At the time of posting, we're just barely cracking into 2016. So how are you doing on your New Year’s goals? Chances are some of you (including me) resolved to be better at exercising. It can be hard, huh? But it’s pretty important to stay in shape. In fact, physical activity has many benefits besides simply weight loss and not getting winded while chasing after your young kids. According to Mayo Clinic, exercising can help prevent a wide range of health problems, make you happier, and even sleep better.
Sometimes, though, it can take a little more effort that we can seemingly muster to get out there and exercise. You’re a busy person, after all, so what makes the world think you have time for an hour-long workout, or even a half-hour workout? The fact is, sometimes that just isn’t an option. Fortunate, a study has shown that exercises split into 10-minute segments helps people exercise more consistently and lose more weight than those who did a longer workout. Neat, huh?
Which brings us to the next question…How do you do shorter workouts?
One thing you can do is take normal, everyday things and turn them into an exercise routine. For example, if you’re going to the mall or grocery store, try parking at the far end of the parking lot and turn your walk to the store into a makeshift workout. Likewise, take the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s all about finding the little things to change in your daily routine that can help this work.
Of course, this method isn’t the be-all end-all of exercise programs. You’ll still want to have ten minutes here and there to work your body. Those ten minutes can come while waiting for a pot of water to boil, microwaving last night’s left overs for tonight’s dinner, or taking a five-minute detour while going out to check your mail. These little sessions, over time, can add up to a nice little workout that will start to reshape your life.
During these spare moments of time, there are a variety of different things to try.
1. Jumping Jacks
This is a classic workout, and can be done just about anywhere. Jumping jacks are good for more than just burning calories. According to Live Strong, jumping jacks “function as cardiovascular, strengthening and stress-relieving exercises.” Pretty good for a simple exercise, am I right?
Dancing can really get you moving, which is one of the things we’re aiming for when we exercise. If you’re into swing, ballroom, or other kinds of dancing, take time to teach your significant other some fancy moves, and then turn it to music. If you’re a little less coordinated (like me), then there are other ways to move and grove. When I’m in my kitchen cooking, I like to turn on my favorite ska songs and just go crazy. By the time I’m done making whatever it is I’m cooking, I’m usually pretty out of breath. It helps that my 6-month old son is sitting there laughing at me the entire time. Having an appreciative audience tends to be a good motivator. Officially, the Victoria State Government in Australia claim dancing to have a wide range of both physical and mental benefits, so you can’t go wrong by busting a move!
3. TV and Treadmill
Have a favorite television show you watch on a daily basis? TV time is prime time for getting in a workout. If you have a treadmill at home, move it in front of your television set and walk, jog, or run while watching. Don’t have a treadmill? Hit up the gym during your favorite show times. They’ll most likely be showing it, and if they aren’t, I’m sure they’d be willing to change the channel. Since you’ll be watching the show(s) anyway, you might as well get in a workout in the process.
4. Be the Stair Master
I had a roommate while in grad school who would take to the stairs of our town home during the cold, wintery months. Living in a winter wonderland made it difficult to get out and run, so he found a way around it. I was impressed with his dedication, because every day he would do multiple circuits until he was a sweaty mess – up and down, up and down, on and on and on. This is a relatively simple workout routine that you can do pretty much anywhere with stairs. If you live in a home with stairs, an apartment building, or anywhere else with some steps, you can turn your location into a stair workout, and you tame your body whilst mastering the stairs.
No no, not you. I’m talking about those little hand-held weights! Keep a set of dumbbells laying around the kitchen or anywhere you might have some time to kill and do a few repetitions. Do some reps while waiting for water to boil, while brushing your teeth (switch hands after a certain amount of reps to keep it even), or while waiting for your kids to get ready and out the door.
Life can be very busy, and it can keep us from staying in shape. These are just five simple workouts you can do during those short moments of free time. Of course, there are many other workouts you can try. Take a look at your home and work space and see what you can turn into your own personal gym.
What other quick, effective workouts do you do? Let us know in the comments!