I am no fitness fanatic. Oh no. But I do like to keep healthy and I love to get active. But even with a passion for the outdoors, and a desire to be really fit, I know I am far from where I want to be – and most importantly I know I eat (a lot) more calories than I burn off each day, a sure fire way to gradual weight gain.
I’ve always blamed my lack of habitual regular exercise on being tired, which in turn I blame on being busy. I say blamed; it’s less of an excuse, more of a fact of life. Like most people, I work full time and have a busy life outside work too, and so it is very easy to reach the end of a day having had no time for any kind of physical exercise.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. There are lots of things we can do to make sure we are getting our hearts pumping and our muscles working even when we don’t have the time (or energy, or money) to go to the gym or get out for a walk/run/cycle ride to burn off the calories. So forget hour long fitness classes or 100 mile Sunday bicycle rides, and even getting up extra early to do 30 Day Shred before work (yes, yes I know we should do those things too); here are my top tried and tested tips for adding exercise to a busy life.
Commuting by bike or on foot. If you live within a few miles of work then this is undoubtedly the easiest way to build exercise into your daily routine. After all, you have to get to work and you have to get home again, so you may as well make it an active commute. I live just over four miles from my office, and try to cycle or walk when I can. It’s not always possible; sometimes I need the car for work, sometimes I have things to carry or events to attend, sometimes the weather means if I rode or walked I’d end up being blown into the river (just like the sheds and greenhouses were the other day!). When I do choose to commute in a more active way it is almost always better than taking the car. I should do it more.
Walking home from work while LincsGeek cycled – that yellow dot is him overtaking me at about half way, he was home well before me. We are lucky in Lincoln as there are cycle paths and footpaths most of the way home so we can commute actively without worrying about cars.
Running up and down the stairs. Run, don’t walk, every time you have to go up or down the stairs in your house – or at work. Or try this challenge… Flick the kettle on for your morning cuppa and see how many flights of stairs you can manage before it boils. Try and beat it tomorrow. Perhaps not one if other people are still asleep, or they’ll think they’re in some kind of stampede. At the very least never take the lift (elevator) wherever you are; the stairs are your friend!
Do lunges across the kitchen between the fridge, oven and sink while cooking dinner. Maybe not when carrying hot food, although that would certainly improve your core strength!
Squats. Lots of them. While the kettle is boiling, while you’re cleaning your teeth, while the bath is running. Did you see my 30 Day Squat Challenge? Start it today – you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes and how easy it is to fit even the high numbers into a busy working day.
30 Day Squat Challenge. Try it.
Lunch time marches around town. Got errands to run? Make a list and get marching between shops and offices. A good rush around town will get the heart rate up (and not just through stress!) and work those legs well. And carrying the bags back to the office help the arms out, too.
Lunch time meanderings along the river. Nothing to force you into town today? Then get up and get out just for a bit of a meander along the river or through the park. As I discovered the other weekend, we are never too far away from a green space – go and find one in your next lunch break, walk around it, enjoy the fresh air. It’s a well-known fact that taking an actual break at lunch time will make your afternoon much better, so even if you think you are too busy, your body, mind and boss will thank you for taking a break away from your screen.
There will be somewhere for you to walk in your lunch break, I promise. Go and explore.
Clean the kitchen. And bathrooms. Housework is is both a great exercise that burns loads of calories, but it is also something that needs doing anyway. We all know that when we look at a freshly cleaned house we feel satisfied and find it much easier to relax; a no brainer then! For example, if it takes you one hour on a Sunday morning to mop all the floors in your house, you’ll have burnt 150 (ish) calories. Add to that an hour of ironing, 15 minutes hoovering, changing the bed and cooking the dinner and you’ll have earned another 300 or so calories to add to that, which is equal to a pretty nice lunch. Not bad!
I’m sure there are things you do to get exercise into even the busiest of days. What would you add? Share your suggestions in the comments below.