You have a job and a household to keep on track. You’re running around everywhere — except to the gym. Here’s how to find time for fitness.
With deadlines to meet, laundry to do and kids’ soccer teams to chauffeur, it’s no wonder fitness can fall off your radar. But are you ready for some good news? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says even as few as 30 minutes of exercise five days a week can pay off with major health benefits. And it doesn’t have to be 30 minutes all at once. You can break it down into short segments.
The most important thing is to get moving. Here’s how:
1. Pick up the pace.
You walk throughout your busy day, right? Even if it’s only down the grocery store aisles or from the parking lot to the front door of your office, turn it into a mini-workout by walking at a quicker pace. This will get your heart rate up higher, and you’ll also burn more calories. If you have a fitness tracker, find out how to make the most of it.
2. Park farther away.
Speaking of the parking lot, instead of circling around trying to find the closest spot to the door, make a game of parking as far away as possible (while still making sure it’s in a well-lit, safe spot). Check out these additional benefits of walking.
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3. Take the stairs.
This classic tip may be easier said than done, depending on which floor you work or live on. But it’s an old standby for a reason. Walking up stairs burns two to three times more calories than walking briskly, reports the New York Times. How’s that for motivation?
“Climbing five flights of stairs five times a week burns approximately 302 calories,” said Helga Van Herle, MD, MS, associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and a cardiologist at Keck Medicine of USC. “That could result in a loss of 15 pounds a year.”
4. Brush and balance.
If you’re paying attention to your dentist, you know you’re supposed to brush your teeth for two minutes in the morning and two minutes at night — that’s four minutes every day that you’re doing one simple thing. Why not turn it into a balance sesh and brush your teeth while standing on one leg? While balancing might not make you break a sweat, it’s vital to your functional fitness; better balance can help prevent trips and falls, which is especially important as you age. Plus, it’s a bit of a workout for your core, too. Just be sure to switch legs halfway through.
5. Get down with dishwasher squats.
Instead of bending over willy-nilly as you pick up those freshly washed plates, do a proper squat. To max out your total number of squats, pick up only one plate (or glass or piece of silverware) at a time.
6. Do grocery curls.
As you’re putting away your weekly groceries, pause for a moment and do a few bicep curls with the heavier items, such as that gallon of milk, can of soup or bottle of seltzer. Be sure to repeat the same number of reps with each arm.
There’s no reason exercise can’t be fun. Play tag with your kids around the backyard, jog alongside your daughter as she rides her bicycle, chase your dog around the living room, have a dance party … you get the picture!
By Anne Fritz
If you’re in the Los Angeles area and are looking for exceptional care from some of the top physicians in the world, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment.