No time for exercise? 11 ways to tone your muscles without any extra minutes needed.

Exercise in bed

With juggling work, grocery shopping, cooking healthy meals, and perhaps kids and/or pets, sometimes the idea of scheduling a daily hour-long sweat session seems crazier than flying to the moon. The idea of fitting all of that into your 24-hour spaceship can seem like a bit of a stretch. However, by now you should know exercise is an important part of everyday life. Like eating three meals a day, busy or not, it’s an activity worth making time for, and one that will make you feel better, too.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider reevaluating the way you view exercise. Perhaps the approach you take doesn’t need to include a full hour or two of your day. There are tons of little ways you can work your muscles without taking any extra minutes away from your normal schedule. On days where a trip to the gym just isn’t going to happen, use these 11 simple ideas you can do while engaging in already scheduled activities – meaning, no extra time needed!

  • As you brush your teeth, stand on one leg. This small adjustment will help improve balance and coordination, and subtly strengthen your core.
  • Sleep in you workout gear and when you wake up, fit in a little workout session before even stepping out of your bed. Push the covers to the side, and do a few rounds of pushups and planks. Celebrity fitness trainer Jay Cardiello recommends this as a way to increase the effectiveness of those two activities, given the unstable surface of the mattress.
  • Jump rope during TV commercials (if that’s too intense, jog in place instead)
  • While talking on the phone, do several 10-interval sets of squats
  • Walk to a coworker’s office to talk to them instead of emailing them
  • If blow drying your hair, give yourself a hamstring stretch while flipping your hair upside down
  • While vacuuming, use long, exaggerated motions to increase heart rate and switch arms every couple of minutes to balance arm use and torso exertion
  • Take the long way to the water cooler or coffee machine
  • Use your bike to commute to work, or park your car several blocks further from the office
  • Engage in relaxed yoga moves while catching up on an evening Netflix session
  • While in line (at the supermarket, the bank, the post office etc.), pull in and squeeze the muscles of your abdomen and hold it for 60 seconds. Repeat as many times as you want until you get to the front of the line!

The concept behind each of these ideas is simple – add more movement as you move throughout your day. It’s something you can vary and apply to almost everything you’d do in a normal day, including those moments when you’re just sitting still. There’s always the opportunity to lift your spine up tall, relax your shoulders, and engage your core – whether simply sitting in one place or walking to the next. Every little movement counts!

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