Fitting in Fitness: Staying Healthy in a Busy Life
For some people, exercise can feel like a huge chore. Our schedules are often jam-packed with work, kids, hobbies, and maybe even sleep if we are lucky, so it can sometimes seem impossible to fit in exercise. But we all know how important it is to stay active, so how can we fit in fitness without giving up all our free time? Here are some ways you can keep moving throughout the day and maximize your time in the gym!
I know, the elevator is faster and you have your hands full, but did you know that stair climbing burns more calories than jogging? You also burn calories going up or down the stairs, with an average calorie burn of 1 calorie per 10 steps up and 1 calorie per 20 steps down (1). That small exertion of energy gets your heart pumping and muscles engaged, so you can squeeze in bursts of cardio and strength training by simply taking the stairs.
We all like to try to find the closest spot possible when we go grocery shopping or hit the mall. Rather than spending time doing loops in the parking lot looking for the closest spot, pick a spot on the outskirts and get a little walk in before shopping. You’ll minimize the time you spend sitting and get in some extra steps with little additional time commitment.
You don’t always have to sacrifice TV time for exercise. Stepping in place during the commercial breaks can burn an average of 148 calories for 25 minutes of commercials, as compared to burning 304 calories for walking on the treadmill for an hour (2). Talk about a time-saver! Next time you are watching your favorite show, try doing a few squats or stretches during the commercial breaks to get your body moving and break up your sedentary time. You can even do some exercises while seated to loosen up your muscles, engage your core, and increase your heart rate.
Even if you add little bouts of extra movement throughout your day, it is still important to make dedicated time to get in higher levels of cardio and specific strength training. The best way to keep your time at the gym short and sweet is to use high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. This doesn’t mean doing crazy high box-jumps or 5 minutes of burpees; HIIT is your personal all-out effort for a short burst, typically 30 seconds followed by 1-2 minutes of rest. Even just 30 minutes of this type of training can burn 290 calories (3).
HIIT is a great way to mix up your workouts and also fit in exercise on days you may be shorter on time. Instead of spending hours on the treadmill and hitting every weight machine in the gym, try picking a few pieces of equipment and movements to do in sets of 3 using the HIIT technique. You’ll get a better burn in a shorter amount of time, and can be back home relaxing before you know it!
Staying active and in shape isn’t always easy, but with some small tweaks to your routine, you can take the hassle out of health and fit in fitness wherever you are. At STAC, you have our team of fitness professionals ready to help. Join us today to learn more about how you can make staying healthy and fit simple and fun!