Taylor Brown

Sneaky Ways to Exercise With a Busy Schedule

Despite our best efforts and good intentions, many of us still struggle to get up and move. But before we start pointing any fingers, it should be noted that this is not entirely our fault. Research suggests that humans are actually hard-wired to rest as much as possible. In other words, we prefer to be comfortable.

If you have a hectic schedule, just the idea of packing a gym bag, dragging yourself to the gym, working out, and trekking back home can seem overwhelming (and exhausting!). Luckily, we have some simple and creative exercises that can be done just about anywhere and anytime.



But first, there are a few basics to cover about exercise...


Why Exercise?


It is true that there are some serious benefits to working out. In fact, studies suggest that regular exercise can help to improve your focus, productivity, and self-confidence. That’s not all though. Studies also show that regular exercise can help to boost your energy levels (even more than a daily cup of coffee!).




So How Much Exercise Do We Really Need?


According to experts, a minimum of 150 minutes a week (approximately 20 minutes a day) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity are recommended for the average adult. Experts also suggest strength-training, that specifically works the major muscle groups (e.g., chest, back, arms, shoulders, abdominals, and legs), for at least two days a week.

For us busy bees, however, fitting that time in is easier said than done. Given that the average worker spends approximately 2,400 minutes per week at the office (or home office), it is easy to see why six out of ten individuals cannot manage their time to do regular exercise. With that being said, some of these minutes can be spent doing double-duty.




Leisure Activities Equivalent to Exercising


There are plenty of ways to workout without taking up too much of your free time. As a matter of fact, many exercises can be combined with your daily and leisure activities! Below are just a few ideas:


  1. Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  2. Join a sports co-op team with friends or family (e.g., football, volleyball, or soccer)
  3. Propose a hiking trip with friends or family
  4. Do squats while waiting for the oven to preheat
  5. Wear a smartwatch to set reminders (e.g., to stretch, take a walk, or practice yoga) and to track your stats (e.g., activity, nutrition, and calories burned); this data could also help motivate you to reach your fitness goals faster




Exercise While at Work


Even if you are stuck to a desk for most of your workday, you do not necessarily need to sit still. Here are some ways to move your body while at the office:


  1. Use hand weights, hand grippers, resistance bands, balance balls, or mini elliptical devices at your desk (yes, you can even use these while reading emails!)
  2. Try standing at your desk for 20-30 minute intervals (electric, height-adjustable desks allow you to easily transition between standing and sitting)
  3. Take a quick stretch break (try neck rolls, torso twists, or chair yoga poses)
  4. Try sculpting your calves with calf raises (this can be done while printing, faxing, or scanning documents)
  5. Use part of your lunchtime for a brief walk (feel free to bring along your running shoes)




The Takeaway

Indeed, keeping fit can sometimes be an uphill battle. With everything competing for your time and attention, it may be difficult to make exercising a top priority. However, there are ways to stay in tip-top shape without having to hit the gym. Arguably, the opportunities to exercise are endless. All you need to do is find (and take advantage of) them!



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