Lack of time is the number one reason people give for not exercising. Anyone with a family or demanding career (or both) can easily let their fitness goals slide, especially if they often see the sunset before they see their spouse and kids.
Our bodies cannot function properly without exercise. To stay fit and healthy, you don’t need to go to the gym six days a week. According to scientific data, shorter workouts (between 10 and 15 minutes) can be very effective.
Studies have shown that high-intensity training, such as sprints, jump-squats and burpees, can increase muscle fat burning potential, improve body fat burn efficiency, and is more efficient in terms of fat burning. The advantage to this kind of training is you can work out pretty much anywhere, anytime – even while you’re working, studying, or visiting with family and friends.
Here are top eight fitness hacks that will make exercising more convenient for busy people.
1 – Squat rather than sit
How much time do you spend checking social media, email, or sending a quick text? How long do you typically brush your teeth? How often are you stuck waiting for dinner to finish cooking or for someone to return your call? These are perfect opportunities to squat!
Squats are a challenging, low-impact way to exercise your entire lower body – 60 seconds (or more) at a time.
Squat and hold for as long as you can or perform multiple squats for time. Repeat as often as possible. For added help with strength and balance, start with a wall-sit.
2 – Lunge instead of walk
We all have to take bathroom breaks and go to the kitchen for food, so rather than walking from room to room in your home or office, lunge instead.
Lunges are fantastic for blasting the thighs and glutes, and you can do them whenever you move from one place to another.
Once you’re a lunge-pro, carry a weight in one or both hands to add resistance.
If you’re a total glutton for punishment, add a pull-up bar in the doorway and do pull-ups every time you pass under it.
3 – Bear crawl around your house
Okay, so maybe lunging isn’t your thing. Maybe you want something even more physically demanding. Maybe you want to huff and puff a little bit.
Bear crawls and dragon crawls are a great alternative for challenging your entire body.
Have to go get the mail? Put clothes in the dryer? Check on the kids? Bear crawls and dragon crawls can be performed on a flat surface or up/down the stairs, and you’ll get a full-body workout in just a few minutes.
4 – Exercise during commercials
The average 30 minute television program includes 8 minutes of commercial breaks, with each intermission lasting from 2-4 minutes. This varies from program to program, but during an hour of TV, you’ll have anywhere between 15-20 minutes of exercise time.
So get up and use it!
Go all-out during commercial breaks, one exercise per commercial.
For example: 3 minutes of commercials = 6 commercials.
1. Plank (30 seconds)
2. Jump squats (30 seconds)
3. Push-ups (30 seconds)
*Repeat until your program resumes.
Change exercises daily and continue for the entire time you’re watching TV.
Read also: 6 Ways To Exercise at Your Office Desk
5 – Swear your way to fitness
Have you ever heard of the “swear jar?”
This is a technique used within families to break the bad habit of swearing. A jar or other similar container is placed in a prominent area of the house, and every time someone uses a swear-word, the offender has to “pay” the jar a pre-determined amount of money.
If this works for swearing, it’ll work for fitness, too. The filthier your language, the more you’ll exercise. Every time you swear, make yourself do 10 push-ups (or more), 10 squats, or 10 pull-ups, or make yourself sprint a hundred yards.
The key here is to make the punishment a real challenge, and then use as many offensive words as possible.
6 – Become a chronic gambler (not for money).
I’m not advising you to go drop your house payment on the nickel slots, but this is a fun way to recruit friends into your fitness goals and engage in a little healthy competition.
Bet on everything….from who’s going to win the game to how many broccoli stems you can stuff into your mouth at one time. The loser has to do some kind of fitness challenge. Burpees are perfect for making them suffer.
7 – Pay yourself to exercise at home.
Gym memberships cost money, but you don’t have to sign your life away to automatic payments if you can stay motivated to work out at home. All you really need is your own bodyweight and wee bit of desire.
There are plenty of websites and DVDs that will teach you hundreds upon hundreds of bodyweight routines which don’t require any special equipment, but you have to continually test yourself, keep improving, and stay consistent.
If it would normally cost £49.95 per month for a gym membership, pay yourself that money instead. Save up for a while and reward yourself with some tighter pants or a trip to the beach.
This also works with a concept similar to a tip jar. One of my patients paid herself $1 every time she exercised for 30 minutes until she had enough money to buy a new iPad.
8 – Play, play, play.
There is a lot of exercise in playing, and playing is anything you have fun doing as long as you’re moving your body.
Some examples are:
- Yard work
- Playing tag
- Washing the car
- Climbing a tree
- Wrestling with the kids
- Rearranging the furniture
- Exploring a new city (on foot or on a bike)
Fact: You don’t need 60 minutes per day, 6 days a week to get fit and stay healthy. Look around and be creative. You’re carrying the best workout equipment with you everywhere you go, and your gym is wherever you’re standing.