5 Quick Exercises to Stay Fit When You Miss Your Usual Workout

Some hectic days barely leave enough time to sleep or eat, let alone head to the gym. Fortunately, missing a day here or there isn’t going to do that much damage. Everyday Health reported it’s more important to spend time with family and friends than to get too obsessed with exercise. Cutting into your regular sleep cycle isn’t a good idea, because it’s just going to wear you out. Learning to strike a balance between exercise and the rest of your life can be difficult.

Of course, skipping too many sweat sessions will lead to some negative effects. According to The Huffington Post, a few weeks of missed workouts will lead to decreased aerobic capacity. While seasoned athletes have a little bit of a buffer, the article explained beginners will lose their conditioning at a much more rapid pace. But there are ways to fight back. A 10-minute break during work or after doing the dishes is enough time to squeeze in a little bit of activity. These 5 exercises will help you stay in shape until you can make it back to your regular routine. And since they don’t require any equipment, you can feel the burn just about anywhere.

timer, exercise

Source: iStock

1. Mountain climbers

Most high school and college athletes are all too familiar with these drills, regardless of what sport they play. And their coaches are definitely on to something, because this is one exercise that can get your heart racing and your lungs heaving in a flash. When getting to the gym isn’t a possibility, doing a few sets of these throughout the day will do wonders for your body. According to Gold’s Gym, 3 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions will burn around 50 calories. If you can do that just two more times, you’ll shed a total of 150 calories without ever stepping foot out of the office.

Mountain climbers are a great choice, because they challenge your cardiovascular system and work multiple muscle groups. Livestrong explained this move works your shoulders, triceps, abs, back, quads, and butt. It doesn’t get much more full body than that. Maintaining form is a challenge when you start to tire, but it ensures you get the most effective workout.

To perform this move, start in a push up position, then raise your butt in the air to form a triangle as you jump one bent leg toward your chest. Alternate legs by jumping one forward while the other moves back. Health demonstrated the correct form in this video. And don’t stop to peek at your watch, because it’ll slow you down. Shape recommended taking it off your wrist and setting it on the floor between your arms so you can see the time tick by.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

2. Running stairs

For most office buildings, the stairs are a deserted area because everyone opts to take the elevator. That’s good news because it frees up the space for a quick workout whenever you have a few minutes. Everyone knows running is a great workout, but running stairs maximizes your effort a lot faster than running on flat ground. Rachel Cosgrove, an adviser for Men’s Health, told the magazine, “stairs are like running uphill but harder.” The article went on to say this exercise could also help improve your speed since it engages your glutes and hamstrings so intensely.

Running stairs will get you huffing and puffing pretty quickly, and that’s exactly what you want. According to Livestrong, a 160-pound person burns around 191 calories running up and down stairs for 10 minutes. That means you’ll have plenty of time to squeeze in a quick session and have enough time to grab some grub over your lunch break. And it’s not just for the office. As long as you have a decent flight of stairs, you can get an effective, condensed workout.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

3. Burpees

A favorite among gym-goers, burpees are way more intense than the goofy name implies. This exercise engages nearly every part of your body, and you’ll definitely feel it after just a few repetitions. Health explained how to perform a perfect burpee to get the most effective workout. Start in a plank position. Jump your legs in toward your chest, then jump straight into the air, reaching your fingers above your head. Immediately return to a crouched position with you knees at your chest, then jump your feet back, and repeat. According to the article, this tough exercise will burn around 10 calories per minute.

Apart from helping you maintain your fitness,  burpees can deliver the same high-intensity interval benefits as other workouts. Men’s Health reported a study found participants who performed four sets of maximum-effort burpees for 30 seconds experienced the same cardiovascular and metabolic effects as those who did four sets of 30-second bike sprints. Unlike biking, though, this move works your whole body, including your glutes, legs, chest, arms, and core, Livestrong explained.

Although this move is difficult as is, you can upgrade to an even more advanced version. Men’s Health demonstrated how to incorporate a backwards roll with an added jump. But save this one for when you’ve mastered the classic; it’s seriously tough.

jumping jacks

Source: iStoc

4. Jumping jacks

Usually considered a warm-up drill, this exercise can also be an effective workout in its own right. While the classic move will get your heart rate pumping, you can increase your effort in a few ways. FitDay explained adding weights and increasing tempo will both maximize your effort. As with any workout, though, maintaining form is crucial to getting the best results.

While going for at least 15 minutes is ideal, you can still reap the benefits of jumping jacks by keeping a brisk pace and breaking it up throughout the day. According to WebMD’s calorie calculator, a 160-pound person can burn 48 calories from 5 minutes of vigorous effort. Aim for four sets throughout the day, and it’ll be almost 200 calories.

And don’t let a stressful day stop you from moving. Getting your heart rate going could be exactly what you need, even if you only have a few minutes. Livestrong explained exercises like jumping jacks release feel-good chemicals in your body, so you can get back to work feeling more energized.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

5. Jump squats

Most people think of squats as a great way to tone their rear end, but adding a jump to this basic move takes it to the next level. Men’s Health explained this exercise activates nearly every muscle in your lower body as well as your core. To perform jump squats, stand with your arms at your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down until your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle, then jump straight into the air while swinging your arms straight up. Land on slightly bent knees, and immediately lower yourself back into a squat position. Women’s Health illustrated the proper technique.

This move will get your legs burning, but that discomfort is definitely worth it. Prevention reported you can burn over 13 calories a minute when you perform this exercise as part of an interval workout. The article also said this type of exercise is a great way to increase bone strength. Just remember, you need to go as hard as possible to maximize your results.

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