It’s not always easy to fit exercise into an already busy schedule. And if you have a chronic medical condition with pain like I do, embarking on a full-blown workout routine can seem impossible. I can’t join a volleyball team and I can’t get through a typical workout class at a gym. But there are ways to make exercise a regular part of your life by incorporating it in multiple smaller ways throughout the day.
Now you might be thinking, nope nope nope Cyn. My daily schedule is JAM-PACKED with other things and I simply have no time to exercise. One of the simplest ways to add some physical activity to your day though is by building it into things you’re already doing. If you’re like me and you need to pace yourself, this is an easy way of accomplishing that too.
How to Make Exercise a Regular Part of Your Life
- You’ve probably heard the expression, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Working from home, I spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer. There are many simple stretches and exercises that can be done while I’m at my computer. If I’m on a conference call or in a virtual meeting, I can easily pay attention to that and exercise the upper portion of my body. When busy typing up a blog post or sharing on social media, I can work out the lower part of my body.
- Another great option for avoiding all that sitting? Get a standing desk. I don’t have one yet but I’m getting a small one from IKEA that will fit right next to my regular desk. They even have desks with crank handles on them so you can raise or lower them as you wish! With my spinal issues, I can’t stand for long periods of time but this will allow me to break up the sitting with short bursts of standing. Any little bit helps, right?
- Or how about using one of those exercise balls? Sit on that (even for just 10 minutes at a time) while at your desk. You’re still getting your work done but you’re getting in a workout at the same time!
- You’re going to hang out with your kids anyway. How about turning it into some sort of active play? Go for a walk or a bike ride together. Play some catch in the backyard. Have an impromptu dance party.
- Park in the back lot so you have to walk further. Take the scenic route – even within your own house. Need to go to the bathroom? Take a lap around the living room and kitchen first. Checking the mail? Go out the back door and walk around to the front of the house that way.
- Instead of taking in your next Netflix binge in couch potato mode, switch things up! Get on the treadmill (or just walk in place) or get down on the floor and do some stretches. If you’re watching regular TV, do some sort of exercising during every commercial.
- Folding laundry? Do it while standing instead of sitting. Can you balance on one foot and then the other while doing it? If you’re cooking dinner, grab a couple cans from your pantry and do some arm lifts and circles while holding them. While dusting, raise up on your toes and then back down over and over again.
- Strap on some ankle weights. Whenever you move around that day, you’ll be working your body just a little bit harder with that added weight.
- Do some isometric exercises while waiting in line, riding the elevator (take the stairs if you can – I can’t so this is my compromise), or supervising your kids in the bath. Do some Kegels. Tighten your stomach muscles, hold for 5 seconds, and release. Repeat with various parts of your body – your biceps, your calves, your hands, your feet, anything!
- Outsource some of your sedentary tasks so that you have more time for the active ones. Get someone to take over your social media engagement or to answer your email or to do your taxes. Use that time to do something active and fun!
- When you’re taking the kids to the playground, join in on the action. Do some stair stepping on the steps up to the climber, flexed arm hangs on the monkey bars, and do some triceps dips on the bench. My daughter used to love it when I’d challenge her to some one-on-one basketball too! Find some playground workout ideas here.
Sometimes we’re just making excuses and sometimes we’re just overwhelmed and simply can’t come up with any ideas for how to incorporate more exercise into our lives. Either way, all it takes is a little creativity! Look at everything you do in a day with a fresh eye for how to turn that time into one with more activity.
You might also like to check out this post filled with ideas on Exercising on a Budget.