Cherie L. Steffen is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. She blogs at Cherie Runs This. She is on a health and fitness journey and invites us all along for the ride. Take it away, Cherie.
As a Certified Personal Trainer, I often hear the phrase, “I don’t have time to work out.” To that, my reply is always the same, “Sure you do; you can always sneak in a workout!”
Between work, school, practices, activities, family time, housework and life in general, there are days when finding time to eat and go to the bathroom are even difficult to squeeze into your schedule. With that in mind, here are five ways that even with a full agenda you can find sneak fitness into your life.
1. Work it while you wait.
A good portion of our precious time is spent standing around and waiting. Waiting in line. Waiting for the microwave to beep. Waiting for the tea kettle to whistle. Waiting for the shower water to become hot enough. Waiting for your teeth to sparkle as you stare into the bathroom mirror. If you’re just standing there, all of these times are missed opportunities to work out! Even if you just have a few seconds, you can fit in several repetitions of standing calf raises, lunges, squats, side bends, toe touches—exercises galore! See how many you can fit in while you wait.
2. Showtime Funtime.
I have many people tell me that they’re very busy, but they will not compromise where it concerns missing their favorite television shows. Aha! Perfect time to sneak in a workout! You have two choices here—make a game out of the show itself or get in some fitness during the commercials. If you choose the game, assign different exercises to correspond with certain actions that regularly take place during that show. For instance, if American Idol is your can’t-miss show, you’d do ten jumping jacks every time Randy Jackson says “Dawg” or five push-ups every time Steven Tyler says some nonsensical quote. If you choose the commercial break, you’d do a set workout for the entire two minute break—ten jumping jacks, five push-ups, twenty phantom jump ropes, seven squats—you get the picture. By the end of the show, you’ve gotten in a decent workout!
3. Squeeze, please.
What are you doing right now? Sitting at your desk reading this? Take a moment, squeeze your cheeks together (yes, the ones on which you’re sitting) as if you’re trying to crack a walnut, and hold that pose for twenty seconds. Now, pretend as though someone is taking your picture and suck in your stomach. Hold it, hold it for twenty seconds, all along not forgetting to breathe. Switch back to your cheek-squeezing and then back to the stomach-sucking. Repeat it five times and feel that burn! You can do it while you’re stuck in traffic, on the bus or subway, too. Fitting in fitness and no one even knows you’re doing it!
4. Drop it? Squat it.
If you’re like me, you drop about fifty different things every day. Whether it is a hairband, spoon, pen, food, piece of paper, change—whatever it is, if I’m holding something changes are it will end up on the ground. The price I make myself pay for being a butterfingers is a squat. I’ve mentioned them several times already because they are fantastic leg, inner thigh, and bottom shapers. There are many different varieties out there which focus on shaping different muscles depending on which ones you do. Goblet, Sumo, Plié or whatever it may be, if you drop it, use proper form (don’t arch your back or let your knees bend at more than a 90 degree angle, and do rest your weight on your heels) and squat down to pick it up!
5. Far from it.
Wherever you go in your daily activities, stop driving in circles searching for the closest possible parking space. Those spots won’t help you sneak in fitness; the ones way out there will! Whether you’re at a department store, grocery store, ball park, or park and ride, seek out the farthest spot and park it right there. Walking is one of the easiest ways to fit some exercise into your day. Take the “inconvenience” of parking in the spot farthest away from the entrance to burn some calories and conveniently sneak in a workout.
Make an honest effort to do these five things and in the next couple weeks your body will thank you for it by showing you some results. Once those results surface and you start to like what you see, don’t be surprised if suddenly you’re making time for fitness to fit into your schedule. Or at least dropping more things on purpose!
(This article is a summary of the latest research. Always consult with your doctor.)