes to make this fitness tip doable.