You have heard it over and over again – we need to exercise and we need to exercise regularly.
However most of us have a hard time thinking up how we can squeeze in 45 minutes at least 3 times a week and that’s just the minimum. Experts state that 45 minutes a day is the way to go. Now where can you find 45 to 60 minutes every day?
What you may not realize is that while you do need a few times of the week where your exercise is continuous and fairly rigorous you can squeeze in 5 minutes here and there and it definitely does add up.
Yes! Experts do agree that even if you move your body in smaller segments you are still getting the benefits of exercising.
Just keep moving!
For example: when you talk on the phone don’t just sit down, move around, bend down, twist and fidget. If so you’ll burn more calories.
Parking your car a bit further away from the entrance to your favorite store at the mall will let you get in a few more minutes of walking. You don’t have to park far away from the entrance of the mall where it may not be safe for a woman alone – just park on the opposite side of the mall. You can still be close to an entrance but you’ll have to walk farther to get to your intended destination.
Did you know that one study found that women who split their exercise into 10-minute increments were more likely to exercise consistently, and lost more weight after 5 months, than women who exercised for 20 to 40 minutes at a time.
In a landmark study conducted at the University of Virginia, exercise physiologist Glenn Gaesser, PhD, asked men and women to complete 15 10-minute exercise routines a week. After just 21 days, the volunteers’ aerobic fitness was equal to that of people 10 to 15 years younger. Their strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility were equal to those of people up to 20 years their junior.
In yet another study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore found that for improving health and fitness in inactive adults, many short bursts of activity are as effective as longer, structured workouts. “It would be useful for people to get out of the all-or-nothing mind-set that unless they exercise for 30 minutes, they’re wasting their time,” says Gaesser.
Here are a few more ideas that will get you thinking about chunks of time and how much exercise you can squeeze in.
Simple Exercise Around the House
1. In the morning before work or school, take a brisk, quick 5-minute walk up the street in one direction and back in the other. That’s only 5 minutes and most of us can easily fit in 5 minutes!
2. Have a treadmill or elliptical in your home but find that allocating 60 minutes at one time is too hard? Exercise while the news is on, while your dinner is in the oven and even waiting for the bathroom to be free.
3. Try 5 to 10 minutes of jumping jacks. (A 150-pound woman can burn 90 calories in one 10-minute session.)
4. Cooking dinner? Do standing push-ups while you wait for a pot to boil or a microwaved meal. Stand about an arm’s length from the kitchen counter, and push your arms against the counter. Push in and out to work your arms and shoulders.
5. After dinner, go outside and play tag or shoot baskets with your kids and their friends.
6. Take your dog for a longer and faster walk. Both you and he will benefit from it. Both physically and emotionally. Walking is a great stress reducer and walking with a pet reduces it even more.
7. Just before bed or while you’re giving yourself a facial at night, do a few repetitions of some dumbbell exercises, suggests exercise instructor Sheila Cluff, owner and founder of The Oaks at Ojai and The Palms, in Palm Springs, CA, who keeps a set of free weights on a shelf in front of her bathroom sink.
Exercise While Waiting For Appointments
8. Walk around the block several times while you wait for your child to take a music lesson. As your fitness level improves, add 1-minute bursts of jogging to your walks.
9. Walk around medical buildings if you have a long wait for a doctor’s appointment. “I always ask the receptionist to give me an idea of how long I have left to wait,” Cluff says. “Most are usually very willing to tell you.”
10. While your son or daughter plays a soccer game, walk around the field.
11. Turn a trip to a park with your child into a mini-workout for you. Throw a ball back and forth and run for fly balls.
12. Instead of spending your 30 minute lunch eating. Spend 10 eating and 20 minutes walking around. In the winter when you are less apt to sweat walk faster.