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Creative ways to get more exercise when you’re short on time

Exercises like push-ups are great and all, literally, but sometimes it feels like you have too many other things going on. Anyone who has ever been caught up with an unexpected meeting or had to work late on a Friday evening knows how difficult it can be to get enough physical activity into your daily routine. There are, however, a few ways that you can sneak in some extra exercise even if you're really pressed for time. Here are just a few of the most common and best options for getting in more exercise without sacrificing much of your time.

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Take Stairs Instead of Elevators at Work

Chances are there’s a good number of stairs in your house or workplace and you spend enough time sleeping to be content with climbing them. Stairs offer a great full body workout in less than five minutes and will come naturally with the help of apps such as Fitbit for instant feedback about your steps and miles walked each day. If you're looking for a quick and easy way to get in more exercise and burn some calories, try taking the stairs instead of an elevator. According to research from Mayo Clinic, taking the stairs can burn up to 100-150 calories per hour (when compared with a sedentary lifestyle).

Admittedly, taking the stairs does have a few disadvantages, however. They are often more difficult (and sometimes even dangerous) than walking up an elevator or escalator. But this is only if you do not prepare yourself beforehand by fully understanding some basic safety tips. For starters, take these stairs in quick steps and keep your arms straight at your side to avoid injury (it could also help you save energy). Also, walk up and down the steps one at a time to preserve your energy levels. Another safety tip is to watch where you're going. Make sure you don't stare at the floor too much. The most effective stair climbers keep their eyes straight ahead, but are careful not to look too far ahead either; this could put them in danger of running into the person in front of them when they reach the top or bottom of the stairs (again, only if they're not prepared).

Actively Participate in Play Time with Your Kids

If you’re a parent, kids' play time represents a chore which one can leverage to seek in some more exercise. Playing tag or hide and seek will definitely get your heart pumping and it is also fun! This is not a preserve for parents as nannies and daycare providers can also find this ideal since they do not always afford a personal workplace gym membership for themselves.

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Take Walking Meetings Instead of Sitting Around

When you're pressed for time, it's usually easier to send an email than to get up and go. That's a big mistake when you think about it. Studies have shown that even just sitting at one's desk burns only about 50 calories per hour, while a brisk walk burns 400 calories per hour. That means that walking just one mile in this manner could burn over 300 more calories than sitting would! Instead of making huge sacrifices in your daily schedule, consider taking walking meetings or finding something else to do during your lunch break if you need something to do anyway.

Park Farther from the Office and Walk

Have you ever thought about how many calories you burn during your daily commute? You are burning calories each time you walk. Another reason walking is beneficial for your health is that it improves cardiovascular health. Research has shown a decline in heart disease as we continue to increase our physical activity levels. With the latest information about the benefits of exercise and a lack of time due to work, climbing stairs may not be as feasible of a solution as walking from an even further parking lot. This will give you more time to walk and get your daily exercise in. Studies show that when you walk farther, you get more exercise than when you don't have access to the gym or if it is too expensive. What’s more, this ingenious exercise is a triple play for physical activity. You can get exercise, save money and help the environment.

Credit: Elina Fairytale | Source: Pexels


Practice Yoga or Pilates at Home

Going to the gym or studio is extremely time consuming especially if they are located a distance from your residence or workplace. A great way to get in shape without leaving your house is by trying yoga or pilates at home because the activities are easy to follow, even if you’ve never practiced them before. All you have to do is to find an online tutorial or video and get to work. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the free trial month offers from many studios to see which ones work for you before subscribing.

Exercise While Cooking Dinner

It takes, on average, around 20 to 30 minutes to cook dinner and this time is actually perfect to sneak in a few exercises. Instead of watching the pot boil or waiting for the oven bell to ring you can plan your meal such that you can comfortably do some other activity while the pot sits. Such time slots are ideal for some high intensity exercises such as rope skipping, on the spot running, bodyweight exercises such as mountain climbers or burpees, or even some kettlebell swings if you have a kettlebell. From the above list alternating between three exercises every 30 seconds with 30 seconds of rests in between is perfect. Before you even notice, dinner will be ready.


Bottom line is, there are plenty of ways to stay fit without spending hours working out at the gym or running around outside. Your body needs exercise in order to keep a proper cardiac health and there’s no excuse for being too busy for that!

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