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How to Sneak in Little Moments of Fitness

There are so many things we don’t have time for, things we know are beneficial for our lives, but we just lack the time. (Or more likely, the motivation). Yet, despite our busy schedules, we do find ways to “sneak” in time for other, more immediately gratifying things. We sneak in a little catnap, we sneak out of the office a bit earlier than usual, we even sneak dessert or a cocktail when we know it might be best to do without. So, yes, we know how to sneak certain things into our hectic lives. But what about sneaking in something else – what about sneaking in a few moments of exercise?

Many of us try to prioritize our fitness. We schedule workouts on our smartphones and eagerly (perhaps naively) invest in expensive gym memberships or home equipment – all for naught. Forget all the possible rationalizations – most would say that they simply lack the time.

Hey, I get it! I could definitely use a few spare hours in a day! Today, we are not only working longer hours, we’re also juggling more things than ever before. Between work, kids, spouses and pets, it’s a wonder we have time for much else, let alone exercise! Kids take longer to grow into independence than our generation did. Trust me, I have two “boomerang kids” (college graduates who you throw out into the world only to have them boomerang back to the nest). We attend to our marriages, our divorces, our second chances at romance and blended families. And, if the stress of handling our own households isn’t enough, more and more of us (if we’re lucky) are now caring for our aging parents, who are living much longer, thus requiring more assistance, than ever before.

So it’s not surprising that our own health and well-being often takes a back seat to this alliance of needy family members. In this sleep-deprived, overly-caffeinated, social media-frenzied world, we are juggling more balls than ever before. And although many of us do throw the metaphorical “gotta’ exercise” ball into our daily juggling routine, it’s usually the first ball that gets dropped, because we just have no time.

It’s not as if we don’t know it’s good for us. Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the Jane Fonda exercise craze began in the 80’s, we’re all well-educated on the necessity of fitness for a healthy lifestyle. So how can we bridge the gap between the recommended 30-60 minutes of exercise, 3-5 times a week, and the reality of our busy lives?

Ready? Don’t plan your day around your fitness. You’ll find too many reasons that it doesn’t fit into your day. Instead, how about flipping the script? Make your fitness an integrated part of your busy life. That’s right – like that piece of dark chocolate, the 15-minute catnap or the glass of wine while cooking dinner, sneak a little exercise into your days. It’s much easier than you think.

First, I know you’ve heard a million times that you should take the stairs, instead of the escalator or elevator, but here it goes again…

Take the freakin’ stairs!

Done.

In addition, here are some other things I do to sneak in a few moments of fitness throughout my day.

1. Task Association:

Associate an everyday task with an exercise. For example, I pair my morning and nightly ritual of brushing my teeth with Donkey Kicks. Here’s how: lean over your sink and start brushing your teeth. Raise one leg behind you and bend (at the knee) 90 degrees, so that the bottom of your foot is parallel to the ceiling. Raise your leg up as if you are trying to push the ceiling up with the bottom of your foot. Do 50 Donkey Kicks per side. It should take you around 2 minutes – the length of time, on average, it takes someone to brush their teeth. There are many alternate exercises you can pair with common tasks. You can do calf raises (30-50) while cooking over the stove. You can do lunges every time a commercial comes on during your favorite TV show.  And if you’re a binge-watcher, that’s a lot of lunges. The trick is to associate an everyday task or event with some sort of exercise.

2. Glute Clenches:

If I am ever stuck in the car more than 30 minutes, (HELLO, I live in Los Angeles)… I do butt clenches for the entire length of a song on the radio. Simply find a song that inspires you, and start squeezing your glutes to the beat. And if you’re listening to podcasts, pick a segment between ads to sneak in this clench and release. You will be surprised the next day when your ass is sore!

3. 16-Hour Interval Training Mini-Sets:

Set an alarm on your phone for every hour, on the hour. (Or every 2 hours to start). When your alarm goes off, do 30 seconds of exercise. Then go about your daily activities. When the alarm goes off again – an hour (or 2) later – exercise again for 30 seconds. Continue this sequence for all of your waking hours. It doesn’t matter what form of exercise, but it’s best to mix it up. For example, let’s say your alarm goes off at noon – sneak in 30 seconds of jumping jacks. Next, when your alarm goes off at 2PM – do 30 seconds of ab crunches. As your alarm goes off at 4PM – do 30 seconds of push-ups, etc. It’s simply a way to keep your metabolism working throughout the day. Sneaky, right?

So there you have it. You think you don’t have time to exercise?… I beg to differ. The next time you find yourself face down on the floor, from trying to juggle too many tasks, maybe do a few pushups while you are down there.