“I don’t have time to work out.” Have you said this before? Do you say this on a regular basis? If you answered yes or “ain’t nobody got time for that!” please keep reading. I’d guess that most of us are “too busy” to (fill in the blank). Here’s the thing: if you want something badly enough, you’ll try to make it happen. Here are some tips to help you squeeze in a little bit of fitness into your busy schedule.
- Push-ups. These can be done practically anywhere and become easier to do with practice. I personally like to do about 10 push-ups as a pick-me-up if I’m struggling. Is 2:30 pm rolling around and you feel like you need a nap? Skip the gimmicky 5 hour stuff and do some push-ups. You’ll thank me later.
- Planks and side planks. Great core work can be done anywhere.
- Take the stairs. Yes, I know, you’ve heard this before. So do it! Not only is it terribly lazy to take an elevator up one or two measly flights (pet peeve, sorry), but it’s a waste of time. If you truly don’t have time to get to the gym, at least walk up a few flights of stairs.
- Walk. Oooh, groundbreaking! Seriously, think of ways to increase your walking. In a new city? Walk instead of taking a cab. Running errands? Park as far as you can from the store’s entrance.
- Consider exercising at home. You can save a considerable amount of time (and money!) by sweating it out at home. Think about the time it takes to drive to the gym, change in the locker room, talk to people that think gym time is social hour, etc. I’m not going to advocate for particular workout, but there are some great workouts available on DVD. People commonly say they won’t have enough motivation to work out if they don’t leave the home. Again, if you want something badly enough…
- If you’ve got a few free minutes, try any of the tips below. Doing something is always better than doing nothing. Or as my husband would say, “at least you’re not eating!”
Say you’re out of town and the hotel charges some ridiculous fee to use their fitness room, or maybe it’s just too crowded. I once attended an annual conference of a sports medicine society and had this problem. It’s no surprise that sports medicine docs are pretty active, but when they all get together, that makes for one crowded hotel gym. In that case, I recommend stealing your favorite parts from various workouts to make your own hotel room-friendly workout. So the hotel floor might not be the cleanest, but you’re going to shower afterward anyways, right? Here are some examples:
- Planks and side planks. Length dependent upon your fitness level and experience with this.
- Bird-dogs. On all fours, extend your right arm and left leg and pause before returning to starting position. Repeat.
- Tricep dips. These can be done if you find a stable ledge or chair – be careful not to tip.
- Tricep push-ups. If these are too hard for you, start with your knees on the ground.
- Arm circles or pumps. If you don’t have free weights, it’s a little more challenging to work the shoulders. Performing multiple reps of arm circles or pumps (small up and down movements) will really get those deltoids going.
- Squats. It helps to hold weight, but they are still effective if you don’t have weights. If they get too boring or easy, try adding pulses in the lower half of the squat. Also try turning your feet out and widening the squat to get the inner thighs.
- Wall squats. Think high school volleyball or basketball practice. Sit with your back against the wall, ankles and knees bent no more than 90 degrees. Sit. Sweat. Curse.
- Burpees. From a standing position, squat down and put your hands on the floor. Jump legs back to plank position. Jump back in. Jump up with arms overhead, land softly. Repeat.
- Squat jumps. From a slightly squatted position, jump up with arms overhead, land softly. Repeat.
- Lunge jumps. Start in a lunge with the right foot forward, making sure your right knee does not go past/over the right foot. Put your hands on your hips or over your head if you’re up to it. Jump while switching legs. Repeat.
- High knees. Run in place, trying to bring your knees as high as your hips. Don’t lean back; use your core to raise your knees.
- Jump. Simple, right? Mix it up by jumping side-to-side or forward and back over an imaginary line. Try incorporating jabs with your jumping. Jumping jacks are also an option.
- Stairs. Walk or run. Try two at a time if you want. But first, make sure you won’t get locked into the stairwell J
- Squat slides. Sit in a squat and shuffle 4 (or more, as room allows) steps to one side and 4 to the other. There is probably a better name for this, but whatever you want to call it, it works.
- Add music! It will make a world of difference in your workout. Just try not to move when you hear this.