SOMETHING is better than NOTHING!
It’s easy to buy into the mindset that if you can’t commit to a full, 1-hour workout session on any given day, then why bother and better to save that dedicated workout duration for another day when you can. The problem is, when will you realistically commit to that on another day? And does that amount of time just make you feel overwhelmed and apt to not do it at all? And why is 1-hour the magic number?
The truth is, a workout of ANY duration is better than not making the time for any physical activity at all. I am personally giving you permission to stop feeling guilty about not putting a full hour aside most days of the week, because if you’re making any time at all to move, you’re doing something right! If you’re doing NOTHING right now, then doing SOMETHING is the logical next step!
Here are some ideas to consider:
– Go for a walk outside before or after work during the weekdays. Since the weather is warmer these days as we approach summer, consider which part of the day you’ll feel most comfortable outside to set yourself up for an enjoyable walk. Bring your iPod along with a pre-loaded playlist of your favorite motivational songs to add to this positive experience. Or leave your belongings at home (sans your house key and any safety mechanisms you feel you need to take with you) to listen to the outdoors, take in your environment, and reflect on your thoughts internally. More apt to go for a walk with a buddy? Invite a spouse, friend, or family member and enjoy your conversation and company. This walk not only gets you moving, but it can set you up for a great way to start or end your workday, regardless of how it goes. Consider longer walks on the weekends and changing up your scenery if you’re feeling bored with it. If you can, consider taking a work break or using your lunchtime to go for a short 5-15+ minute walk during the day (although with the daytime heat increasing lately, consider whether this will be realistic for you to commit to, and if so, have a plan for stopping before you sweat or freshening yourself up a bit afterwards to be able to get through the rest of your work day at your comfort level).
– Set aside time to stretch. This can be as simple as a 5-10+ minute routine at the beginning, during, and/or end of your day. Ideally, address all major muscle groups of your body. Focus on your breathing and slow its pace. Hold each stretch for 3-5 full breaths. Be mindful of your posture, pressing your shoulders down away from your ears and slightly back. Stand up throughout the day if you are primarily in a seated position.
– Find a recorded workout you enjoy (preferably one you can stream or play from your electronic devices so it’s accessible to you anywhere) that you can do in your living room or when you are out of town. These workouts will be available to you on-demand as you need them, so if you have to work late and miss an onsite class or think it’s too late to go to the gym, or you’re traveling and aren’t able to find a nearby onsite class or fitness facility, no worries because you can still get in a workout! This cuts out most of the prep time for your workout (other than getting dressed and setting up any equipment or resources you need), travel time to/from a gym or class, and some excuses not to exercise! You can head straight from your living room or hotel room workout to your shower; how convenient, which makes it more likely to happen! I am developing my own video workout library, so stay tuned for this awesome resource!
– Perform the following exercises that utilize your body weight (8-12 repetitions of each): Push-ups (modification options above the knees on the floor or standing and pushing up off of a wall or sturdy surface), lunges (each leg stepping back, alternate), squats (lead with your booty, keep your weight in your heels, knees behind your toes), jumping jacks (one leg at a time out to each side of your body or hop both legs out and in simultaneously), and step-ups (onto an aerobics step or bottom stair of a staircase, lead with one leg then the other). Then perform the following exercises: Quick feet (for 30 seconds, go as fast as you can shift weight from one foot to the other in a shuffling motion) and speed bag (for 30 seconds, arms above shoulders, circle forearms with wrists in alignment away from you as fast as you can while bracing your core; you can hop or jog in place or shift your weight from side-to-side, like a boxer shuffle, while doing this). End by holding a plank position [hands/wrists stacked under shoulders (if on the floor, against a wall or sturdy surface), above the knees (if on the floor) or on balls of feet (if on the floor, against a wall or sturdy surface), engage core], for 30 seconds up to 1 minute, or as long as you can hold it. Repeat the series as time allows/is desired.
As always, please consult with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program or activity to address any health concerns you may have. Consider bone or joint issues that may limit mobility and don’t do anything you’re uncertain about performing correctly, safely, or that may cause you pain; I’m happy to be a resource to discuss and provide options for you to consider!