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Sneaky ways to get more exercise into your day…

Hit the alarm, wake up, get breakfast on the table, get the kids ready, work 8 or 9 hours, pick the kids up from school, cook dinner, soccer practice, bath time, clean up…EXERCISE? Maybe tomorrow.

Sound familiar? Are you one of many struggling to find a place to squeeze in exercise?

It’s a common misconception that in order to get quality exercise you must spend at least an hour at the gym. More and more research is showing there is a big health benefit to adding short bouts of exercise during your day – and without even stepping foot in a gym!

According to a recent study by the American Counsel of Exercise, short stints of exercise that were sustained for less than 10 minutes were beneficial for weight gain prevention. In another large (NHANES) study, the more breaks from sitting the participants had, the slimmer their waistlines and the lower their C-reactive protein levels (a marker of inflammation).

Every minute of movement counts. Find satisfaction in knowing that your efforts of using the stairs instead of the elevator and choosing the furthest parking spot from the door are not wasted!

Here are some simple ways to add more exercise into your day:

1. Have a desk job? Keep a water bottle at your desk and only fill it halfway so that you have to get up for refills throughout the day.

2. Even if we don’t want to admit it, the TV (or computer) typically takes up at least an hour or two of our free time. At each commercial break, add in 20 tricep bench dips, push-ups, or jumping-jacks. Better yet, ditch tonight’s TV time and get out for a walk or fun game with the kids.

3. Scheduled buddy system! Intentionally schedule in a few “breaks” in your day with a coworker and try a plank circuit. It will take less than 2 minutes! Try this:

  • On your forearms, hold a standard plank for 30 seconds.
  • Roll over onto your right arm for a side plank, and hold for 30 seconds.
  • Roll over onto your left arm for a final side plank, and hold for 30 seconds.

4. While waiting for the water to boil or the oven to pre-heat, fill your time with angled push-ups on the counter.

5. Is there a conference call to attend today? Have your dumbbells handy! Squeeze in bicep curls, tricep extensions and shoulder presses during the call.

6. Have a baby fighting nap time? Try side lunges as you “rock” your baby to sleep.

7. Intermission of the school play or at the halftime of a sporting event is a great time for a 5- 10 minute power walk either in the hallways or around the building while you are supporting your children.

8. Plan active date nights! Whether it’s quality time with your loved one or with the kids, skip the dinner and a movie and go for something with movement! Make dinner at home then walk to your favorite park, bike the neighborhood, or head to the local bowling alley!