By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
There’s so much information out there about time-consuming exercise classes and regimens, and frankly sometimes we just don’t have enough time for all that. But not to worry, even if you’re too busy (or feeling a little lazy) to get in a full, long workout there’s still a lot you can do. We like to call these quick and easy tips, fitness hacks; or fitness shortcuts because they’re things you can do (for the most part) without having to put your exercise clothes on and take time out of your busy day. For optimal health and wellness it’s not so much about that intense hour, it’s about continued movement throughout the day.
There’s annother great benefit to moving your body, it may help to impact your productivity. Research suggests that employees who exercise for at least 30 minutes three times weekly were more likely to have a 15% better job performance.
So…what are you waiting for? Try these fitness hacks to get more activity into your day:
1. Stand up while on the phone
We spend alot of time talking on the phone at home and work. Instead of sitting down, try standing up while you talk on the phone- or better yet, try pacing around to get some extra steps; standing while talking on the phone can also help to improve blood flow throughout the body and can also help to boost energy too. Try to stand for at least 50% of your phone conversations, or better yet, pace around if you have space to do so.
2. Standing meetings
We already spend so much of the day sitting, and for many of us a lot of time in meetings- so why not try introducing the concept of a standing meeting at your workplace; or better yet, how about a walking meeting. Both standing and walking can help to increase blood flow and stretch out those tight muscles from sitting.
3. Wall pushups
There are certainly a lot of empty walls that could be used for some extra activity; go ahead and try a wall pushup. It won’t make you too sweaty but it will help to activate muscles in your chest and back that can help to ramp up calorie burn. Start with 10 repetitions.
4. Calf raises
Use the time you’re standing idle waiting for the subway, cooking in the kitchen or waiting for your friend to get ready and do some toe raises either flat on the ground or using the edge of a step. Start with 10-20 calf raises.
5. Squats during commercials
We spend so much time watching television and sitting on the couch, so why not get some exercise while doing this favored activity? Try 10 traditional squats or couch squats (sit on the edge of the couch and stand up, squeezing your glutes each time).
6. Water bottle bicep curls
We know you love your environmentally friendly (and heavy) glass water bottle, especially when it weighs your bag down; but the truth is that it can be used for more than to just hold water- it can be used for bicep curls. With a full water bottle, do 20 biceps per arm and repeat as often as you’d like.
7. Partner up
When it comes to getting to the gym and staying accountable, there’s nothing better than getting a buddy- or someone who can help you to stay on track. The great news about this buddy is that the person doesn’t have to be in your proximity, and having them on your team can work just as well if they’re a phone call away.
8. Keep gym clothes handy, always
Although it may not actually get you to a workout, having the right clothes to allow you to workout certainly helps. Keep a set of gym clothes either at your office or in your car, always.
9. Park bench dips
Walking in the park? Stop and try some tricep dips. You can also use the edge of your desk or a table to do the same thing. Start with 10 repetitions and use either the seat part of the bench or the back of the bench that’s a little higher for a modification.
10.Carry a water bottle around with you, always
Hydration is key for not only weight management, but also for keeping you hydrated. Most people should aim for 64 oz fluid daily.
11. Walk at lunch
Instead of sitting at your desk for lunch, staring at your computer screen for yet another 30 minutes, go for a walk outside. Research suggests that even a 30 minute walk can help to improve productivity.
12. Get techie with your workouts
Who needs to go to the gym when you can now get your workout online? From zumba dance classes to yoga or pilates, whatever you want, it’s there. All you need is a tablet or computer (or phone) to stream the videos, a mat, sneakers and water bottle. It’s so convenient that you almost can’t miss it.
13. Use your pets to get you moving
Dogs, and sometimes cats too, certainly need their exercise- so use them to help keep you motivated. Setting a time to take your pet for a walk, with the intention of help to keep them active and young can sometimes be just what you need to get you moving. The act of doing something for someone else can certainly be a good motivator for some. And to make it even more likely, set a date with a friend who’s also a pet owner to get moving together- the chances you’ll actually do it are just that much greater.