Don’t let a hectic schedule sideline your workout plans. Exercise, even in small doses, does a body good. Mix and match the following exercises to add up to 30 minutes of active time—you’re less likely to get bored or frustrated when you have plenty of exercise options to choose from.
1. Find 5 minutes for yoga.
Warrior Two (shown here): Start standing with your feet together, then step one leg back into a lunge. Bend your front leg while keeping your back leg straight. Press your back heel down and turn your back foot to a 45-degree angle. Face sideways and, while keeping your abs tight, lift your torso up, extend each arm to shoulder height and look out over your front hand. Keep your palms open.
Chair Pose: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your arms overhead, palms facing each other. Exhale and sit back, as if into a chair. Keep your weight over your ankles as your chest moves forward.
Warrior One: Start standing with your feet together, then step one leg back into a lunge. Bend your front leg while keeping your back leg straight. Press your back heel down. Face forward and lift your torso up as you stretch your arms above your head.
2. Do a 15-minute walking, strength and stretching routine.
- Walk or climb stairs for 7-10 minutes.
- Chair-sit by standing up and sitting back down into your chair (use your armrest to help you stand up and sit down if you need it). Perform 12-15 repetitions.
- Stretch by holding onto a table or desktop for support and bend at the hips, pushing your buttocks back toward the wall behind you. Hold for 10 seconds.
3. Walk when you can.
Walking is the gold standard of fitness because it’s safe, it uses more than 200 muscles and you can do it almost anywhere. Set aside 30 minutes to walk each day, starting with a 3-5 minute warm-up, then increasing your speed to a brisk pace. If you haven’t been active lately, start by walking 10-15 minutes and add 2-3 minutes onto the session each week. End each session with a 3-5 minute cool-down of slow walking.
4. Stretch on the go.
Shoulder Reach (shown here): Increase your shoulder flexibility by reaching one hand behind your head to the center of your upper back. With the other hand, reach behind and try to touch your opposite fingers. Hold for five seconds and switch. Tip: If you have difficulty touching your fingertips together, hold a sock or a rolled newspaper in your top hand and grab one end of it with your lower hand.
Chair Twist: Stretch your lower back by turning your torso while sitting in a chair. Grab one side of the chair with both hands. Take a deep breath as you look over your shoulder. Twist as far as you comfortably can, then repeat on the other side.
5. Exercise anywhere in the house.
Standing Push-up (shown here): This push-up is designed to strengthen the chest and triceps. Stand a little more than arm’s length from a kitchen counter or sturdy surface and place your hands on the edge of the countertop, shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows and lower your torso, then extend your arms by pushing up and away from the countertop. Keep your body straight from head to heels. Perform two sets of 10 repetitions.
Heel Raises: While brushing your teeth, stand on one leg and raise your heel off the floor; hold for 10 seconds. Do 10 repetitions and repeat on the other leg.
Instead of walking casually up the stairs, try increasing your speed and the number of stairs you can walk in 1 minute. Take two steps at once if you can do it safely.
7. Try these anytime, anywhere strength-builders.
Plié Squats (shown here): Try plié squats when talking on the phone, watching TV, working or making dinner. Stand with your feet in a V—heels together and toes apart. Tuck your hips in and lower your body down until your knees are just in front of your toes. Squeeze your inner thighs as you rise up. Do 20 repetitions.
Walk and Talk: You can have a walking meeting with a colleague on the phone or in person—you’ll burn far more calories while you walk, and you can catch up on work at the same time.
Continue onto exercises 8 through 14 on the next page!