Most of us agree that working out is essential for good health and good health seems harder and harder to attain with the social and economic stresses and unhealthy food production practices in the world.
People are working longer hours, technology is making physical activity easier to avoid, food producers are taking shortcuts for mass production versus healthy production, and stress takes its toll on our bodies. Considering all these obstacles, it can be difficult to get in the physical activity that we need.
Then there are those who are simply too tired or unmotivated to workout, these are the people that find fitness boring, too difficult or they simply just don’t want to do it.
However, we cannot give up! With all these factors working against us, we can have good health even if getting up the motivation to workout seems impossible.
Here are five easy ways to sneak an aerobic exercise into your day without feeling overwhelmed. In fact, you may actually look forward to them!
1. Make It A Game
This is a trick that many parents and teachers use to make children do things that they are unmotivated to do. It works! Try it on yourself.
You don’t feel like doing a monotonous 45-minute jog on a treadmill, and that’s understandable. Who does? Trick yourself into having fun with it by making it a game! A few examples are obstacle courses, challenges, and pre-made workout games available for sale. Try changing up your pace or incline every few minutes, you’d be surprised how this makes the time go by quicker. And lastly, tell yourself you only have to complete 5 mins. Allow yourself to stop after 5 mins if you really want to, OR tell yourself you can do just 5 minutes more. After all what’s another 5 minutes? This approach has gotten me through many cardio workouts that I didn’t want to do.
There is also the Wii Fit, Xbox Live Fit or other video aerobic games that you can do to help make working out fun. Check them out!
2. Sneak It Into a Lazy Activity
It’s been a long day. Work was hectic, school was stressful, the kids were crazy, and life is hard! The last thing you want to do when you are finally done with your daily responsibilities is work up a sweat! You want to unwind on the couch and watch your favorite show on Netflix, play a few Facebook games, or read a good book.
You don’t have to sacrifice your feel good activity to get in an aerobic workout. Sneak in a couple minutes of fast-paced aerobic activity such as jumping jacks, high knees, or bicycle crunches every 15 minutes or less of your unwinding time. Before you know it you’ll have completed a full workout. OK, it may not be as intense as you could have performed, but it did get you moving.
You can use commercials as the time to do jump squats, or each new chapter in your book means you have to complete 4 rounds of 45-second burpees. Pick exercises that you aren’t going to make you cringe but do make you workout up sweat.
Is your Sim taking a nap? Time for jumping jacks! Just submitted your word in Words with Friends, drop and give me 20!
Sneaking in a little aerobics here and there doesn’t take away the value of your activity. As long as you keep them close enough together, your heart rate will stay elevated and your body will benefit!
3. Make It Social
People thrive when they are around other people. Studies show that most people perform better in a social environment. They enjoy themselves more, the competition makes them try harder, and the company makes time go by faster. Why not apply that to your workouts?
There are many different ways to include cardio into your week through a social avenue. You can join a community sports team, set up a weekly meet up to play basketball with friends or work colleagues, take a group fitness class or even briskly walking your dog with a friend will get your hear pumping. If you’re looking for an online community, join my free private Facebook group. You’ll find a lot of support, both from myself and the other members, accountability, advice and of course fun! The key is to get your body moving & soon you'll create a new healthy habit.
4. Add It To Your Chores
We all have our daily errands to run and chores to do. Why not pick up the pace and get these tasks done not only faster but also kill two birds with one stone? Are you doing laundry, scrubbing the tub, or mowing the lawn with boredom and little effort? The quicker you get them done the quicker you can move on to what you really want to do and you are working out!
Don’t know if you are really getting an aerobic exercise? An easy way to tell if you are getting the benefit of an aerobic exercise is if you can talk but with a little difficulty. You should feel winded but not to the point of exhaustion. You will feel so accomplished after these errands; your high will carry you through the rest of the day.
5. 20 Minutes or Less
.Many people have the mistaken idea that you need to put in an excruciating hour everyday to consider it as a workout. Not so! Even a workout of as little as twenty minutes, can have a positive effect on your heart, lubricate your joints, and help you burn extra calories.
The key is intensity! If you don’t have the time to put in a long workout, don’t fret. Muster yourself up and do a quick but intense workout regimen that may be hard while you do it but over before you know it! Check out High Intensity Interval Training workouts that can be as short as 10 minutes. Feeling good after the 10 mins, squeeze in another 10!
Do you have a few secret ways of sneaking in physical activity during your day? Share your ideas below. I’d love to hear from you.
Lisa Swanson is an ACE Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Orthopedic Exercise Specialist as well as a certified AASDN and PN level 1 nutritionist. With over 35 years experience helping people turn their lives around, she is on a mission to provide relevant and useful knowledge to help women in midlife reach their goals.
Check out my interview with the Magnificent Midlife podcast on staying fit and healthy long-term.