13 Ways of Staying Fit When There's No Time to Exercise
Medical Author: Melissa
Conrad Stöppler, MD
K. Hecht, PhD
While looking at an article by a leading fitness guru, I
was struck by her emphasis on making exercise
a priority and finding a way to fit in your gym time
at any cost. Although she's right in principle, those of us who are balancing multiple roles -- as parent, worker, spouse,
volunteer, household manager, etc. -- often find that
24 hours per day simply aren't enough. Fitness gets put on the back burner.
Even if you're lucky enough to be able to set aside time to work out, things like school holidays, childhood illnesses, and workday crises have a way of eating up these extra hours along with our best intentions.
You may not have time to go to the gym, but you can still be physically
active and boost your metabolism by using a bit of creativity in planning your
day. During a recent week when my kids were sidelined by a nasty cold, I started thinking about ways to be physically active when going to the gym was out of the question. I also asked some
personal trainers for their advice. We came up with the following ways to fit exercise into a packed-full day:
- If you've got a young sports enthusiast in the
family, play along. Shooting baskets and kicking a soccer ball around the yard are great ways to get your heart pumping. Thirty minutes of cardio training are recommended, but even five to
10 minutes will elevate your energy and speed your metabolism.
- Take the kids for a walk or
just go by yourself. If their pace is too slow,
add some lunges, jumping jacks, or running in place every few minutes to make yourself work harder.
- Pull young children in a wagon through the neighborhood.
Or give them a ride in a jogging stroller.
- Let little children ride bicycles or tricycles while
you jog behind.
- Get into some vigorous sweeping, mopping, or
vacuuming. These types of housekeeping chores can burn a significant number of
- We've all heard the benefits of taking the stairs
instead of the elevator. Everything you've heard is true.
- Likewise, getting off the bus or subway a stop or two
before your destination on a regular basis adds up to a lot of heart-healthy
Pilates while you, or the kids, unwind in front of a movie. While watching TV,
do push-ups or sit-ups during commercials. Even one per commercial during a
two-hour movie can give you some good exercise.
- In a sedentary job, take your breaks outdoors and
have a brisk, short walk. You'll also improve your concentration and mood.
- Dance or do aerobics at home. No one is watching,
anyway. If you like, include the little ones and turn it into a game.
- Practice stretching or light yoga moves while talking on the phone,
listening to the news, or while dinner is cooking.
- Find the high-energy items on your to-do list and
tackle these when you need physical activity. Think about washing the car,
digging the garden, mowing the lawn, or reorganizing a closet.
- Get up 15 to 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the family and use this
time for a run, a walk, or some stretching and yoga.
Last Editorial Review: 9/9/2009
eMedicine, Exercise Prescription, http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/88648-overview