Most of us love the way exercise makes us feel, but sometimes we still have a hard time figuring out how to fit it into our busy lifestyles. When the weather is hot (like it is now), and you’re busy trying to juggle work, family, play, errands and other obligations, exercise is one of the first things to slide off the schedule. Days can easily turn into weeks of not working out, and you may start to find your stress are levels higher, your energy levels are lower and your jeans are…well… tighter. Nobody wants any of that!
Since integrating even a little exercise into your daily routine can help you tackle the things life has to throw at you, here are 5 simple tips to help you incorporate fitness into even the busiest of days
1. Grab an Early Morning Walk.
I know, sleep is so good . . . but so is greeting the day with an early morning stroll outside! Do you have small children? If so, perfect: they can snooze in the stroller. Slightly older children? Ask them to join you! Do you have teenagers? They will sleep right through your “me time.” Don’t worry about getting ready for the day: just throw on a baseball hat, grab a bottle of water, and enjoy a metabolic boost and some time to think. I find that, when I start off the day with a walk, I have more energy for the rest of the day.
2. The Speedy Scrub
Who says cleaning isn’t a workout? Try a speed cleaning challenge, and you will definitely break a sweat. Set a timer and try to accomplish a list of goals for cleaning in that amount of time, oriented by task instead of by room. For instance, in 20 minutes you could try to sweep, mop, and vacuum all the floors in your house. It’ll keep you moving! This method is also great for busy people because it helps us avoid becoming distracted or overwhelmed while cleaning. Your speed cleaning challenge/s won’t cost you much time, and afterwards your house will look cleaner and you will look sweatier! I don’t know about you, but I always feel a little more prepared for anything when my environment is clean(ish).
3. Posture and Breathing
You really can do this one anywhere, even standing in line or sitting in traffic! Try to become more aware of your posture when sitting or standing: keeping your back straight, your chest lifted upwards, shoulders down, and stomach pulled in. Also concentrate on incorporating some deep breathing exercises, which can calm your nerves and may even help you burn more calories. Additionally, you can incorporate some abdominal work while you take deep breaths. Keeping your posture in-check as you inhale slowly, use your exhaling breath to pull your stomach in as tightly as you can to create a “vacuum effect.” Keep those abdominal muscles pulled in tightly for several seconds as you continue to exhale. If you keep up these habits whenever you can, you will see positive changes in your posture and waistline over time.
4. Keep the Music Playing
As a former dancer and current Zumba® instructor, this one is my personal favorite! We love music at my house, so we just keep it playing all day long. Because of this, there’s never a day that I’m not dancing! I especially like to dance when I cook, even if all I’m doing is bouncing up and down with a few squats and twirls thrown in. Try adding a little dancing to your day. If you have young children, take a few minutes to pick them up and dance with them (toning your arms while getting fun bonding time!). Dancing could even be part of getting some quality time with your spouse. For instance, my husband and I also both love Big Band music, so sometimes we will do a little swing dancing in the kitchen after supper. It’s fun, relaxing, and romantic! Anyone can make time to add a little dance into the day. It may not be an intense workout, but it’s still a fun way to keep moving without even thinking about it.
5. The Goodnight Wind-Down
A little pre-bedtime yoga or stretching is the perfect way to finish off any busy day. There is a limitless supply of short, relaxing sequences to learn on the internet, so find one that works for you and your bedtime routine. Stretching your muscles and incorporating some meditative breathing can increase your flexibility over time and help you sail off to dreamland more quickly, which leaves you with more energy tomorrow.
Exercise is really one of the best ways to take care of your body and treat yourself to a little free therapy. The endorphins you can get from a little sweat can also help you cope with the business of life in a smoother, more energized way. You may not have time to hit the gym every day, but I hope these 5 simple tips will help you incorporate a little exercise into every day so that you can live life to its fullest!