No one wants to be unhealthy. We are bombarded with studies, articles and doctors every day telling us that exercise is important, but the majority of people still feel like there is not enough time in the day to fit in fitness.
Between work, the kids' extracurriculars, errands and other tasks on your to-do list, exercise might fall to the bottom, especially if you feel exhausted by everything else. Trying to fit in an hour at the gym every day might seem a little too ambitious for your schedule, but what about 10 minutes? Try these mini workouts to sneak just a little fitness into your daily grind.
Boost your blood flow
Cardiovascular exercise is vital to your overall health, but you don't necessarily need a gym membership to get your heart pumping. Any way you raise your heart rate throughout the day is an improvement over nothing at all, so try these quick heart-healthy methods.
• Jump. Whether you jump rope or simply jump in place, jumping is one way you can get your heart rate up. Break your jumping into sets of five minutes. Do a regular jump with your feet together for five minutes, then do a running foot, lifting every other foot, for another five minutes. If you have time and endurance, you can work up to three or four sets, totaling 15 to 20 minutes of cardio! Just be sure to maintain a slight bend in your knees and keep your core braced to ensure the safest, most effective workout.
• Bike. Taking a bike ride – to the park, the grocery store or simply around the neighborhood – is a perfect way to fit in fitness while still accomplishing the tasks on your to-do list. If you are only riding a short distance, adjust the gears to make it a little more challenging.
Strengthen your muscles
Sure, pumping iron at the gym is a fantastic way to tone your muscles, but if you only have a few minutes between errands, try these quick muscle-strengthening moves.
• Move your arms. Pushups are one way to work your arms (and your chest, back, core and shoulders), but arm circles might be easier to pull off during breaks in your workday. Move your arms in circles in front of you, out to your sides and above you. You can alternate small circles with large ones. Do these for 30 seconds each – you'll feel the burn!
• Tighten your tush and thighs. Using a chair, lower your body into an almost-squat, keeping your back flat and abs pulled in. Holding your hands out straight in front of you for balance, bend your knees and lower your tush down like you are sitting, allowing your bum to graze the chair without actually resting on it. Stand slowly, and repeat this 12-15 times. You can also do this with no chair – the sitting movement is the same.