5 Easy Ways To Exercise More If A Full Workout Routine Doesn't Fit Your Schedule
Going to the gym for an hour each day sounds incredible in theory, but for some people, it's just plain unrealistic. If you're someone who's painfully busy at all times, it can honestly seem like the victory of the century just to have time to cook a decent dinner, or a few minutes to FaceTime your long-distance bestie, let alone find time for a workout class or a trip to the gym. The thing is, though, exercise doesn't have to be time-consuming at all. There are countless, easy ways to exercise more, without feeling like you're sacrificing other parts of your life in the name of fitness.
Now, when I say "some people" have trouble finding time in their day to work out, I actually mean roughly 75 percent of Americans — seriously. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics revealed that only 23 percent of Americans currently meet the federal physical activity guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — which, BTW, recommend, for "substantial health benefits," that you should be doing "at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity, in addition to muscle-strengthening activities 2 or more days per week," the report states.
While those guidelines might seem like a lot to take on at first, this report suggests you simply start by adding more exercise into your life whenever and however you can, even if it doesn't necessarily meet the HHS standards. In other words, baby steps are better than no steps at all, and you have to start somewhere, right?
If you're looking for that "somewhere" and have yet to find it, Kelly Morgan, Ph.D., a certified personal trainer and health coach, is here to help. She's someone who works with busy women and students on the reg, so she knows a thing or two about exercising when there’s little time to fit it in. Here are some of her tips for finding easy, effective ways to exercise more in your day-to-day routine.
Try Out Tabata
Tabata is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that requires you to do several rounds of super intense exercises that you perform in 20-seconds-on, 10-seconds-off intervals. It sounds like a lot because it is a lot, but if you're short on time and really want something quick and effective to challenge your body, Morgan says you're definitely going to want to try out this form of HIIT, as it'll make you feel incredibly accomplished in a short amount of time. "[Tabata] gets your heart pumping and allows for [a burst of energy] in as little as 10 minutes," she tells Elite Daily.
Plus, she adds, Tabata requires little to no equipment and can easily be done in small living spaces. So for all of my fellow post-grads out there living their best lives in shoebox-sized apartments, you're welcome.
Become BFFs With The Plank
A plank is one of those workouts that, at first glance, doesn't look like it's that hard, but anyone who does this move on the reg will tell you the truth: it freaking burns. "Planking is a great way to get a lot of exercise done in a short amount of time," Morgan tells Elite Daily. "When you hold a plank, you are working out your arm, shoulder, gluteal, leg, and, of course, core muscles."
Take The Stairs Whenever You Have The Option
Say goodbye to the escalator, people. Stairs are everywhere, and you can easily use them for so many different types of cardio- and strength-based workouts when you're not climbing them just to get from Point A to Point B. "Run up the stairs, walk down, and repeat," Morgan suggests. "Get in as many reps as you can, and you will have a heart-pounding workout in 15 minutes or less."
If that's not enough for you, though, the trainer says you can also add some more dynamic movements into the mix: Squat down and touch your bottom to one of the stairs once you step on it, or you can even do some single-leg lunges as you ascend the staircase. The world is your oyster, my friend.
Do Some Squats Or Lunges Whenever, Wherever — Literally
When it comes to taking care of your health through exercise, you don't necessarily need equipment to do so, or even access to a gym. According to Morgan, all you need is your very own body and a heaping dose of motivation (which you can totally get from a killer workout playlist, BTW).
"Get creative with working both lunges and squats into your day," she tells Elite Daily. "You can do squats while you brush your teeth, do lunges around the kitchen while coffee is brewing, and do either one while on the phone or during commercial breaks instead of fast-forwarding on the DVR." Honestly, when you put it that way, who the heck needs a gym membership?
Drop And Give Me 30 Burpees
Ah, burpees: The exercise everyone loves to hate. They're painful, but they're effective, and according to Morgan, these exercises should definitely be your friend rather than foe if you're short on time in your workout routine. "Burpees are the ultimate total-body strength and cardio exercise," Morgan tells Elite Daily. "Try varieties with or without a push-up, adding a jump when you get up, or adding a weight vest."
However, the trainer cautions, if you start to feel dizzy at any point in your circuits, don't hesitate to take a break. Always listen to your body, and don't push past your limitations when you sense them.
Otherwise, have fun! Well, as much fun as you can have while doing a burpee, anyway.