Not enough time for an effective workout seems to be one of the biggest road blocks to an active lifestyle. However, if you think that’s the ultimate excuse for not exercising, think again! Here are quick and easy ways to get more exercise, no matter how busy your schedule is.
Guest post by Britni Wilson, Mercy Health & Fitness Center Intern
All You Need Is 10 Minutes
How much time do you think you need? If all you have is 10 minutes to spare, then guess what? You have a workout!
With a 10-minute workout, it’s ideal to increase your intensity — higher than what it would be if you had 30-45 minutes. This could mean more reps (or sets of a particular exercise), heavier weights, ect. High-intensity exercises will help you accomplish significant gains in this short period of time. Options include high-intensity interval training, Tabata training, bodyweight exercises, yoga and running. Choose what’s best for you.
Here are three 10-minute workouts, courtesy of three accomplished fitness pros (via The Huffington Post).
Workout #1 via Ben Greenfield
Complete the following three times through:
- 50 jumping jacks
- 15 body weight squats
- 15 push-ups or knee push-ups
- 15 reverse lunges per side
- 15 dips (using chair, bench or other elevated surface)
- 10-12 dumbbell goblet squats
- AMRAP (“As Many Reps As Possible”) push-ups
- 10-12 Romanian dumbbell deadlifts
- 10-12 chin-ups (band assisted, if necessary)
- 10-12 standing dumbbell push press
- 30-second prone plank (or normal plank)
Workout #3 via Kristin McGee
10 sun salutations: 5 Surya Namaskara A and five Surya Namaskara B
Be Realistic in the Workout You Choose
What’s the best workout for you? The one that you will actually do. Choose something that fits your lifestyle. If you’d rather be outside, go for a quick run. If you like your privacy, do a home workout. Don’t be afraid to try new things until you find what fits you.
Self-discipline is important because no one is going to hold your hand and make sure you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you establish a purpose or goal for your workout. Stick to it and maintain it. You are responsible for you.
Make a Commitment
As mentioned previously, sticking to a routine is your responsibility. Studies have suggested that it takes a minimum of 21 days to develop a new habit. So, figure out when you can fit your workout in, write it out if you have to, and schedule it. Sooner or later, it’ll come naturally.
Track Activity Levels
If there’s no record of it, did it ever happen? Once you’ve figured out your goal, (whether it’s losing weight, bulking, or becoming more active) take record of your current state, or levels. Once you’ve been active for about a week, take new measurements. Also, right down reps, sets, weights, exercise, and any changes made with those. This will give insight on how effective the workouts are, how far you’ve come, or how far you are from your goal.
Seize the Moment
Something is better than nothing. If you’re on your way to the restroom or upstairs, make it a challenging trip.
Here are some ways to incorporate fitness simple tips:
- Holding on to the railings, walk up the stairs coming to your tippy toes, flexing the calf muscles.
- Walk up and down the stairs with weights.
- Desk pushups or triceps dips on the back of a chair before sitting down.
- Turn walking to the next room into lunging into the next room
- Run in place
- Isometric contractions (These can help maintain muscle strength, and, according to a recent study, these could also help lower blood pressure.)
Wake Up Earlier
You just may have more time than you think. Waking up even 15 minutes early will give you enough time for a workout. A morning workout may also work to your advantage. Some hormones that help build muscle (i.e. testosterone) are at their peak in the early hours of the day. After your workout, your blood will be circulating, you will be more alert and focused, and ready to head to the office/class. You’ll also have your workout of the way, making it less likely that you’ll skip it.
Cut Down on Media
How much time do you waste? Record how much time you spend on social media, playing video games, or checking emails. You just might be surprised. Cut out some of that time and replace it with physical activity. This would allow a 10-15 minute workout, even on your busiest day.
Exercise While Doing Chores
Work up a sweat while cleaning. Try to increase the pace and still be efficient.
Try a Weekend Program
Fitting a workout into a busy week is hard and could take some effort. If Monday through Friday doesn’t work for you, try a weekend program. Focus on 30-60 minutes. If you have to, incorporate this time to your regularly scheduled activities, like mowing the lawn or playing with the kids.
If nothing listed seems to work, then maybe re-prioritizing will free up some time. There may be some things in your schedule that are less important or even unnecessary. Your health should be a top priority.
Note: If you haven’t exercised for some time and you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. The exercise specialists at Mercy Health & Fitness Center in North Canton, Ohio, can also help. Call 330-966-8997 for more information.
Britni Wilson is a student from The University of Akron majoring in exercise science and pursuing a career in cardiac rehabilitation as an exercise physiologist. She also plans to obtain personal training certifications and continue on to graduate school for a master’s degree in occupational therapy. Britni enjoys exercising, working with the public, hiking, reading, drawing and learning to play guitar.