Can’t Fit In a Full At-Home Workout? Do This

Don’t have an hour to devote to working out at the gym? No problem — follow this at-home circuit instead.

There are 86,400 seconds in one day. That seems like a lot, doesn’t it? But when it comes to finding a few thousand of them in a row to spend working out, especially in these extremely time-crunched, Zoom-filled days, it’s not so easy.

And yet, it’s important to find windows in the day to keep moving, keep stretching, keep exercising — and more than our fingers on the keyboard. This version of “me time” is key for keeping healthy, especially when you may already feel spread thin. The important thing to remember is that even if you can’t grab 30 to 45 minutes in a row to work out, that’s no reason to throw in the towel. Finding any time to move is better than not moving at all.

Here are three easy ways you can sneak in workouts during the day.

In the morning: Go on autopilot

Create a spreadsheet, and organize it in the following way.

In one column, write down some of your favourite upper-body exercises. In the next column, write down some of your favourite lower-body exercises. The same applies for two more columns: cardio and core exercises.

Now, if you can wake up 25 minutes before anyone else in the house, you’re set for a quick pre-coffee workout. Pick one exercise from each category, and do about 15 reps per exercise. Take a one-minute break and repeat six times. You should be done in less than 30 minutes.

(Related: 17 Best Arm Exercises for Women)

In the middle of the day: Redefine your home gym

With so many people working remotely these days, it’s helpful to look around the house to see what pieces of furniture can pull double duty as workout equipment. All you really need is:

  • Stairs or a small stepstool
  • A heavy chair or table
  • A towel

Consider doing a quick at-home circuit like the one described below, which you can squeeze in whenever you have a few free minutes.

  • Squat to a chair (or sofa, to make it more challenging)
  • Step-ups on a stepstool or stairs
  • Triceps dips off a solid chair or table
  • High knee jog on the spot (harder than you might think!)
  • Jumping jacks
  • Push-ups (off the floor, angled on steps or off a countertop)
  • Plank mountain climbers with your feet on towels (sliding to and fro, as if you were running on the spot)

Try to do each of the above exercises for 30 seconds each. That’s one circuit in just eight minutes. Take a one-minute break, and do another circuit. If you can repeat it four times, you will have completed a pretty good workout in 32 minutes.

(Related: How to Perfect Your Form During At-Home Workouts)

After work: Turn post-dinner strolls into a family rec league

Play counts as working out! A soccer net, badminton set or ball is all you need to enjoy intense and fun cardio with your partner or family. Start with 20 minutes, twice a week, and watch how quickly you become motivated to find more time for this kind of activity. You may eventually escalate your sessions to 60 minutes, three or four times per week. Make the most of this outdoor recreation before the snow hits, and discover how your stamina and cardio improve.

If you need inspiration or to modify some part of any of these routines, talk to a trainer. But if you buy in to the idea that all movement — no matter how short — is worth doing, you may find yourself working out regularly again before you know it.

Peter Levidis is a certified athletic therapist at Sport Specialists

Next: 9 Sneaky Ways to Carve Out More “Me Time” Every Day

Originally Published in Best Health Canada