Do you frequently feel like you have “no time” to exercise? For me, it feels like the “I’m too busy” bug has been running rampant…especially with the holidays looming and the sun setting far too early for me to be productive after work. If you’re stuck in the same mentality as I am, it’s time to change it up!
The American Heart Association, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization recommend adults to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (like brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (like jogging or dancing) per week and participate in muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. When you break it down, these leading health and wellness organizations are recommending you exercise at the minimum 21 minutes per day.
21 minutes. That’s one sitcom before commercials! Come on Netflix and chill-ers, stop binge-watching and start moving.
What I teach my students year after year, is that you don’t necessarily need to hit your recommended exercise minutes in one activity. That’s the beauty of physical activity! It’s defined as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure”. Break it up! Five minutes here, ten minutes there, one-minute plank hold during the end credits of your latest TV kick. By the end of the day, you’ll probably surprise yourself and exceed the minimum 21 minutes.
Here’s where you can get creative – SAFE – but creative. Below are my top 5 favorite muscle-strengthening activities that I have turned into daily habits…
- Exercises while brushing my teeth: strive for 20 reps for each side
- back lunges and side lunges
- arabesques (slow and controlled leg lifts to the back)
- attitudes (slow and controlled leg lifts to the front/side/back with a bent knee)
- wide-squat hold with side crunch
- Squats when you step into the restroom: strive for 10 squats before taking care of business
- Walking lunges when moving around the apartment: if you have a larger space, choose your most-lived in room (i.e. kitchen) and make walking lunges your go-to locomotor move
- Curtsy lunges when making copies: depending on the number of copies I have to make, the more I change up my movements
- Exercises during commercial breaks: I’m just as guilty in my television indulgence
- Plank holds
- Wall sit
- Jump rope (aerobic, but any way I can add it to my 21 minutes!)
**When performing any exercise, be aware of your BODY PLACEMENT**
- knee and ankle in alignment – 90 degree angle
- shoulders and chest lifted in good posture
- belly button scooped back toward your spine
- hips slightly tucked under and forward
- Parallel squats: “find the chair”
- Wide-leg squats: straight line with your upper body – shoulders-chest-hip
Alright, alright, alright. Challenge yourselves:
Simplify the word workout, move more often, and surprise yourself.
Wishing you new exercises and that wonderful “second-day sore”!