Fitness

Fitness tips for busy people

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busy womanDo you find it difficult to stay on track with your exercise routine because you’re always too busy? This is a common complaint for many people.

However, regardless of whether you’re a mum, a worker, a student, a social butterfly, you find yourself often helping others, or a combination of the above, it rarely comes down to actually being too busy to train. It’s more often about making fitness and health a priority and finding the right solution for you to fit exercise into your life.

Fitting in exercise when it feels like there’s no time

The good news is that you don’t need to slog it out on the treadmill or in the gym for an hour to get an exercise fix that will make a difference to your health.

Experts say that including bite-sized workouts throughout your day for a cumulative effect is a great way for busy people to strengthen your body and get it moving. Here’s an example of how to do it. Aim for just a few minutes’ worth of exercise at each part of your day, and by the time you go to sleep at night you will have completed a workout!

7.00am – When you wake up

Time for a full body stretch! Stand with your feet hip-width apart, reach both arms towards the ceiling through your fingertips and feel your body lengthening. Take 10 deep, slow breaths feeling your chest and belly expand.

Next, squat, bending at the ankles, knees and hips, and swing your arms down by your sides, then swing them forward and back up towards the ceiling as you stand, coming up onto your tip toes in a slight pause. Repeat following your breath (exhale as you swing down, inhale as you rise onto your toes) 10 times.

7.30am – While making breakfast

If you’re waiting for your toast, porridge or eggs to cook, now’s a great time to fit in a mini-workout. Do 15-20 squats, twice through. If you need a guide, get a chair and lower yourself toward it, sinking your butt back as if about to sit down, but don’t allow yourself to drop all the way. Give your glutes a good squeeze to get you back up.

8.30am – On your way to work (or school dropoff!)

Park an extra block away from your work building or get off the bus a stop early so you have to walk a little further to work. When you get there, skip the elevator or escalators and take the stairs instead (if you’re on the 20th floor of your building, you don’t have to climb the entire staircase, just do part of it!).

You’ll get a great cardio workout plus some extra resistance training for the legs if you hit the stairs.

9.00am – Waiting for the kettle to boil for your morning coffee

Give your legs an extra workout by doing some lunges on the spot. Do 15-20 each side, making sure your body alignment is good to keep your knees protected.

10.00am – At the photocopier

Do some wall push ups to work out your upper body; with hands shoulder-width apart on the wall at shoulder height, fingers facing toward the ceiling, angle yourself out from the wall with feet hip-width apart. Bending from the elbows, let gravity take you towards the wall, then press yourself back out to your start position. Repeat 15-20 times, twice through.

12.30pm – During lunch

Resist the urge to have lunch at your desk, breaks are there for a reason so it’s important to have some time out from work! Eat your lunch outside and get some fresh air if you can, then take a brisk walk around the block to clear your mind, get your muscles moving and get the blood flowing. For bonus points take on some stairs or a hill.

6.30pm – While making dinner

Perform some repeaters while you’re waiting for dinner to be ready to build up your appetite. Standing with all your weight on one foot and your knee slightly bent to engage your butt and thigh muscles, extend the other leg long behind you lightly brushing your toe to the ground, and both arms out in front at chest height.

Staying low on your standing leg, bring your hands in by your hips and knee of the extended leg up and in towards your chest at the same time before extending everything back out again. Do 15-20 on one side briskly, then swap to the other leg. Repeat twice through.

8.30pm – While brushing teeth

Now’s a great time to do some calf raises! Come up on to your tip toes and slowly lower yourself back down. Have a hand on the wall or the bathroom bench for balance support if you need it. Do 15-20, then give your calf muscles a good stretch afterwards.

9.00pm – Just before bed

We don’t want your heart rate to get too high just before sleeping, so this is a good time to do some last stretching to help ease out any tension from the day. Breathing slowly and deeply, on all fours, arch your back and exhale, pulling your belly in to your spine and tucking your head down to look back towards your knees.

As you inhale, reverse the movement letting your belly drop toward the ground (be careful not to over-arch through your lower back) and open through the chest, taking your eye gaze forward. Repeat 10 times through both movements.

TOTAL WORKOUT TIME: Around 2 mins per mini-workout x 9 = 18 minutes

Use your imagination and add more into your day where you can. How do you fit exercise in to your day? Comment below and help others out!

Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – photostock

Ange is a personal trainer, yoga teacher, wife, and mother (with second bubba on the way!) based in Auckland, New Zealand.

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