You’ve resolved to make 2014 your year to fit in fitness, but when you take a long, hard look at your schedule, you realize that you’re just as busy–if not more so–than you were the year before. Finding time to make exercise a priority isn’t as easy as adding it to your list of resolutions.
Sure, the ideal would be to wake when you wanted, exercise at your leisure, and then end it all with massage and a hot bath. However, once you awake from la-la land, you realize there’s a job to get to, kids to send to school, pets that need walking, and that’s all before 9am. The rest of your day looks no better, which means you may not find an hour in your day to get the workout you wanted. But just because you can’t find one big block of time doesn’t mean you can’t break down your fitness routine into smaller chunks you can do throughout the day. Before you decide to return to your ways of old, we’ve got just the tips you need to sneak in a little exercise all day long.
Clean Teeth, Strong Legs: The American Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice a day, for at least two minutes each session. Add 30 more seconds to both times, and you’re on your way to both a pearly smile and five full minutes to get your booty in better shape. Since your hands are busy brushing, teeth-cleaning time is the perfect opportunity to do some air squats. Start with your feet a little wider than hip distance apart, and your toes slightly angled out. Bend from the hips as if sitting down into a chair. Aim for your butt to be below parallel to the floor, but making sure that your knees stay aligned with your toes. If you’re new to squats, use the toilet as an aid. Sit back as if sitting onto the toilet (lid closed, ahem). And then stand up. Do as many squats as it takes to brush your teeth.
Cook the Calories Off: While the kitchen might’ve once been the place where you packed on the pounds, it is now the where you can get your burn on–the fat, that is.
- Chop It: Instead of relying on the food processor to slice and shred your veggies, go for the traditional knife and grater. You’ll feel your muscles heat up as you prep foods that will help you slim down.
- Counter Press: A watched pot never boils, so step away from the stove and try some standing push-ups. With your hands on the counter edge, angle your body so that your body is at a 45-degree angle. Lower your chest toward the counter, keeping your elbows tucked in. Hold for a count of three and then extend your arms to the starting position. Complete as many reps as it takes for the water to come to a boil.
- Stir Station: If you have a sturdy, well built oven, you can use the handle to act as a barre for a quick lower body exercise while you’re stirring on the stove. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, and open your toes out. Raise up onto your toes. While still on your toes, lower your body down as if someone were pushing on the top of your head. With your knees bent, lower your feet to the floor. Complete the rep by returning to the starting position. Do as many reps to get your risotto just right, your meat browned, or veggies sauteed.
Rush Hour Routine: If you spend more time in your car than you do seeing friends and family, a driver-side workout is just what you need. Your movements will be limited–given the obvious space limitations and safety concerns–but not so much that you can’t get some toning in. Ab work is perfect for the car. With good posture, suck in your belly button as if trying to touch your spine, hold and breathe here so for the 20 seconds. When your stomach is screaming, take a breather by stretching the muscles in your neck. Drop your ear to your shoulder and hold, then repeat on the other side.
Opportunities for exercise likely exist in every part of your daily routine, you just need to be creative. Hold a lunge position while folding laundry. Hop up the stairs instead of walk. Park in the back of the lot when going to an appointment so that you have to walk further to and from. Pace the halls when talking on the phone instead of sitting in place. Even fidgeting throughout the day is better than staying still. Keep an open mind, and you’ll soon find that there is a place of exercise in everything you do.