For those of us with busy lives, it can be hard to find time to go to the gym or go for a jog. Commitments like work, childcare and housework can often take priority. And when we finally do get some free time, spending that free time doing a workout is often the last thing we feel like doing.
This results in many of us not getting the amount of exercise we need. But what if exercise didn’t have to take up so much extra time from your day? By finding ways to make workouts shorter and by combining them with other everyday tasks, it may be possible to more easily slot a workout into your day. Below are 5 tips for doing this.
Embrace HIIT workouts
High intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are designed to pack a lot of exercise into a short amount of time. They’re largely cardio-focused - which means they’re great for improving heart health and burning fat. This post offers more information on the impact of HIIT workouts.
A HIIT workout can be as short as 20 minutes. You can also carry out these workouts practically anywhere whether it be at the park or at home. This makes them a very flexible form of workout that you can easily fit around commitments.
You should aim to do 2 to 3 HIIT workouts per week in order to get results. These could be done first thing in the morning, during your lunch break or in the evening - whenever you’re able to find a spare 20 minutes.
Turn housework into exercise
Instead of having to choose between housework and a workout, why not do both at the same time? Housework is typically quite physically active, but often not enough to truly work a sweat up. However, it can be turned into a workout by combining exercises into household chores.
A few examples of how integrate exercise into housework include:
Doing squats and leg raises while doing the washing up.
Incorporating lunges while doing vacuuming - as well as going the extra mile to lift furniture and vacuum behind.
Putting clean laundry away HIIT-style - this could include putting away 5 items of clothes and then doing five reps of an exercise (such as squats, sit-ups or push-ups) and then repeating until you’ve put away all the laundry.
Work out while catching up on TV
It’s also possible to exercise and catch up on your favourite TV shows at the same time. This could be a way to incorporate exercise in the evening without having to leave the house.
One of the best ways to do this is to watch TV while cycling on an exercise bike. You can still give the TV your whole focus while also getting a cardio workout.
This type of exercise may not be ideal for everyone - some people may prefer to reserve watching TV as strictly a downtime activity. However, for others it could still be an effective way to blow off steam.
Replace short drives with bike rides
Many of us use our car to run small local errands that could be easily done via a bike. By cycling these small journeys instead of taking the car, you could get a small amount of exercise into your day, and it won’t take that much more time than driving it (in some cities in rush hour you could even make your journey quicker by cycling it).
A bicycle with a basket could even enable you to go grocery shopping. You may not be able to do a whole week’s shop, but when you need to pick one or two items, a bike could be all you need.
Get active with the family
You also shouldn’t have to choose between exercise and family time. There are many forms of exercise that you can do with your family, which could be fun at the weekend. This could include going for a family bike ride together, going swimming at the local pool, playing games at the park or even simply going on a walk together.
Got very young kids? You could consider using an infant carrier or a sling to go on walks. There are also bicycles you can buy with carriages or seats for young kids, as well as prams you can buy that are made for jogging. These could allow you to get some exercise into your day without having to ask someone to look after your little one.