It’s no surprise that people these days are busy. Between family, work and social gatherings, we spread ourselves thin. On top of that, we have to focus on our health and get workouts in as often as possible. With packed schedules, though, finding big enough chunks of time for a full-fledged gym workout can be difficult.
Fortunately there are countless simple ways to get more exercise, no matter how packed your day planner is. The following are just five examples of the many ways to squeeze movement into your day in order to get the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity required to keep you healthy:
1. Walk While You Wait
When it comes to simple ways to get more exercise, there’s perhaps no easier way to do it than walking. When you’re stuck waiting for something during the day, take a little walk.
Perhaps you’re at the doctor and you’ve been informed the wait time is half an hour. You can head outside and take a walk with plenty of time to spare before you see the physician. You can do the same while your kids are at swim practice. You can even take your work meetings on the go, since walking meetings have been shown to make participants more creative, more productive and more honest than traditional ones held in a boardroom.
2. Make Social Gatherings Active, Too
Just as you begin to take your work meetings on the go, you might also consider making social gatherings active, too. It’s likely you catch up with friends and family members over dinner or drinks. While those are certainly great ways to socialize, try rounding up your loved ones for a game of Frisbee, or a walk through the farmers market or a swim in the local pool. No matter what you do, you’ll barely realize you’re working out because you’ll be so happy to see your people.
If you really want to squeeze in a bona fide workout, have your social gatherings at the gym. Not only does a workout buddy make you more accountable, but you’ll also be able to kill two birds — your social life and your health — with one stone.
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3. Leave Your Car Behind
Some errands or responsibilities will require you to have your car, but if you can manage a trip without it, you’ll be able to get a nice bit of exercise in. This is especially true if you’re heading to the grocery store or farmers market: Not only will you get some cardio exercise, but you’ll also improve your strength by carrying bags home. If your load is too heavy to walk home with, at least forego your shopping cart and carry everything around the story to tone your muscles.
If you have to bring your car, though, you can still make sure you get as much movement in as possible. A strip mall with multiple shops you need to visit is a great example. Park your car and walk from shop to shop, no matter how much space is between errand A and errand B.
4. Sweat Productively
Much like errands made more active, your household chores can be a great way to break a sweat and get stuff done on your to-do list. Think of ways to make your tasks more physical. For example, rather than taking your car to the car wash, you can clean it in your driveway by hand. It might take a bit more time, but you’ll be able to get a little activity in — and you might also save a bit of money by DIYing.
No matter what, your household tasks will typically help you burn calories. A half-hour window-cleaning session burns approximately 167 calories, while 15 minutes spent scrubbing the tub will torch about 90 calories.
5. Relax, Sweat, Repeat
With such a busy schedule, it’s no surprise you need a bit of a break sometimes. Rather than feeling guilty about foregoing the gym for a relaxing evening in front of the TV, give yourself the best of both worlds by transforming your TV time into a workout.
All you have to do is break a sweat during commercial breaks in order to make your TV night work for you. You’ll find plenty of plans from women’s health magazines and pioneering exercisers who post their own routines on sites like Instagram and Pinterest. Ad breaks are the perfect length of time to do planks, squats, sit-ups, pushups and other moves that don’t require any equipment. Tailor the prefabricated routines you find to fit your fitness goals.
No matter what, activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Even the busiest of schedules still has room for a sweat session, no matter how creatively you have to sneak it in. In the end, your body will thank you for your efforts.
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