Trying to fit exercise into your busy life can be a challenge. Some days, it feels as if there aren’t enough hours in the day and fitness can fall by the wayside. Creating an exercise routine that works with your day-to-day schedule can help make exercise a habit that sticks.
The experts in our Weight Management Program have offered a few fast fitness ideas to help get you started. (As always, please consult with your physician before starting a new exercise routine.)
• Short and sweet: Try working in shorter bursts of exercise throughout your day. Start with a daily 10-minute walk. Studies have shown that as little as 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, like walking, can be beneficial for your health. Sneak a brisk walk into your morning routine, lunch break, afternoon or even make it an after-dinner routine. The more minutes you can log, the better!
• Move more: You’ll burn more calories when you’re supporting your own body weight. Here are a few examples:
o Take the stairs
o Park farther away from the entrance
o Stand to wash your dishes
o Pace while you talk on the phone
o March in place while you wait for the microwave or toaster
• Take a seat: Many exercises can be done while watching TV or working at a desk. Try doing chair squats during commercials. Or, aim for 5 to 10 squats every hour if you’re seated for a long time at work. Squat back, lowering almost to a seated position hovering above the chair, then return to a standing position.
• Crunch it out: Chair crunches are another activity you can do while seated at home or at work. While seated in a chair, grasp hands to the seat and lift your knees up towards your chest. Try to keep your chest as still as possible and use your abdomen (aka “core”) to draw up your knees. For safety’s sake, be sure your chair is stable to avoid tipping over.
• Take a stand: The standing oblique crunch is great for working your glutes. Place a chair in front for balance. Stand and tighten your core, lifting one knee while crunching down your elbow. You don’t have to touch your knee to your elbow – just lift and squeeze to activate the oblique muscles.
• Who needs special equipment?: You can build muscular endurance with some of the everyday items you’ll find around the house. Try performing bicep curls with soup cans or laundry soap containers. You can use different sizes or weights based on your current ability. Start with your arms straight at your sides, palms facing forward. Curl each arm up to your chest, focusing the work on your biceps as you lift. Perform two sets of 12 repetitions to help build long, lean muscle.
• Tricep extensions: You also can tone the back of your arms with soup cans or household items. Start with your arms straight at your sides, this time with your palms facing behind you. Simply lift your arm away from your body toward the wall behind you. Keep your arm and elbow straight. Perform two sets of 12 repetitions for lean muscle mass.
• Front/side raise: This can be performed while seated or standing. Begin with your arms at your sides. With palms down and arms straight, lift both arms up to about chin level. Release back down to your sides. This is the front raise. Next, begin with your arms at your sides. With palms down and arms straight, lift both arms up to about shoulder level. Release back down to sides. This is the side raise. Alternate between front and side raises, completing two sets of 12 repetitions. Like the other arm moves, you can use soup cans or other household items as the weight.