If you’re like 59 percent of the American population, chances are high that you made a resolution to exercise more frequently in 2019. Yet, 31 percent of people who made resolutions in 2018 didn’t stick to them. It’s not surprising; we all know that the slump can start as early as February. You lose your momentum and then, for the rest of the year, "real life" takes over.
When it comes to fitness, most people tend to over-complicate their resolution and the habit of exercise in general. You might assume, for instance, that you need to block-off three hours after work or enroll in an overpriced fitness membership if you want noticeable results.
But that’s not the case, suggests points out Dr. Michael Joyner. Joyner says, even just a “5 to 10-minute workout, if done consistently and coupled with building as much cardio into daily life...can all add up to get you in shape.”
These rapid bursts of callisthenic movement offer mental and physiological benefits too. When the body is in motion, you:
- Boost circulation
- Strengthen cardiac health
- Improve your metabolism
- Increase respiration
- Promote muscle stamina and bone density
- Build immune function
- Sharpen cognitive awareness
- Moderates stress
In the spirit of making a workout routine less complicated and more doable in our busy lives, here are some quick, minimalist ideas to use everyday—no equipment, studio or major time commitment required.
6 Quick Workout Ideas to Try
Do Calf Raises While the Coffee Brews
When you stumble into the kitchen each morning and turn on the coffee machine, don’t just stand there while you wait for the coffee to brew. Use that time to do a series of calf raises. Once you master the basics, challenge yourself with some calf raise variations from the American Council on Exercise, which includes a 1-leg calf raise. This “workout” tones both the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles in your calves, while increasing balance and stabilizing ankle flexion.
Do squats while brushing your teeth
Brushing your teeth is a mindless task, which make sit perfect for adding in some extra movement. To get moving, do squat repetitions in the bathroom—or wander out into your living room if you need more space. The squat movement is “one of the most functional movements that humans perform,” notes the Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute, because it activates a range of muscles from the core and glutes to the hamstrings and quadriceps. Perfect for a good stretch before sitting at a desk all day.
Do lunges in the hallway of your office
Sitting in a sedentary posture for hours can be detrimental. So when you head to the breakroom, the copy machine or a co-worker’s office, move your body a little extra with lunges down the hallway. This combines functional and resistance exercise because the lunge “mimics our walking pattern” to engage “the muscles of the lower extremities,” suggests Sebrena Merrill, an ACE Master Trainer.
Do jumping jacks in the parking lot
Give your stiff limbs some much-needed movement before heading home with jumping jacks in the parking lot. This cardio exercise will energize you for the rush hour commute by warming the muscles with increased blood flow and oxygen. In addition, the moderate intensity of jumping jacks is an ideal starting point to familiarize your body with more difficult plyometric variations, like squat jumps and burpees.
Do push-ups during a Netflix session
In between resting on the sofa and sitting on the edge of your seat screaming at the TV, squeeze in some time for movement with push-ups. This exercise can be done in your own living room, all while “build[ing] optimal upper-body strength in the chest, shoulders and arms,” according to Stephanie Thielen, ACE Group Fitness Instructor. Not to mention, it also targets the abdominals and lower back for core stability.
Start moving—30 seconds at a time
You may have noticed that all of these exercises are considered “bodyweight” exercises. In other words, they require no added resistance besides your own body. That’s what makes these workouts so quick, simple and convenient—all the features of a “workout routine” with staying power.
The next time you feel tempted to reach for the nearest excuse, remind yourself that even in the busiest moments, you have 30 seconds to spare. Your mind, body and overall health will appreciate the extra investment.