14 Ways to Get More Exercise in Your Day, Part 2

Being short on time doesn’t mean you can’t fit in fitness. Use these smart, speedy strategies to squeeze in some cardio, strength, balance and flexibility training on even your busiest of days. 

8. Get out your jump rope for a 10-minute workout.

jump ropeJumping rope is an excellent cardio workout that burns calories quickly. It can also promote balance and coordination.

  • Minute 1: Jump in place to warm up (no rope).
  • Minutes 2-4: Jump with a slight bounce between each rope jump.
  • Minutes 5-7: Alternate feet (as if you were running in place).
  • Minutes 7-8: Slalom jump (keeping feet together, jump a few inches to the right and then to the left as if jumping moguls).
  • Minutes 9-10: Jump in place to cool down (no rope).

9. Do 10 minutes of strength exercises with cardio bursts.

strength exercisesThis cardio sculpting routine will help increase your overall strength and balance.

  • 2 minutes: Step up onto a stair or sturdy platform, and then step back to the floor. Repeat.
  • 2 minutes: Stand with your back against the wall. Slide slowly down the wall until your knees are bent and thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold 30 seconds, then stand up and repeat.
  • 2 minutes: Step up onto a stair or sturdy platform, and then step back to the floor. Repeat.
  • 2 minutes: Get down on all fours. Place your hands shoulder-width apart, back straight and knees on the floor. Lower your chest to the ground, push up and repeat.
  • 2 minutes: Step up onto a stair or sturdy platform, and then step back to the floor. Repeat.

10. Increase your flexibility.

hamstring stretchYou don’t need any special equipment to do these easy stretches. They’re both designed to increase flexibility, and you can control how much of a stretch you get with each move.

Sit and Reach (shown here): Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Instead of hunching your back and bending forward from the waist, lengthen your spine and bend forward from the hips. With a straight back, lean forward as far as you can without rounding your back. Hold 10 seconds and repeat three times.

Cat and Cow: Get on all fours. With your hands under your shoulders, fingers spread and knees under your hips, round your back up to the ceiling, drawing your navel in (cat). Then arch your back, open your throat and lift your chin as high as you can without stressing your neck (cow). Inhale during cat and exhale during cow. Repeat five times.

11. Tone with simple Pilates moves.

simple pilatesThe following standing Pilates moves can be done quickly and efficiently at home, in a gym or while you travel.

Knee Lift (shown here): With hips level, bring your right leg up and balance. Hold 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Roll Down: Bring your chin to your chest, then slowly bend down toward your toes, rolling one vertebra at a time. Slightly bend your knees and slowly roll back up. Repeat four times.

Footwork: With your feet parallel, rise up on the balls of your feet. Stretch your heels down to the floor and up again. Repeat several times.

12. Get in the water.

Make time in your schedule to head to a pool—once you’re there, it’s easy to get some low-impact exercise. Being submerged in water naturally lifts the body up, taking stress off the joints and allowing you to move freely while making the most of the water’s natural resistance. Get in and walk, jog, lift your knees, do jumping jacks or cross-country ski. If you don’t know how to swim, talk to a lifeguard—most pools have flotation devices that you can use to keep you steady as you move around the pool.

13. Stretch while you’re sitting.

sitting stretchesThese three Pilates-inspired seated stretches can be done discreetly at your desk or while you’re watching TV to help you build flexibility.

Seated Swan (shown here): Press your hands into your thighs and lift your head to lengthen and arch your upper back. Repeat several times.

Shoulder Shrug and Roll: Lift both shoulders toward your ears; roll your shoulders back and down. Reverse. Repeat three to five times.

Figure-Four Stretch: Seated with your right ankle on your left knee, hinge forward at your hips with your back flat. Switch sides.

14. Tone your tummy while checking email.

ball sitsSitting on an exercise ball instead of a regular chair while you’re at your desk or using your laptop at home can give you a core workout without leaving your abs sore. When on the ball, your body constantly makes small adjustments to your posture and works your back, abdominal, glute and leg muscles.

Check out tips 1 through 7 on the previous page!