In today’s world, it’s not always easy to find time to stay in shape. A 45-minute workout at the gym can turn into an hour and a half after driving time and a shower, and taking the stairs is impossible if you work in a skyscraper. But what is possible is fitting in a quick workout either before your day begins or whenever you need a mental break. Read on for seven simple ways to squeeze in some fitness even when you think you don’t have time.
Wake up with a morning walk
Take a quick walk to help you get out of your morning daze. Thirty minutes of brisk walking (about 3.5 miles per hour) burns 80 calories according to Livestrong.com, and with cool morning temperatures, you won’t even break a sweat. Walking helps to ease joint pain, boost immune function and much more. Plus, it’s a great way to get some Vitamin D, especially with the winter months approaching. Come home, wipe your face with a cleansing towelette, and get ready for work.
Take a work break with a cardio circuit
If you’re in the middle of a work project and your brain is starting to fry, take a step back — it’s good for you. Relax your mind and fight off stress with a workout that hits the important muscles. “Do a 10-minute circuit of push-ups, lunges and squat jumps,” says Rebecca Ramos, a certified personal trainer at Women’s Way Fitness Center in New Jersey. “It’s a great way to hit all the muscles and get a little cardio; no equipment required.” Do two rounds of 20 reps each, with a 1-minute rest in between — perfect for a much-needed lunch break at work.
Fill commercial breaks with crunches
Let your favorite morning show become your favorite way to exercise. Do some crunches during commercials of Good Morning America. You won’t miss a beat of the show, but you’ll still fit in about 15 total minutes of fitness for a quick workout. Crunches are great for toning your core. You can change up the style by laying on your back for one or two reps, then switching to your side. Variation is key, so after a few minutes, add in some of these workouts to make sure you’re hitting every part of your core.
Do step ups while brushing your teeth
Make use of wait times. While breakfast is in the microwave or even while brushing your teeth, get to the stairs and do some step-ups. If you push yourself for three minutes while your oatmeal heats up and another two minutes while brushing, MyFitnessPal says you’ve just burned more than 80 calories. Spend two more minutes while brushing at night, and it jumps to about 115 calories. Plus, you’ll have whiter teeth in no time, which is never a bad thing.
Sing your heart out
Crank up that Whitney Houston song, and perform a concert on the way to work. According to the United States Census Bureau, the average commute time to work is about 26 minutes. That translates to close to 50 calories burned just while driving. If you’re home alone, sing while getting ready. If fitting in a quick workout is not feasible in your day-to-day schedule, singing is a great way to burn calories and ease stress.
Bike to your morning brew
Instead of waking up to brew your coffee, wake up and take a quick bike ride to the local café. The average biking pace is anywhere from 11-12 miles per hour; even a five-minute ride each way means you’ve likely biked at least 1.5 miles. A workout is always easier when there’s something rewarding waiting at the end — in this case, it’s your favorite morning brew. Ask your partner or a friend to join you; working out with someone else has plenty of benefits.
Grab friends and hike
Ain’t no mountain high enough! There’s no better way to work out than with those who will take your mind off of it. It’s not a workout that can be done in a few minutes, but it does kill two birds with one stone — socializing while getting in shape. After working up an appetite, reward yourself and stop at your favorite café or restaurant for a quick bite; just make sure you don’t go overboard and ruin your great workout.
All of these workouts require no equipment and are easily doable before, during or after work. Although they are not a solution to the amount of physical activity that’s recommended each week, they’re a great way get the calories burning and the blood pumping on days when a quick workout seems impossible.
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