Making the gym a priority in your everyday routine always seems like a good idea, but the reality is that our busy lives can get in the way. First, there's the mental challenge of getting yourself dressed, ready, and out the door to exercise. Then there's the actual workout itself - and the post-workout shower you'll have to schedule in. All of this combined can easily take a good hour out of your day.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way! Enter the mini workout (a.k.a. the exercise hack). According to the Journal of the American Heart Association, your heart rate needs to be elevated for a minimum of 10 minutes to receive maximum health benefits, and the recommended amount of time you should elevate your heart rate is 30 minutes a day. As long as you’re getting moderate to vigorous activity for 10-minute bouts, at least 3 times a day, it doesn’t matter how and when those bouts are accumulated. In other words, whether you take 10-minute breaks from your desk to walk around the block at a moderate pace or hit the treadmill, it all counts.
MOVE YOUR BODY AT LUNCH
How many times has your lunch break consisted of scarfing down a salad at your desk? Make a promise to yourself to actually get up and leave your desk a few times a week and use that time to sneak in some cardio. Walk briskly around the block, take 10 minutes to walk up and down the stairs, or even just pace around the office (being mindful of co-workers, of course). Exercise also gets your mind refocused so when you get back to your desk, you can work smarter instead of longer.
TRY PRE-SHOWER PUSH UPS
Who says you need a mat to do push-ups? Find a spot in your bathroom and commit to doing 10-15 push-ups every morning before hopping in the shower. You can even stand on your toes at an angle and do your push-ups against the sink. Your muscles don’t care where they are, as long as they’re getting a workout.
DO A SIDE PLANK DURING A BINGE
- This yogi-favorite move helps tone the obliques and now you can do it while binging on Netflix. With an extended arm, lean against the arm of your couch at an angle, with the rest of your body in alignment. Hold for 30 seconds and alternate sides. Repeat a few times.
- SNEAK IN LEG LIFTS DURING DINNER
- Who doesn’t love killing two birds with one stone? Making a meal while working out is a win-win! Stand facing the stove or kitchen counter with your feet about hip-distance apart. Put your weight on your left foot and lift your right leg, laterally, to the side using your glutes and hips. Slowly lower your leg back to starting position (be careful not to use momentum in this movement, it’s all about isolation). Do 15-20 repetitions on one side and then switch to the other.
CRUNCH YOUR ABS AT YOUR DESK
- The office version of a crunch (that really works) requires a stable chair, not one with wheels. Sit at the edge of your chair, in an upright position and suck in your stomach. Put your hands behind your head just like you would with a regular sit-up. Lift up your left knee and bring your right elbow to meet your left knee. Try 10-20 reps and then switch sides.