We’ve all had that unending task reminder of exercising or signing up for a gym membership (or even using an existing one already). However with all our busy schedules, it can be quite difficult and challenging to squeeze in just a few minutes worth of exercise in our daily lives. Instead of finding excuses to postpone that healthy exercise, here are some tips how you can incorporate exercise into your schedule.
What is Exercise
To define terms, we’ll start with defining what counts as exercise. Every time someone mentions the word exercise, we immediately think of sweat, free weights, and a sweaty-smelling gym. However, experts have all agreed that exercise is an activity that increases your heart rate. In this matter, anything can count as exercise as long as we do it with increased intensity or with more repetition. Even if an activity just lasts for 10 minutes, as long as it is done using a lot of energy then it counts as an exercise. In fact, the recommended length of cardiovascular exercise recommended by health professionals is 30 minutes in a day. It can be too much for working individuals, but if you break it up into 10-minute routines, then it can be more manageable.
Yes, it sounds very simple and childish, but adults have much difficulty letting their inner child run loose. What you can do is to play with your kids or dog. This way, you won’t feel embarrassed when you run and frolic around. There are a lot of children’s games which you can play with your children (or grandchildren) that will really take a lot out of you. You can even do something simple yet physically demanding, like taking a brisk walk or playing outside with your dog. In addition to all that exercise time, you can also connect with them emotionally.
Cleaning your house can seem like a chore, with all that sweeping, mopping and vacuuming. You’re stuck with those chores anyway, so why not turn it into an aerobic workout? To start with, you can add walking lunges while you vacuum or dust. You can also speed up the pace while you’re doing your chores. Even if you’re not moving like washing the dishes, you can challenge yourself by doing it while standing on one leg for the entire duration of the chore. It takes a bit of practice, but once you incorporate it into your routine, cleaning will never be the same for you.
While you’re waiting for the laundry to finish up or while waiting for dinner to cook, you can also do some stretching. It’s not that strenuous, but a little goes a long way and it doesn’t involve you leaving your task at hand.
Even if you’re just shoveling snow, it can also be a very good opportunity to burn more calories than usual. You can challenge yourself to shovel the entire driveway in a given time, and you can also put on headphones and listen to upbeat music to get your pace going. For a bonus, you can even shovel the driveway of your neighbors (if they deserve it).
You’re never too old to dance. Spending just 10 minutes in a day rocking out to your favorite tunes in the privacy of your own room can be good for your heart. In addition, music is always good for the soul.
If you’re working full time, sparing just 10 minutes from 9 to 5 can be difficult to imagine. However that doesn’t mean that there are not any hopes of exercise. For example, you can bike to and from work. If you need to bring a car with you, you can opt to park a few blocks away from the office to include a vigorous walk in your day. During your breaks, you can spend 10 minutes walking up and down the stairs. Of course, the cliché of using stairs instead of elevators is always very fruitful in terms of spending energy. Instead of waiting inside a box, you can raise your heart rate by using the stairs. If the distance between floors is too much, you can walk 1 or 2 flights of stairs then use the elevator the rest of the way.
Another way you can exercise in the workplace is when you use the restroom that is further away from you. This will incorporate a few minutes’ worth of walking into your schedule, not to mention it will keep you awake when you’re bored. If you find yourself stuck in a meeting, you can still do exercise in it. While you’re sitting in your comfortable chair, you can tense your abdominal and buttocks muscles for a few seconds, and then relax it. Do this for a couple of times to tone your muscles in the lower region.
It can be a struggle to wake up early in the morning, especially when you know you’re waking up earlier just to exercise. What you can do is to use the “one push-up technique”. In this technique, you do one push-up when you wake up. It starts like this for a couple of days. When your mind is used to doing a push-up in the morning, you can increase the number of push-ups to a number you’re comfortable with, and is allowable with your time. After a couple of days, you will be able to do a full workout routine from the morning. Aside from having a sense of accomplishment, you’ll also have more energy for the rest of the day.
Washing a car can be a tedious chore, but you can still add exercise into it. You can do calf raises when you reach the roof of the car, and you can even do some squats when you wash the tires. As you repeatedly apply wax on and wipe the wax off, you’ll give your whole body a workout. As an added bonus, you can save money by skipping the car wash entirely.
Even if you’re shopping for groceries or clothing apparel, it means that you’ll have to do some walking. To boost the amount of calories you will burn, you can opt to park in a parking spot further from the store entrance and avoid escalators or elevators. With those bags of groceries you will be carrying, that extra walk will definitely help you burn more calories as well as give your muscles a well-needed exercise.
With a little imagination and an open mind, you can easily incorporate exercise into your busy schedule. It doesn’t need to be that stressful and you do not have to use special equipment; you can make simple tasks like household chores in a more rigorous way by changing the pace and by pitting yourself against the clock. Just remember that all you need is 10-minute energy bursts in any activity and you’re sure to get your daily workout.