7 Simple Anywhere Workouts For the “I’m Too Busy” Crowd

7 Anywhere Workouts for Busy People

Everyone gets busy, but not everyone works out… now, you’ll see it’s time to ditch the excuses and saddle up with these anywhere workouts for busy people.

Why You Must Find Time to Fit in Fitness

In 2008, The Department of Health and Human Services issued a directive on how much exercise the population needs to maintain a normal level of health and fitness. This directive, called “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans,” sets forth what could be deemed as “good practices” to follow for various age groups: children, adults, older adults, pregnant women, and people with chronic health issues. According to the guide, normal, healthy adults should:

  • Get a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity a week
  • Exercises should include components of balance training, strength training, and cardiovascular exercise
  • Resistance training should be performed at least twice a week
  • Cardiovascular exercise should include a variety of tempos such as moderate-paced workouts as well as high-intensity aerobic work

Tips to Help Busy People Get in a Workout

Clearly, exercise takes time. It’s not always easy to find time to work out, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are some easy tips you can incorporate into your lifestyle to make time for fitness just like the busiest people in the world do.

  1. Schedule it—by having an “appointment” to work out, you aren’t left trying to figure out how and when to exercise, and you won’t be as tempted to skip a workout that you tried to squeeze in at the end of the day. Making exercise a priority and scheduling it like you would any other important appointment, can help you get into the routine of exercising on a regular basis. To increase the likelihood of sticking to your plan, include the what, when, and where. For example, I will work out with weights (the what) at 6:00 am Tuesday (the when) in my home gym (the where), or I will walk my dog (what) from 5:30 to 6:00 pm today (when) at the nature trail near my home (where).
  2. Walk more—simply becoming more active can go a long way when it comes to improving your health. Parking further away, taking the stairs whenever possible, and making your workday very inefficient (i.e., getting up to get items off the printer in repeated multiple trips versus in one big trip) can go a long way toward helping you burn extra calories and get in shape.
  3. Use an app—the apps that are available are many, and they can help you track your progress. As you’ve probably heard, “what gets measured improves.”
  4. Make it fun—use a friendly competition to feel more engaged with your workouts and your exercise routine or get in activities with friends. Walking together at lunch or parking as far as possible from the building and walking in together can give you a little extra bonding time and burn excess calories while you’re at it.

Try These 7 Easy Anywhere Workouts

Even busy professionals can spare a few minutes here and there to get in some much-needed exercise. Not sure where to start? Try some of these anytime, anywhere workouts to ensure you get in the activity your body craves for optimal health and fitness.

1. Plank

This is a staple across many workout regimens and is simple to perform (although you may not find it to be all that “easy”!). Begin on your hands and knees on the floor or on a mat. Lower your body down onto your forearms, so your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle and your palms are flat on the floor. Stretch your legs out straight behind you and you are balanced on your toes. Hold this position as long as you can (ideally, start with 30 seconds and work your way up to a minute at a time). When you’re tired, bend your legs and lower your knees to the ground to rest. Repeat three times.

2. Pushups

The mainstay of anywhere workouts! Pushups will work most of your upper body, and you’ll find your arms looking more toned over time as well. Begin in a “plank” position on your toes and with your legs, hips, and back in a straight line. Your arms should be shoulder-width apart, palms down. Next, keeping your body straight, bend your elbows (keeping them close to your sides as they bend) and lower your body toward the ground. When your chest is close to the ground, push back up with your arms until they are straight again, and pause. This is one pushup. Aim for ten, if you can.

If you struggle to do a regular pushup, try beginning with your knees on the ground until you can build enough strength to do a regular pushup. And if this is still too difficult (or if it’s just too hard on your wrists or shoulders), start by doing this same movement with your feet on the floor but your hands against a wall, on the stairs, or on a stable piece of equipment at the gym with your body angled. The more upright your body, the easier the exercise. The closer your angle gets to a regular pushup, the more difficult it becomes.

3. Dips

Using the edge of a stable chair, sit with your hands wrapped around the edge of the chair next to your hips. Scoot forward until your hips drop off the edge of the seat and gently lower your body down toward the ground until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Pause and push your body back up to the starting position. The closer your legs are to the chair, the easier the exercise. So, as your strength increases, begin to straighten your legs to make the exercise more challenging.

4. Body Squats

You don’t need a gym to do these, and they are a fantastic way to shape your lower body. Begin by standing with your feet about hip-width apart. You can put your arms out straight in front of you for balance. Bend at the knees and push your hips backward as you squat down toward the floor. Pause when your thighs are parallel to the ground, and then push up through your heels to return to the starting position.

5. Wall Sit

Chances are good that you’re going to be near a wall at some point during the course of your day. Why not take full advantage of that and throw a couple of wall squats into the mix? Stand with your back against a wall and your feet about a foot or so in front of you (so your knees are directly over your ankles when your legs are bent at 90 degrees). You can place your hands on your hips or your thighs or knees, whichever is more comfortable, and slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this “seated” position for 30 – 60 seconds if you are able, and then slide back up the wall to standing.

6. Jumping Jacks

No equipment is needed for these! Begin by standing with your arms loosely by your sides and your feet together. Next, jump up and spread your feet out, so they land about a foot apart while at the same time bringing your arms straight out to the sides and up. Your second jump will bring your feet back together and your arms back down by your sides. This is one complete jumping jack. Aim for 15 – 25 in a row to complete one set.

If this is too much pounding for your knees, you can simply shoot one leg out to the side keeping one foot on the floor and bring it back to the start and then shoot the other leg out. (Doing half the movement at a time.) By moving quickly, you’ll still be able to get your heart rate up with less strain on the ankles and knees.

7. Supermans

While this may not be suitable for the work place, you can perform these in the privacy of your own home. These are a great way to strengthen your back and your rear shoulder muscles. Start by lying on your stomach on a cushioned surface with your arms stretched out above your head. Next, you’ll raise your chest, arms, and legs up off the ground by flexing your back muscles. (You’ll look like you’re flying through the air at this point, thus, the moniker). Hold this position for a few seconds, and then lower your chest and limbs back to the ground. This is one repetition. Aim for at least ten reps.

You don’t always need a gym or a lot of time to get in better shape, especially if you’ve been fairly sedentary. Take advantage of a few minutes here and there throughout the day with these fun to do just about anywhere workouts!

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References

  • Tucker JM, Welk GJ, Beyler NK. Physical activity in US adults: compliance with the physical activity guidelines for Americans. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2011 Apr 1;40(4):454-61.
  • Carlson SA, Fulton JE, Schoenborn CA, Loustalot F. Trend and prevalence estimates based on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2010 Oct 1;39(4):305-13.