Effective workouts when you’re short on time

June 09, 2021 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Life is hectic. Many of us get caught up in our work schedules, kids’ sports, home projects, social obligations and an ever-growing to-do list.

It’s easy to eliminate exercise and overall wellness for the next item scheduled on the calendar. But we all have to make time to exercise, even amidst the hustle and bustle.

As the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state, in order to see measurable results for the aerobic and cardiovascular systems, we should aim to get 20-30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise 3-5 days a week in at least 10-minute increments or 10-15 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise 2-3 days a week in bouts of as little as 5 minutes.

From a strength-training perspective, ACSM suggests using all the major muscles groups of the body, such as the legs, trunk, butt, chest and back, in compound (multi-joint) exercises 2-3 days a week to see an improvement in overall body composition, muscle tone and injury prevention.

There are ways within your day to get a quick burn with strength training and physical activities. Some of these solutions are a lot easier than you may realize.

From in-home exercises, to a stroll in the park, to finding other healthy alternatives to move, here are a few time-efficient workout tips that will help you stay in shape:

  1. Simply getting outside and going for a stroll is a great start. If it’s difficult to find time to get in those extra steps, take a walk first thing in the morning before the day gets away from you. Have a dog? Leash them up and take them with you. You’ll both get the exercise you need.

  2. Use a step counter or a smartwatch synced to your phone. This can help you track your steps and hold you accountable to keep moving. Aim for a total of 10,000 steps or around 3-4 miles a day (depending on each individual’s stride-length).

  3. To increase your steps, park farther away from stores or malls, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and look for the more scenic route in the office when using the bathroom or water cooler at work.

  4. While at home, combine 2-3 strength-training exercises each day (or every other day) and perform a quick circuit of 2-3 rounds for 8-12 repetitions. This is enough to get the heart rate up and help with muscle development — and it can all be done in under 10-minute intervals. Try these:
  • Air squats or chair squats
  • Hip bridges lying on the floor for counts of 10
  • Static lunges in place
  • Steps-ups onto a 12-18 inch box, chair or step (with precaution taken)
  • Standing calf raises at the sink
  • Overhead presses with full water bottles
  • Modified and regular push-ups using counter tops and other flat surfaces to push from, and bars or banisters for inverted rows (to work the back and shoulders)
  • The plank, a great full-body bracing and stabilizing core exercise that works the legs, upper body and trunk all at the same time

As you can see, fitting in exercise when you’re short on time can be done. These are all great options to use the body more, raise the heart rate and take charge of your fitness.

Living a healthier and more active life begins with the right mindset. Make each day count, prioritize exercise and physical activity, and commit to fitting it into your schedule each day. 

As Jack LaLanne, known as “the Godfather of modern fitness,” once said, “You are what the sum total of your cumulative choices and actions are on a daily basis that adds up to what your standard becomes over a lifetime.”

Make those choices count and be the best version of you each day!

Need help to meet your movement goal? A fitness specialist can help you develop a fitness program that works for you.

Drive your health forward at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness.

Our Fitness Centers have measures in place to keep you safe in the gym during the COVID-10 pandemic. Learn more.

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