Too often, we view exercise as an all or nothing, do or don’t proposition. As in, if we did an official “workout” of some sort (attended a class, went to the gym, ambled through the neighborhood) we count that as exercise completed, kudos earned. But, if not, we get zero exercise credit, guilt accepted.
It needn’t be that way. Is it good to get in a heart-pumping, muscles-working workout as many days as possible? Of course. But, the reality is there are a number of legitimate reasons for a planned workout to get bumped off the schedule and at least an equal number of ways to off-set that with meaningful movement.
Behold, five no-equipment exercise hacks easily incorporated into your daily life without stealing time away from your busy schedule:
- Breaktime Cardio: There’s something we all need to do every day, several times a day – use the restroom. Always use a bathroom on a different floor from where you happen to be and use the stairs to the restroom and back. Work in a one-floor office or out of a one-story home? Do a few laps in your space on the way to the restroom and on the way back. If you have more than one bathroom to choose from, use the one furthest away.
- Kitchen Pump Up: Whether you’re waiting for the microwave to do its thing, the oven to preheat or water to boil, there’s no reason to let that time waiting go to waste. Do push-ups using the countertop. See how many sets of 10-20 you can fit in while you wait.
- Errand Mash-Up: It’s human nature to enjoy the hunt for a prime parking space…the one closest to the door. Turn the game on its head. Try to find the space furthest from the door (it will likely be available) and hustle – walk as fast as possible to the door and hustle back to the car when you’re done. If the errand includes picking up items at a store, opt for a hand-basket over a cart to add bone-strengthening load for your legs and moderate core and upper body muscle strengthening.
Ads to Abs (and Back, Glutes & Quads): If you’re watching a program that has ads, use the commercial time to get in some strengthening. Switch between planks (video below) and squats during the ad time. Aim to plank and squat (pictured right) during every commercial break for 30 minutes of programming, even better if you can do it for 60 minutes of programming. Either way, these added to your kitchen push-ups totals up to a full-body strength training session by the end of the day.
- Stand Up to Tasks: Many of us automatically opt to do tasks sitting even though we can just as easily do them standing. Stand while you: fold laundry, talk or text on the phone, do meal prep, check and answer email, read and post on social media, ride public transportation, read the newspaper. It may not seem like much but reducing time sitting is one of the best (and easiest) ways to boost your health and well-being.
If you establish a habit of incorporating all five hacks every day, you can end each day guilt-free knowing you made the most of the exercise opportunities available to you, gym visit or no gym visit. Happy hacking!