Busy schedule? Try these short fitness options
When our work routine gets busy, exercise and fitness are often pushed to the very back of our minds, with a million and one tasks taking over our lives. So how do we get on the right fitness track and get ourselves feeling amazing, full of energy and vitality, while having seemingly no time to do anything?
Here are my top four tips to help you find your fitness groove:
1. Try ‘snacktivity sessions’
Let’s take your day and break it up a little. Finding 60 minutes or even 30 minutes can be a challenge with everything we have going on. The good news is we don’t need to find this time – in fact that duration may not be the best thing for boosting fitness and losing weight.
Short exercise, or what I like to call ‘snacktivity sessions’, are a great way to increase movement in your day. These sessions are excellent for burning fat and vital for enhancing energy. Choose three to four times spread throughout the day – perhaps on waking, at morning tea, the afternoon slump and just before dinner - and set a phone alarm for these times. Choose a different exercise for each time slot and perform a five minute circuit of that exercise – that’s it.
So say we chose on waking to do squats – we want to do squats at a good pace for 50 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, squats for 60 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, until five minutes are up. Your next time slot at morning tea could be press ups, either on your toes or on your knees is fine. We then repeat the same ratio of 50 seconds of press ups and 10 seconds of rest, repeated for five minutes. The next one could be high knees or lunges or even tricep dips – the options are endless. Give it a go and see how you feel after three days doing this – I’ll bet you feel different.
2. How about ‘room blocks’?
This is a great way to add exercise into your day, whether you are at home or even at work. Without realising you are doing too much, you will start banking some serious exercise time. Choose different areas in your office or your home and allocate an exercise or movement to that area. You may choose at home to do ballet squats at the kitchen sink, or wall press-ups in the bathroom, or perhaps some lunges in the bedroom. So anytime you enter that area, you perform 10-15 repetitions of your chosen exercise. You can have little cards up to remind you which exercise it is, and swap them around every few days to really target different areas of your body.
3. Ten minute energy walk
We often struggle to find the energy, let alone the time, but what many of us don’t always think about is that it takes energy to create energy. So if we wait until we feel great or feel energetic before we start doing something, we might be waiting a really long time.
My little trick is to just do something - usually a walk for just 10 minutes. It can be the last thing I feel like doing, but I just go and the plan is only 10 minutes. My head can always process 10 minutes as being quick, easy and manageable, even if I am tired. What really happens is after five or six minutes I start feeling better, I have a little more energy and I often decide to go for another few minutes, then a few more and before I know it I have done 20 – 30 minutes of exercise or a great walk outdoors. Then I have lots more energy, my mood is better and I am not craving any bad foods – I say that’s a 10 out of 10 result!
4. Change the record
Trying something new works so well for a number of reasons. By doing something different from our usual fitness and activity, the body is a little more challenged, so we often feel muscles we have not felt in a while. Initially our results come quickly, which is a great way to stay motivated and in turn help us find time to exercise. It also gets us out of a rut or routine that wasn’t really exciting or enticing, so we are more likely to make the time to do it, especially if you can organise something with friends. I chose to do barre / ballet classes with some friends when heavily pregnant, to get me moving when I could no longer do my usual exercise – it was fun, a great chance to catch up with the girls as well as building resilience and increasing energy for me. New exercise or movement options are also a great opportunity to include the whole family in something, especially with the long summer evenings – maybe play some outdoor games at the park after dinner or go for a walk. Or you could have a lucky dip where each member gets to put in their own exercise choice and you draw one out every second night or every weekend. It’s often just about changing perspective and thought about exercise and making it part of who we are rather than a chore or another thing to do on our ‘to do’ lists.
Lee-Anne Wann is a fitness specialist, nutritionist, presenter and author.