5 Ways to Exercise Daily When You Can’t Find Time
Trying to make time for exercise can feel overwhelming, especially when you have so many other responsibilities. Whether you’re a working parent, stay-at-home parent, working night shifts, business owner, or someone with long commutes, it can be hard to fit in long workouts into your schedule.
The number one reason most people don’t exercise regularly is a perceived lack of time. This is because they think exercise is something that requires a lot of effort, time, and specific workout clothes. However, mini-workouts of 5-10 minutes can still be just as beneficial as a longer workout.
Research has shown that accumulating physical activity throughout the day is just as effective for improving health and fitness as doing one long workout, as long as an equal amount of time is devoted for both.
This means you don’t have to get all your exercise in at once for it to make a big difference in your life. Moving throughout the day is just as effective.
Here are 5 ways to move more throughout the day, without having to block out 30-60 minutes in your schedule.
1. Take the Stairs Whenever You Can
As long as you don’t live or work on the top floor of a super high rise building, taking the stairs a few floors can add a little bit extra physical activity into your day-to-day life. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator can increase your heart rate, improve your balance, and increase your lower-extremity strength. For even more of a workout, you can even add some heel raises off the edge of a step, or take the stairs two at a time.
2. Incorporate Walking Meetings
If you work from home, take calls for your job, or have virtual meetings, try going for a walk during your calls. Whenever you don’t need to be looking at your computer screen, plug in your headphones or AirPods, slip your phone into your pocket, and take a walk during your call or meeting.
If you work in an office, ask to take your one-on-one meetings on-the-go. “Walking meetings” not only get you and your colleague or manager out of the office, but it can also enhance team bonding and even help you come up with better ideas. Research shows that walking boosts creativity and enhances mental acuity.
If nothing else, it’s a great way to stretch your legs after long periods of sitting.
3. Swap Out Your Chair For An Exercise Ball
Replacing your regular office chair for an exercise ball can help you with back pain and improve your posture. You can also incorporate some gentle mobility stretches for your neck, pelvis and spine while sitting on the ball.
Make a hula hooping motion, and tuck and untuck your pelvis to fire up your core stabilizers. To add some abdominal work, you can also try seated marches or look up other exercises you can practice on the ball–all while seated at your desk!
4. Park Further Away
As long as you are in a safe and well-lit area, consider parking further away from the entrance of your destination. Parking further adds in a few extra minutes of walking time here and there, which adds up over time to increase your daily step count.
5. Stretch or Exercise While Watching TV
I know you may want to just “veg out” on the couch when watching TV. But considering how much TV (or Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, etc…) most people watch on a daily basis, this is actually the perfect time to get a workout in. Simple things like walking on a treadmill, using a stationary bike, mat exercises on the floor, or exercises with weights are easy to do while still mostly zoning out watching Netflix.
Even if you watch only one 30 minute episode and move the whole time, that’s 30 minutes of exercise you were able to fit into your busy schedule without necessarily having to change into workout clothes and drive to the gym or yoga class.
Keep your weights, mat, or workout gear near your couch or wherever you typically stream or watch TV to remind yourself to move whenever you watch that show or movie. It doesn’t have to be anything intense–even just a few reps of bicep curls, tricep presses, or arm raises with light weights will make a huge difference in your arm strength, posture, and well-being. You can even stand while watching and do lunges and squats in front of the TV.
We hope these ideas will motivate you to add more movement and physical activity into your daily life. We know how difficult it can be to find time for exercise and maintain a regular routine. It can be overwhelming trying to start exercising when you haven’t had a routine before. This way you can start small, and gradually increase when you’re comfortable.