I know I should exercise today, but…
The most common excuse for skipping exercise is lack of time. Instead of complaining about your expanding waistline and jam-packed schedule, look for unused time in your daily routine to easily sneak in exercise. Break activity up into smaller, more manageable blocks of time instead of wishing you could fit in a 60-minute spin class or stop off at the gym for 30 minutes after work.
Try these suggestions to jump-start your fitness program:
Balance on one foot while you brush your teeth. Stand up straight and tuck in your stomach. Alternate 30 seconds on your right foot, then 30 seconds on your left food for sparkling teeth and a stronger core.
Instead of catching up on emails while you wait for the kids to finish soccer practice, dance lessons, or get off the school bus, take advantage of your time. Get out of the car and walk around, do 10 toe-touches, or fit in a few calf raises while standing on the curb.
Mandy Mayer, a school nurse in Pawlet, VT, put a resistance band next to the copy machine so teachers can pop off a few bicep curls or tricep extensions while they wait.
If you feel like you’re chained to your computer sign up for free daily email reminders to exercise. A friendly reminder may be all you need to get up from your desk chair and do walking lunges across the office.
Swap your desk chair for an exercise ball and strengthen your core while you work.
Better yet, set up a treadmill desk and burn up to 100 extra calories every hour, according to research by Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic.
If you have time to watch TV, you have time to exercise. Ride a stationary bike during your favorite TV show or alternate push-ups and sit-ups during commercials. Take it one step further and follow the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) guidelines and limit screen time to no more than two hours per day – then use the extra time to take a walk.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If more than one flight of stairs leaves you winded, start small. Walk up one flight and take the elevator the rest of the way. Add another flight of stairs every 2-3 weeks and you’ll improve your overall fitness.
Wear a pedometer to keep track of your daily steps. According to research published in the 2010 Journal of Physical Activity and Health, walking 10,000 steps per day reduces weight, waist circumference, and cholesterol just as well as participation in an organized fitness program.
Put on music and get the entire family moving. Show off your dance moves while setting the dinner table, swivel your hips while washing dishes, or throw in some Zumba while vacuuming. You’ll put a smile on everyone’s face while you strengthen your heart and decrease your waistline.
Lynn Grieger is a contributor to Everyday Health fitness and calorie tools as well as a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine and a certified health coach through Wellcoaches.