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Workout Tips for Busy People


Last updated 12/15/2006 at Noon

The public knows that exercise is good for them. But despite service announcements and words of wisdom from doctors, at least 60 percent of adults in this country are not physically active. Many people argue that they just don’t have time for it with jobs, family, chores and other time commitments often taking precedence over fitness routines.

Contrary to popular belief, even busy individuals can make time for exercise if they think creatively. Remember, exercise doesn’t necessarily have to mean uninterrupted time at the local gym. By integrating tasks and changing habits, one just may find he is challenging his body with enough daily exercise. Exercise can offer the following: extended longevity, improved mood and protection against the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, obesity, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, colon cancer, and depression. Regular physical activity improves the overall quality of life.

1. Take the stairs: Modern conveniences like elevators and escalators are handy, but you don’t exert any energy by using these devices. Make a habit of using the stairs at malls, office buildings, apartment buildings, and even take a few extra trips up and down your home staircase. If you work on the 25th floor, don’t worry. Take the elevator to the 20th and walk up the remaining five flights. Just by doing this you can get your heart pumping and work muscles in your calves and thighs.

2. Find excuses to walk: In an effort to save time, people often park as close to store entrances as possible, or drive around neighborhoods looking for the closest spot when visiting friends or family. Break this habit and park further away. By doing so you’ll be adding exercise to your routine and it really won’t take up much of your time. You can also walk the track at an area high school or join a walking club. Seniors who enjoy walking in a climate-controlled environment may find a few laps around the mall (all the while window shopping) is an enjoyable way to exert energy and pass the time.

3. Pump iron during commercials: Resistance and strength training is an important component of fitness and doesn’t require a lot of fancy equipment. Simply store a set of dumbbells or resistance elastics by the sofa. During the commercials of your favorite show, do a few repetitions of exercises that will work the major muscles of the body (you can find charts of exercises online or consult with a fitness professional). During one hour-long program you could put in 20 minutes of strength training.

4. Make mundane activities fitness-friendly: Just tackling chores around the house can add up to a workout. Vigorous housecleaning, including mopping and vacuuming can burn between 180 and 130 calories per 30 minutes depending upon weight and gender. Similarly, gardening, playing with the kids or joining a sports team can be fun ways to burn calories - and won’t seem like exercise at all.

5. Vary your routine: The same activities everyday can grow tedious over time, causing you to slack off. Make a list of activities that you enjoy (horseback riding, hiking, in-line skating) and integrate them into your exercise routine. Not only will you be mentally recharged, but you’ll work different muscles and areas of the body depending upon the activity.

6. Get others involved: Any exercise can be more enjoyable with a friend or partner, even if it’s just the loyal family dog. Parents can even take young children out for walks or outings at a park, helping to foster a love of exercise at a young age. Industrious workers can broach the topic of setting up a company-sponsored sports team or exercise club at work - on company time. This way, friendly coworkers can enjoy exercising together and not have to cut into their own time.


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