You know you need to exercise regularly. You’d love to be able to fit into your favorite jeans again. To have the kind of body that other people envy. And have more energy and feel better in general.
However, finding time to fit a regular exercise routine into your busy schedule is like trying to stand on the underside of a whale’s belly. Not only that, but everything you read on fitness makes regular exercise sound like a part-time job with no perks.
Life is hectic, but beginning and maintaining a fitness routine is possible with no money, a little creativity and just a few minutes here and there. Here are seven ideas to help get you moving…and still have time for other kinds of fun.
- Get up when the alarm goes off the first time. Discipline yourself to keep your hands off the snooze button, and you will add up to twenty minutes to your day. In those twenty minutes you could do five minutes of stretching, ten minutes of power walking or running, and five minutes of weight resistance.
- Cook and clean with non-electrical appliances. Use a wire whisk instead of electric beaters. A broom instead of a vacuum. A knife instead of a food processor. Such changes may not seem like much, but you will be using muscles and burning calories that you wouldn’t when using the modern-day appliances.
- Do one or two weightless strength training exercises every time you get up from your desk to take a break. You don’t need a set of dumbbells to increase your muscle mass. A few easy no-weight exercises include squeezing your hands together as both arms are outstretched in front of your chest, pushing up against a low ceiling, and flexing your biceps as hard as you can for ten seconds. You probably won’t end up looking like the Incredible Hulk that way, but you will be stronger and more fit.
- Sit on a balance ball instead of a chair. This will help strengthen your abdominal muscles and improve your posture. When balance balls replaced chairs in classrooms, the students stayed on task much longer. Sitting on a balance ball will also allow you to burn a few extra calories than chair-sitting, a definite bonus! (Caution: Balance balls are generally not recommended for anyone with back problems.)
- Exercise while watching T.V. Back in the days when I still watched T.V. every night, I would lift weights while focusing on whatever program was on. You could also walk in place, stretch, practice squatting, or do leg lifts without missing a moment of your favorite show.
- Make exercise a family affair. Race your kids down the sidewalk for the ten minutes before dinnertime. Or after dinner, take a soccer ball to the park and kick it around for a while. If your family has gotten addicted to T.V., this routine will have the additional benefit of breaking the boob tube habit.
- Read and talk on your feet. If possible, stand up and pace back and forth while reading documents or talking on the phone. Stand up on your toes once in a while to stretch your heel and strengthen your calf. Bend and twist at the waist to add further flexibility and tone to your body.
As you can see, incorporating fitness into your daily schedule is doable—and even fun!—no matter how busy you are. Try these suggestions, then come up with some of your own. Your body will soon thank you for it!
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