Every Stolen Moment Adds Up!
Even if you can’t find the time you can still exercise. You just need to sneak in the equivalent effort in resourceful ways. “The idea is to keep moving,” says Fitat60 PT, Fred. Find whatever works for you and just move. Park half a couple of blocks from the shopping centre and walk. Take the stairs instead of the escalator. Simple changes to how you approach everyday tasks can make a big impact on your health and happiness.
Short bursts of movement all add up. One study found that women who split their exercise into 10-minute increments were more likely to exercise consistently, and lost more weight after 5 months, than women who exercised for 20 to 40 minutes at a time. In a landmark study conducted at the University of Virginia, exercise physiologist Glenn Gaesser, PhD, asked men and women to complete 15 10-minute exercise routines a week. After just 21 days, the volunteers’ aerobic fitness was equal to that of people 10 to 15 years younger. Their strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility were equal to those of people up to 20 years their junior.
In yet another study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore found that for improving health and fitness in inactive adults, many short bursts of activity are as effective as longer, structured workouts. “It would be useful for people to get out of the all-or-nothing mind-set that unless they exercise for 30 minutes, they’re wasting their time,” says Gaesser.
Breaking exercise into small chunks on your overscheduled days can also keep your confidence up. Skipping exercise altogether can be demotivating, you may feel depressed, even guilty. If you skip it, you tend to figure, ‘What’s the use? I can’t keep up with it anyway.’ Yet as long as you make some effort each day, that motivates you onward. Success breeds success.”
Keep in mind, though, that short bursts of exercise are meant to supplement, not replace, your regular fitness routine. Here’s a roundup of practical ways to work exercise into your day even when you “don’t have time to exercise.” You don’t have to do them all in 1 day; select what works for you.
Around the House
1. When you go outside to pick up your morning newspaper or check the post, take a brisk 5-minute walk up the street in one direction and back in the other.
2. If you’re housebound caring for a sick partner, grandchild or even pet, take one of our HiiT routines, no equipment, no excuses.
3. Put on a piece of music that makes you smile and dance around your home as if no one is watching (as they aren’t). Tip, grandkids love to join in on this one.
4. Cooking dinner? Do standing push-ups while you wait for a pot to boil. Stand about an arm’s length from the kitchen counter, and push your arms against the counter. Push in and out to work your arms and shoulders.
5. After dinner, go outside and walk your garden, yard or even block – aid the digestion as well as increasing those steps.
6. Just before bed or while you’re giving yourself a facial at night, do a few repetitions of some dumbbell exercises. Don’t have any dumbells, no problem, grab yourself a tin of beans and use that as resistance.
7. Walk around the block several times while you wait for someone. As your fitness level improves, add 1-minute bursts of jogging to your walks.
8. Walk around medical buildings if you have a long wait for a doctor’s appointment.
9. Watching a local sporting match, slowly walk the perimeter of the field while enjoying different angles of play.
10. Turn a trip to a park with your dog into a mini-workout for you. Throwing a ball and running alongside your dog can lift anyone’s spirits.
Remember, whatever you are doing, work with your body and not against it. If something hurts or doesn’t feel right, stop and modify the movement. Build confidence over time and if a problem persists consult your GP or healthcare professional. Always drink plenty of water and don’t forget to enjoy yourself too.