You might notice these days that there’s a trend toward fast workouts. It’s not so much about burning calories or fat more quickly (though you’ll certainly see ads for workout machines claiming to accomplish these goals in half the time of a normal treadmill). Rather, it seems to be about squeezing exercise into a busy schedule. Most of us can relate.
People today lead very busy lifestyles – arguably more so than at any point in human history, given the ever-increasing demands of workplaces in virtually every industry. It can be hard even for people dedicated to wellness to find the time to work out – and most of us are doing fairly sedentary work throughout the day, meaning we don’t get exercise naturally. This is why so many modern fitness trends and tools focus on efficiency. Consider, for instance, the “7-minute workout,” which exists in multiple forms and has become very popular. It’s said to have been designed for time-conscious individuals (though there’s some debate over its effectiveness).
If you’re already in decent shape or you’re used to quick-burst, HIIT exercises, something like the 7-minute workout can be an effective way to fit in some quick work throughout the day. But there are also ways of squeezing in a little bit of exercise, while working or during recreation, that are a little bit more natural. Note: these aren’t meant to be magic weight-loss solutions or even particularly stressful workouts. But they are nice ways of combating inactivity and keeping your body in motion (and your metabolism up).
Work Your Abs While Seated
You may not realize it, but working your abs can be a lot simpler than getting down on the floor to do sit-ups or crunches. You can do a little bit of ab work just by tightening your muscles after an exhalation, and holding them that way. You can also do leg lifts while you’re seated at your desk for work or school. These kinds of activities won’t earn you a six-pack on their own, but they keep some of your muscles engaged and get your body working on burning at least a few calories at times when you might otherwise just be sitting still.
Exercise With Entertainment
Once the work day is over, a lot of us have a tendency to want to relax, usually in front of a screen. That might mean watching television, gaming, or even throwing on a movie. This is perfectly natural, but unfortunately it also offers no transition for our bodies, which need to move after (and preferably during, for that matter) a long work day. For this reason it’s nice to find a few exercises you can do regularly without diverting your attention from your after-work entertainment. One write-up of a workout routine you can perform at your desk offers some nice options, from equal breathing to arm extensions and leg raises. I’d propose pairing these with a few standard yoga poses for a great routine you can do on your living room floor with your favorite show on.
Walk (And Walk Quickly)
This is probably the most obvious tip on the list, but it’s also one that too many of us ignore. There are opportunities throughout an ordinary work day – in between meetings, during the lunch hour, or even while taking a call – to walk! You’ll likely feel better and, in the long run, maybe even become a little bit more fit, if you take these opportunities to stand up and walk. As an additional tip, one article quoted a man who trained Jennifer Lopez as saying you should walk like you’re late for a meeting. It’s a nice idea to turn a casual stroll into more of a power walk. Even if you might look a little bit silly to your co-workers, your body will thank you for it. You may even feel more alert and energetic throughout the day.
Again, these ideas should not be viewed as quick weight-loss tricks, nor as substitutes for regular exercise. But at a time when so many of us are focusing on trying to squeeze mini-workouts into our days, it pays to know a few ways to exercise almost passively throughout the day.