15 Tips to Exercise More Without Changing Your Schedule a Bit
Seven out of 10 Americans don’t exercise regularly, according to a 2006 report by former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.
Instead of focusing on why you can’t exercise, focus on why you want to. It will make it much easier for you to stay motivated.
“Regularly” was defined as light-to-moderate exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes at least five times a week, or vigorous activity for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times a week.
This lack of exercise comes despite the fact that most of us know exercising is something we should be doing. It can, after all, reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer and high blood pressure, among many other benefits.
So why don’t we exercise?
According to Joan Price, MA, a fitness motivator, public speaker, and author of The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book, the most common excuse not to exercise is, “I don’t have time.”
Well, we’re taking away that excuse right now, because if you follow the tips below, even you will have time to exercise. And best of all, you can do it without having to change your schedule one bit.
How to Fit Exercise Into Even the Busiest Schedule
- Make a commitment to exercise. Write it down on your calendar, in 20-minute, 30-minute, or even 5-minute increments, but make sure you have some scheduled every day. “You can accumulate exercise minutes,” Price says, “not do it in one big chunk.”
- Exercise during your lunch hour. Bring your lunch to work, eat it at your desk, then use the rest of your lunch hour to go for a power walk.
- Stretch at your desk. While sitting at your desk, stretch your arms, shoulders, legs and back. Check out stretching expert Jacques Gauthier’s Stretching Toward a Healthier Life DVD to learn 15 of the most effective stretching exercises that take just 15 to 20 minutes a day to complete.
- Do jumping jacks for one to five minutes. You can do these in your office, at home, in the park, just about anywhere. When you get tired of jumping jacks, try pretending to jump rope, running in place, or shadow boxing.
- Exercise at your desk. Punch your arms over your head for 30 seconds, then tap your feet on the floor quickly for 30 seconds, and repeat. Or, as long as your desk is sturdy, try desk push-ups by standing, putting your hands on the desk, then walking backward. Now you’re ready to start your push-ups!
- Do lunges as you walk. If you find yourself in an empty hallway, take advantage of it and do lunges as you go. You can also do these outside on a sidewalk.
Instead of getting together with friends to see a movie, why not get together and play a game of soccer, tennis, or touch football? Or share your DVD workout doing it together… having fun.
- Bike, walk or jog to work. Not an option? Try getting off the bus a stop earlier, or parking in the faraway parking lot, and walking the rest of the way. You can also bike, walk or jog to run some of your errands.
- Exercise as a social activity. Getting together with friends tonight? Do something active like playing tennis or racquetball. Want more family time this weekend? Take the kids for a bike ride.
- Use the stairs instead of an escalator or elevator. The extra steps add up. If you’re really feeling motivated, try taking the steps two at a time.
- Do your chores. Housework and gardening count as exercise, especially if you put on some music and do them at a semi-fast pace.
- Walk more. Whenever you have an opportunity to walk somewhere — whether it’s to your favorite lunch spot, to do some brainstorming, or to get to your colleague’s desk (instead of e-mailing) — do it!
- Exercise during your commute. It can be done, and though it will yield subtle results, any exercise is better than none at all. While sitting in your car driving, try squeezing the muscles in your buttocks or stomach, holding the contraction for 10 seconds, then repeating 10 to 15 times. If you’re at a stoplight, you can also try squeezing your triceps against the seatback, holding it for 10 seconds, then releasing.
- Don’t just sit and watch TV, exercise and watch TV. If you’re going to watch a television program or movie, use the time to jog in place, do jumping jacks, stretch or use a treadmill or elliptical machine, if you have one.
- Lift “weights” while you cook dinner. Take a can of food and do 12 bicep curls on each arm, or lift a bag of potatoes over your head to work your shoulders.
- Get up earlier. OK, this one involves changing your schedule just a bit. But if you get up 30 minutes or even one hour earlier, you’ll have time to exercise.