Adding exercise to a healthy eating regimen enhances your efforts and ensures results. However, the chief complaint for many busy women is a lack of time to get to the gym or even take an evening walk. The good news is that exercise does not have to be done in a gym and it doesn’t have to take hours. Cumulative efforts to exercise over the course of a day can still pay off big on the scale. Ten minutes here, ten minutes there and before you know it, you’ve squeezed in a full workout into your day. Consider a few tips to sneak exercise into your day:
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Stretch when you wake up: Stretching is a form of exercise – one of the most important, in fact. It encourages flexibility and wakes up stiff muscles. Spend 5-10 minutes each morning extending your arms and legs and reaching for your toes.
Do standing exercises: While you read your morning paper, do three sets of 10 squats. As you are walking around the house preparing to leave for work, lunge your way from one room to the next. Engage in glute-enhancing kickbacks while you brush your teeth. Again, it might not seem like much as you do it, but consider that if you are able to do 10-15 intense exercises for at least 30 seconds to one minute each day, several times a day, you receive the benefits of an effective and somewhat intense workout. That time will add up.
Hop on your bike or walk where you need to go: If you live fairly close to your job, ride a bicycle to work instead of driving. If not, then park as far away in the parking lot as possible and power walk in. If you take mass transit, get off a stop or two from your job and walk the remainder of the way to burn extra calories. If the places you go to run errands or your children’s schools are close, there could be even more opportunities to walk or take a bike.
Do a desk workout: Keep small weights at your desk and do a few bicep curls while you brainstorm. Put on some ankle weights and do quad extensions while while you sit at your desk. Stand up when possible and do toe touches. Pick up a light weight and do arm exercises while you take phone calls. The general idea is to engage in some form of movement every 30 minutes or so. If you’ve got a private office, you can even close the door and do a few push-ups, squats or sit-ups several times a day. Some businesses may also let you use an empty conference or meeting room for a quick workout.
Walk when possible: If you have a message for a colleague that doesn’t require written communication, get up and deliver it in person. Take the stairs to other floors of the building. If you are able to take morning and/or afternoon breaks, spend them taking a quick walk – be it around the parking lot, around the block or even just around your floor, if you can’t leave the building.
Hit the gym at lunch: Bring your lunch from home and eat at your desk. Then, spend your lunch hour at a nearby fitness facility. You may be surprised how effective a workout you can squeeze in at lunchtime – some facilities even have classes that cater to the lunchtime crowd. Worried about getting sweaty? Most facilities have a shower or ladies locker room where you can freshen up before heading back to work.
Dance while you cook: Once you get home and start your evening routine, turn on some upbeat music. Be sure to choose something that really makes you move. Get your dance groove on while you cook, clean and prep for the next day. It doesn’t matter what you do, just keep moving and get that heart rate up.
Put a treadmill in front of your TV: If you’ve got certain TV shows that you just can’t miss, there’s no reason you can’t walk while you watch. By placing a workout machine in front of the TV, you are more likely to hop on, even if just for the length of your favorite show. This also works with any other exercise machine you may have, a yoga mat or even a set of weights. If you don’t do anything else, just workout during all of the commercials.
Take the dog for a walk: If you have a dog, commit to walking it once in the morning and once at night, even if you have a fenced in backyard. It’s good exercise for you and your pooch. If you have an athletic dog, you may be able to go for a jog or run with it.
Do yoga to wind down for the night: Designate 15 minutes at the end of the day, when all of your chores are done, to wind down with gentle yoga. It’s a great way to de-stress and keeps your muscles warm and properly stretched before turning in for the night.