We’re all crunched for time this days. Carving out that extra 30-60 minutes of exercise each day can be difficult.
Luckily, a whole hour for exercise at one time is not required, according to Kristopher J. Paultre, M.D., a primary care sports medicine expert with the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute. As long as you are still getting the American Heart Association’s minimum recommendation of 150 moderate minutes or 75 vigorous minutes per week, you can derive the same benefits by breaking it up into smaller chunks of activity throughout the day or week.
“It’s totally fine to break things up throughout the day due to time constraints. If you do two 15-minute runs a day, that counts as 30,” says Dr. Paultre. “We’re looking at the cumulative time for these exercise numbers.”
With that in mind, you can boost your exercise level throughout the day, even if your schedule is packed. Do a few each day, and you may soon find that your fitness totals are working out just fine.
#1) Plan for it
Even if it’s only 10 minutes here or there each day, Dr. Paultre says you still have to plan for fitness if you want to make it a priority. “Exercise should be important — up there with your job, cooking, and cleaning. It needs to be on the top line,” he says. “Every half-year, I set fitness goals to drive toward, and I am diligent about scheduling. You can always devote 30 minutes a day to self-care.”
#2) Find an app
Are you crunched for time? Dr. Paultre is a big fan of the short workouts on fitness apps, such as Adidas or Sweat. Or find short workout videos that you like on YouTube or other platforms. There are infinite resources available at this stage. So, take some time to find the workouts that match your preferences. Chances are, they are just a few clicks away.
#3) Meet on the move
If your day involves a lot of talking on the phone, take your meetings on the move when you can. “Sitting down all day is never a good idea,” he says. “You can have meetings while standing or while walking to fit in some exercise and work at the same time.”
#4) Go outside
When the weather is nice, there is no excuse not to get out for a walk or other activity, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes at a time. Plus, research indicates that it’s a lot safer than prolonged exposure to other people indoors during the pandemic.
#5) Rethink TV time
If you’re used to sitting on the couch during your “relax time,” the American Heart Association suggests making some slight changes here, as well. Walk or jog in place, do yoga, or use the treadmill while watching your shows.
#6) Make errands more mobile
You can even add fitness while taking care of your daily to-do list. Simply park your car further away from the store so that you can walk more. Or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
All these little steps can add up to big fitness over time.
#7) Turn housework into fitness
With the right approach, even keeping the house and yard looking nice can be a workout. Mowing the lawn can undoubtedly be a cardio workout, as can vacuuming and sweeping if you do it regularly. The key is to keep moving.
#8) Play with your kids
Kids are naturally active, so encourage it by playing along with them every day. It will make you feel good both mentally and physically as an involved parent.
Wyatt Myers is a contributing writer for UMiami Health News.
If you feel up to it, it’s safe to exercise when your symptoms are all above your neck. These include a mild sore throat, runny nose, ear pain, or sinus congestion. Even so, it’s best to take it easy and reduce your workout’s intensity or duration, especially if you have less energy than usual. Read more.