Exercise hacks for very busy women

We all go through periods where life just seems so hectic and full-on that it’s difficult enough to find the time to sit and eat, let alone exercise.  If you find yourself saying ‘I’ve done no exercise for weeks’ or ‘I just can’t find the time to get to the gym, pool, class etc.’ then at least doing something will make you feel better.  Here are some of my tips for fitting exercise, stretches and relaxation into busy days. 

1.     Find exercises you can do whilst doing other things

You are probably already an expert at multi-tasking so why not use those skills to combine exercise with whatever else it is you have to do.  Whenever you find yourself standing still (cleaning your teeth) or waiting for something (kettle to boil) use that time to do some simple exercises that mobilise your joints and muscles.

Examples include:

·      pelvic floor lifts – where you imagine you are raising your pelvic floor from level 1 to level 5 and down again stopping at each level

·      heel raises where you stand with your feet hip distance apart and go up onto the balls of your feet and come down again slowly

·      small squats where you hinge at the hips and bend the knees and ankles

·      waist twists where you put your hands behind your head and rotate your head, shoulders and middle of the spine keeping your hips still and facing forward

2.     Combine exercise with computer work

If you can, why not raise your computer so that you can work standing up?  You can buy stands that go on your desk or use books or boxes.  Standing up uses many more muscles than sitting down because you are working against gravity.

Whilst standing you can do all of the exercises above.  To make your core work harder buy a wobble board or a stability wobble cushion and stand on that for periods of time.  There are also desk seats that have a rounded base that help you use your core when sitting.

3.     Combine exercise with chores

You can go for a stroll with the dog but why not power walk or jog at intervals.  Is there a way of making work you are doing around the house more aerobic, stretching, bending and working at speed?  It gets it all done more quickly as well!

4.     Start the day 20 minutes earlier

If you are already up at the crack of dawn ignore this one, but if you know you could get up a little earlier and use that time for an exercise regime why not give it a try.  Don’t do the same every day though because a) you will quickly get bored and b) your muscles just get used to the movements and you don’t gain the same value.  On rest days do some gentle stretches or mindful meditation.  On cardio days make sure you warm up and cool down. 30 second bursts of interval training exercises for 10 minutes will keep you burning fat for the rest of the day. 

5.     Walk when ever and where ever you can

It might mean a bit more planning but you will be surprised at how many steps you add to your day by walking and taking the stairs.

6.     Set up an exercise area in the house 

This doesn’t need to be a whole room, maybe just a space for an exercise mat, a couple of weights and a resistance band.  Knowing that is ‘your area’ makes it easier to go and do something there even if it’s just 10 minutes.

7.     Get a routine going

It doesn’t matter what it is but try and carve out a time slot where you know you are booked to exercise, for example on a Saturday morning do the park run, or join a local walking group or dance class.  Just one slot a week that you know you can protect and commit to.

8.     Before bed

 Whilst it’s not a good idea to exert yourself with exercise before you sleep, gentle stretches can help you unwind from the day and aid sleep.

Try

·      Dimming the lights and using candles or a diffuser

·      Make sure the room is warm

·      Lay down on an exercise mat or rug and take your time to let yourself sink into the floor, do a body check from feet to head.

·      Begin to roll your head from side to side

·      Do some shoulder shrugs or drops where you raise your arms, hands face each other and you lift one arm at a time towards the ceiling and then let the shoulder blade, which will have raised, sink back to the starting position

·      Do some hip rolls, laying on your back with your legs and feet together, knees bent and feet planted on the floor.  Let the legs roll to the right, come back to center and then to the left.

·      End the session with some deep breathing

 

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