The recently updated edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans reveal that adults should participate in at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity each week. A portion of that time should include using weights to train all of your muscle groups at least twice a week. Is your routine falling short of these recommendations? Dedicating this much time to exercising may seem daunting, but there are so many ways to elevate your heart rate without committing to a gym subscription (and spending far too much time in traffic trying to get there).
Here’s how you can seamlessly incorporate more exercise into your daily routine:
1. Work out at home with online instructors
Want to work out but don’t have time to travel to the gym? Thankfully, there are reputable and viable workout instructors online! You can choose between pilates, yoga, strength-related exercises, bodyweight workouts, high-intensity interval training, and there's a wide-range of sweat-inducing apartment-friendly workouts. Most of the online instructors are well-trained and know how to motivate you to work up a sweat.
You can work out for thirty minutes, take a quick shower, and move on with your day - time is of the essence!
Here are some fantastic instructors that you may want to check out (and you can get started with their YouTube videos absolutely free):
A. Cassey Ho, a motivational, bubbly instructor, also known as Blogilates, specialises in pilates! Most of her videos average around 15 minutes, so you could choose to do a couple at once - perhaps start with one that focuses on your abs, followed by one that works your butt. She also has quick cardio workouts as well. Her videos are generally apartment-friendly.
B. Sydney Cummings, an online trainer who always expresses her passion for helping you reach your fitness goals, releases a new video once a day. She wants you to feel as if she is your personal trainer, so the sequence of her videos will work a different area of your body; one day may focus on a full body HIIT workout, while others may concentrate on working one muscle group, or a fat-burning cardio session. Her expertise and athletic ability show through her videos. Most of her videos range between 30-60 minutes, and you’ll feel a rush of endorphins when you’re finished!
C. A variety of instructors teach POPSUGAR Fitness classes, and their instructors are super energetic and fun! They have a wide range of workouts that may even trigger a giggle or two. For example, this 30-minute workout led by Raneir Pollard will not only put in you in a good mood, but it will be over before you even know it!
2. Exercise while you watch your favourite TV show
When you finish work, it is easy to fall into a state of relaxation, but what if you spent 20-30 minutes working out in front of your television? You’ll not only get to watch your favourite show, but you’ll release endorphins, and exercising helps you sleep better, which may help you to feel ready and alert during your next day of work!
Blogilates released a video titled, “The Best Workout for Watching TV! | At Home Toning Exercises”, which may be an excellent choice for your first in-front-of-TV exercise routine.
3. Schedule your workouts
Our lives tend to fall into similar patterns and routines as the years go on, so why not write on your calendar that you are scheduled to do a one-hour yoga class on Monday morning, a lunch-time run on Tuesday, a post-work HIIT workout on Wednesday, and pilates workout in front of your TV on Thursday?
It also helps to have a set time to workout each day, which will make exercising harder to miss and forget once you’ve settled into a routine. You could start with training 20 minutes a day, either before work or as soon as you get home. Some sources even suggest sleeping in your training gear!
4. Are you a parent? Take the chance to run around with your kids
You can put your kids in a stroller, and jog or walk around your block, or if your kids are older you can all enjoy a promenade to the park together, and while you watch them fly down slides, you can do squats, pull-ups on the monkey bars, standing push-ups against any part of the playground, and much more.
When the weather drops in temperature, you could always set up a fitness zone in their play area or you could even use your kids as weights!
Philosophie released a video that showcases a variety of exercises you can do with your kids, like squats with a child on your shoulders, or push-ups with one on your back. They’ll have fun while you get your sweat on!
5. 9-5 job? Work out at your desk
It can be hard to find the motivation to work out after a stressful day of work, but there are exercises you can do at your desk! One source suggests doing leg lifts while you are perched in your chair, “lift one leg off the seat, extend it straight out then lower and lift for 15 repetitions.”
They also say that you can work your chest, shoulders, and arms by lifting yourself up and down in your chair for 12 to 15 repetitions - if your chair has no wheels. It also helps to elevate your heart rate when you park your car far away and take the stairs instead of the elevator.
6. Incorporate 10-minute exercise breaks throughout the day
If your schedule is overwhelming, you could always squeeze in 10-minute intervals throughout the day. LIVESTRONG claims, “Several short workouts throughout the day is proven to be just as effective as one long duration workout, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
You can do 10 minutes of squats, jumping jacks, and lunges in the morning, followed by a brisk walk at lunch, and 10 minutes of abs in front of the television at night. Engaging in 10-minute intervals may seem less daunting and time-consuming than 30-minute exercises. However, it is essential to “remember to incorporate both aerobic and resistance training into your weekly physical activity.”
7. Set up active friend dates
Instead of sitting in a coffee shop, you could take your hot beverage to-go and walk in a park! You could also go shopping - meandering the mall burns some serious calories - or go skating on a sunny, winter day!
You may have squirmed a little at the thought of working out 150 minutes a week, but you can slowly build how often you exercise. It is essential to allow your body to adapt to exercise, so be kind to yourself as you build up your stamina and strength. Your body will thank you!