We all know that staying fit with regular exercise is good for both our mental and physical well-being, but despite all our good intentions and New Year's resolutions, our hectic lives and obligations often make it a challenge to get to the gym on a regular basis.
That's why we love a recent study by the American Heart Association, which says that "exercise does not have to be prolonged in order to be beneficial. It just has to be frequent." In fact, six 10-minute mini workouts are equal to one 1-hour workout.
That's encouraging news for those of us who can't manage to fit in one-hour workouts – not to mention travel time – into our daily schedule, but who want to make changes. Mini workouts may not be sufficient for professional athletes, but for the rest of us they can make the difference. We've all heard the tips to take the stairs or park the car further away (both good advice), but how else can you sneak a tiny bit more exercise into your day and get the health benefits your body needs? It's all about activity.
5 Ways to Sneak Mini-Workouts Into Your Daily Routine
An adjustable standing desk has health benefits and can increase your productivity. Standing versus sitting not only boosts your energy, it also lowers your risk of heart disease and blood sugar levels. Experts recommend alternating an hour of sitting with an hour of standing. There are free-standing and desktop standing desks available for purchase. An alternative is to put your laptop or paperwork on your kitchen island and work while standing up.
Walking while talking doesn't sound like much of a workout – but when compared to sitting and talking, the benefits are obvious. At the office, schedule a conference call or a meeting with a similarly motivated colleague as a walking meeting. At home, instead of cozying up on the couch with your cell phone and your BFF on the other end, take it outdoors and go for a walk and talk. Tip: Encourage your bestie to do the same so she enjoys the same mini workout benefits.
Bike to Work
Whether you live in the city, the suburbs or the country, biking is great exercise. Many towns and cities have incorporate bike lanes into their roadways, and bike-sharing programs are skyrocketing. Take a look at pictures of European women using bikes as transportation, not as exercise machines. Biking in a skirt and heels, with kids in tow or with saddlebags brimming with groceries instead of relegating your bike to weekend warrior status.
Store Your Dumbbells on Your Bathroom Counter
Do you just stand there mindlessly and brush your teeth? Why not make your daily dental maintenance a mini workout?
- Set your electric toothbrush for 2 minutes.
- Stash your dumbbell next to your electric toothbrush.
- While your toothbrush is held in one hand, use the other hand to do an arm workout. Switch arms halfway through.
- With a bit of practice and coordination, you can simultaneously do squats while brushing your teeth and building your biceps.
Buy a Stability Ball
This is another old-time workout tip, but one that is not often put to use at home or the office. For a quick but effective core workout, sit on a stability ball while at your desk or when watching TV for 10-15 minutes, and build up to 30 or even 60 minutes a session. Tip: At home you can stash the stability ball in your tub or shower if you don't like it in your TV room.
For those of us that can't commit to longer bouts of activity, little bits of exercise regularly just may be the answer. How do you fit mini workouts into your daily routine?
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