Sticking to an exercise program can be a struggle for anyone. Finding time for fitness can be difficult to fit in, with caring for kids, workplace demands, household chores, doctors' appointments, school, and the list goes on.
A new study published in the Journal of American Medicine Association (JAMA Open) on October 19, 2018, suggested that NOT getting enough exercise could be more detrimental to your health than smoking or a chronic disease. Considering these recent findings, squeezing in a workout is elevated to a daily priority.
Fitness doesn't need to be fancy. Any activity that elevates your heart and gets your blood pumping counts, including taking the stairs at work, playing with the children, cleaning the house, and mowing the lawn.
Here are 10 easy tricks to sneak in a workout, even with your super-busy schedule:
1. Block it out:If you have an appointment on your calendar, chances are you're going to commit and show up. Use that same tactic to make time for your exercise. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier and start your day off with a brisk walk around the block. Or schedule your lunch break and make use of your precious 60 minutes by hitting the gym or going for a walk along the nearby streets.
2. Work out at work: If you aren't able to pencil in daily workouts, then purchase a stability ball, dumbbells, and exercise resistance bands to stash by your desk. Sit on the stability ball to strengthen your core and try to pump out a few sets of bicep curls, overhead presses, and lateral raises periodically during your workday.
3. Work out with your kids:Do you have a young toddler or newborn? Invest in a jogging stroller or strap your bundle of joy into a carrier while you run. This is a fun distraction for your children, and these workouts can become a special bonding time.
4. Move over, couch potato:Clear up your den to make space between the television and the couch for an exercise area. Nowadays, you can watch your favorite television show while breaking a sweat. Make up a list of exercises, like 10 push-ups, 25 jumping jacks, and 30 abdominal crunches, for each commercial break. Once you commit to this routine or strategy, you'll lose track of how much exercise you actually did.
5. Turn the playground into your bootcamp class: If you're a parent, you may already know how hard it is to maintain your personal fitness. When you take your children to the playground, create your exercise program around the outside jungle gym. Do tricep-dips off a bench, step-ups on the steps, pull-ups on the monkey bars, or incline push-ups off the slide. You could even swing from bar to bar like you did as a kid and really challenge yourself. Those little bursts of activity add up.
6. Practice your fitness while your older child has sports practice:Every weekend is jam-packed with school or club sport practices, games, or scrimmages, so use that time to work out. Rather than sitting in the bleachers or on the sidelines, utilize the field by walking the outside perimeter, coupling that with lunges and push-ups. Although this may seem embarrassing, start recruiting other parents to join you, and the distraction becomes minimal.
7. Check out local parks, trails, and other green spaces in the area to fit in your daily walk or trail run. When the weather permits, you can also make your commute to work an active one. Walk your kids to school or bike to work, if possible.
8. Look for free resources online:Thanks to the internet, workout videos and routines are free, easy to follow, and accessible. Platforms like YouTube and Instagram feature individuals dedicated primarily to providing fitness regimens. This is a superb way of obtaining new ideas for exercise, diet, and nutrition.
9. Join a local running or cycling club: In New Orleans, there are several running groups to help you get in shape. For example, Happy's Running Club is a local group which meets every Wednesday at Manning's on Fulton Street to run a 5k that steps off at 6:15 p.m. Also, the Varsity Sports New Orleans website features a calendar listing of running group meetings across the metro area. If you're interested in joining the community of bikers, search the following websites for more information: bikeeasy.org, crescentcitycyclists.org,and/or neworleansbicycleclub.org.
10. Steps add up to miles: Remember that you can always increase your physical fitness by parking far away from the store, choosing the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking into the bank rather than driving through.
Today, we know that staying active and being physically fit elevates your quality of life AND doesn't cost you a dime. And making exercise a reality might just save your life one day.
Celeste Turner is a writer, blogger, and fitness guru who was born and raised in New Orleans. Please email comments, suggestions, or ideas for articles to [email protected] or check out her website: celestefit.com.