Too Busy To Stay Fit? Try These Exercises!
It is a weeknight and you’re in your jammies feeling tired, bloated, but wanting desperately to get back into the habit of exercising again. Perhaps you want to get yourself back in the gym but the reason that there’s simply no time. If you’ve found yourself on the couch scrolling through Netflix every night, then you definitely have some time to get a workout!
With all the demands of work and family most of us need to get through every day, it is no wonder we have some difficulty sticking with an exercise routine long enough to see results. Often, we just throw our hands up in exasperation and think ‘why bother?’ when really, all it takes is a shift in perspective and one or two lifestyle changes to get us back out there reaching our fitness goals.
If you have been living a sedentary lifestyle lately, dismantling the bad habits you picked up – sitting more, moving less – may seem like an uphill battle, but one tiny change three to four times a week can make the task at hand seem less herculean and more of a fun break to your day.
Exercise doesn’t have to take up an entire afternoon to be effective and you don’t need fancy clothes or equipment to get back in the saddle, so to speak. Here are four easy ways to get you started on your road to wellness.
Walking is, quite simply, the easiest way to get more active. You don’t need special equipment and it can be done anywhere. According to a Harvard health article, walking even at a casual pace of two miles per hour at 5 ½ miles per week reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and the risk of dying by 32%.
Walking doesn’t have to be a slog either. If you enjoy window-shopping, walk around the mall a few times. You get the perks of a cardio workout and spend time looking at things you like! If you favor the great outdoors, hit a park near your home or walk around a new neighborhood. Who knows what interesting things you may discover during your stroll? Maybe you find a new café or restaurant you never knew existed but now need to try, or you find quaint, instagrammable buildings you would never have found if you weren’t on foot. The possibilities are endless!
2. Desk stretches and simple body exercises
If you’re really pressed for time and need quick midday solutions, why not bring exercise to work? We all need to find fluid and easy movement in our bodies and stretching is a great way to start getting the blood flowing again. Just three to five minutes during your lunch or other breaks can work wonders.
Gentle stretches by your desk can keep you limber and give your body more range of movement on a daily basis. To keep from feeling like you have yet another task to check off your list, get super creative and modify your exercises to suit the available area around your workspace. Start off with two or three of the following exercises and then mix and add on others to keep things interesting:
- Modified push-ups
- Leg Lifts
When you can carve out a little more time in your day, opt for a quick class that’ll reinforce all the regular stretching that you already do at work. Try out a pilates or yoga class with a schedule that can easily be incorporated into your pre or post-workday. Pilates Plus offers both morning and afternoon classes and even have early afternoon ones for those of you who want to avail of a quick mid-day session.
Swimming is another great exercise that requires minimal equipment – all you need is your swimsuit, goggles, and a swim cap! Take advantage of your building or neighborhood pool and jump in when you find yourself with an hour or two to spare. Swimming gives you a full body workout without having to sweat it out on different machines at a gym. If you’re looking for low impact cardio, taking a couple of laps in the local pool is a great way to get your heart pumping!
If the pool isn’t your cup of tea, and if you’ve got a bike gathering dust in the hallway or garage, perhaps consider putting on a bike helmet and taking to the road again on two wheels. If the route allows, why not cycle to and from work? Or, if that isn’t viable, take your bike out and explore the great outdoors during the weekends. Just mind the traffic rules, stick to the bicycle lanes, and always wear protective bike gear.
Remember, a dedicated routine is crucial for the first couple of weeks. Feeling sore is normal the first few days, but the body gradually gets used to the added physical activities so don’t let a bit of pain deter you from going back for a second or third session. Build a habit of putting on your running shoes after work, or going straight to the studio for a Pilates class. Or setting up bike ride dates ahead of time. This way, you get your exercise done and out of the way early and leave the evenings free for other leisure activities with friends and family.
Pilates Plus has early evening as well as early morning classes available throughout the week. For those who wish to try out a new activity with officemates and friends, their group schedules can be found here.
Done regularly, any form of physical movement allows you to slowly but surely make a dent in your goal of upping your overall physical well-being. Set small, attainable goals and before you know it, your body will be thanking you by feeling lighter, looking more toned, and definitely feeling stronger than when you first started.