While I realize many of you might not be able to do the above simply because you live outside of Southern California and are experiencing this season you call "winter", you can implement some of the ideas that follow.
Set yourself up for a more active day by using some (or all!) of the tips below:
1) Set your alarm five minutes earlier than your normal wake up time. Roll out of bed and do five minutes of core work: planks (both prone and side), push ups, bicycles, etc. Try this for a week and you won't even miss those five minutes. By week two you can set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier and squeeze an additional five minutes of core work in.
2) Similarly, take five minutes before bed to do some gentle stretching or flow through a few yoga poses (happy baby, pigeon pose, seated staff, etc.). Just be sure you're moving slowly. The point is to sneak in some flexibility work and help relax you for bedtime not to increase your heart rate and wake you up!
3) Take 10 minutes during your lunch break to sneak in some exercise. Head outside (or stay indoors if it's too cold) and enjoy a quick stroll. Walk to pick up a healthy lunch vs. driving. Have a meeting with a coworker over the lunch hour? Suggest that you walk and talk vs. sit and eat (you can have your lunch at your desk when you finish). Healthy (working) meetings such as the one above are becoming more and more common! No lunch break? No problem. If you're truly chained to your desk over the lunch hour work on your squats. From a seated position in your chair, take your feet hip width, press into your heals and stand up. Lower back down until your rear just taps the seat then lift right back up. Repeat 25 times.
*If you can add 1-3 into your routine, you've already worked 20 minutes of activity into your day!
4) Set an alarm on your phone for mid-morning, lunch and mid-afternoon. When it goes off, stand up and take a lap around your office or try some desk push ups. Place your hands on the edge of your desk and back your feet away until you have a nice diagonal line from the top of your head down to your heels. Bend your arms and lower your body until your chest is close to the desk then push back up to start position. Work your way up to 25. Repeat at lunch and in the afternoon. Who knows, maybe you'll inspire your coworkers!
5) If your company has a wellness program or onsite fitness center take advantage of it! For working moms/dads it can be incredibly challenging to find time to exercise. I get this now more than ever as a new parent myself. It is hard to find a situation much more convenient than an onsite gym. Block off your lunch hour on your calendar so people can't book meetings and head to the fitness center. Your afternoon will thank you for the boost in energy.
6) Walk, walk walk! You can easily add steps to your day and thus, years to your life. It simply takes a little practice to make it habit or second nature. You've probably heard many of these suggestions before: take the stairs vs. the elevator/escalator; park in one of the furthest spots in the parking lot; or head out for an evening walk post dinner with your family vs. zoning out in front of the TV. If its too cold to get outside where you are, head to the nearby mall and do some laps; daddy can supervise the kids while they get active in the play space then switch!
7) Purchase some inexpensive fitness equipment for your home. It's great to keep a few small pieces of equipment at home for those days when you feel like you can't possibly find time to drive to the gym. Personally, I have a few pairs of dumbbells, a couple of kettlebells, a stability ball, some resistance bands and the TRX. You can ALWAYS find 5 minutes here and there to grab one of these and get to work. Don't have any equipment yet? Check out my earlier posts for exercises that don't require any equipment!
8) Buy a few fitness DVD's or purchase an online fitness membership. There are literally thousands of fitness DVD's on the market. Many of them offer 10, 20, 30-minute workouts so you can pop one in and choose a workout based on the amount of time you have. Similarly, there are all kinds of online membership-based fitness programs. You typically pay a monthly fee and have access to hundreds of workouts. A few to consider: Yogaworks, Yogaglo, Fitnessglo, and Wello.
9) If you MUST watch TV commit to moving during every commercial break. The first commercial break stand and do alternating lunges. During the second commercial break try some burpees. For the third, take it to the floor and see if you can hold a plank until your show is back on. Get your significant other/spouse on board; you can take turns calling out exercises!
These are just a few examples. There really are so many ways to push through this "lack of time" barrier. Decide today that your health is worth a shift in priorities and you will begin to find ways to carve out time for exercise.
What are your biggest obstacles to exercise? Which of the above can you begin to implement on a daily basis?