While it’s recommended to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to better your overall wellbeing, some days you simply don’t have the time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t sneak it in—one study even suggests that accumulated short bursts of exercise, for at least 5 minutes at a time, can still be beneficial when it comes to reducing your chance of death.
For the times that you can’t hit the gym, try these tips to stay active all day long.
- While cooking breakfast: Start the day off with some stretches, arm circles and jumping jacks. Getting your heart rate going can help get the day going, too.
- As you brush your teeth: Do wall-sits as you scrub those pearly whites to help strengthen your glutes and leg muscles. Keep your back straight and bend at the knees to protect your back.
- During your work day: Swap your desk chair out for a stability ball, which can help strengthen your core and relieve back pain. Stand up every once and awhile and alternate between squats and leg lifts every 15 minutes. Be sure to take breaks to walk around frequently, too.
- As you grocery shop: Ditch the shopping cart. Wear tote bags on each arm or opt for carrying baskets and put items in as you cruise the aisles. The additional weight helps to burn calories and raise your heart rate.
- Around out the house: Housework, such as scrubbing floors, washing windows and cleaning out the garage, counts as moderate-intensity exercise. Or try this at-home routine: Squeeze and release your behind 10 times; tighten and release your stomach muscles 10 times; rise up and squeeze your calves 10 times; dropping your arms behind you, squeeze and release your triceps. Repeat each rep 3 times, and you’ve just completed a mini workout!
- As you commute home: If you drive, park further away so you get more steps in. If you walk or take public transit, walk at a brisker pace than normal to raise your heart rate.
- While you watch TV: Lie on your side and do 3 sets of 15 leg lifts, then 3 sets of 15 leg circles on each side (raise your leg and rotate it in a circular motion.) Bonus points if you do crunches during commercial breaks!
Sneaking in small spurts of exercise is better than no exercise at all. Still, it’s a good idea to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity most days of the week for greater health benefits.