8 Creative Ways You Can Squeeze in Exercise

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/8/2012 10:00 AM   :  18 comments   :  19,486 Views

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Do you find it hard to sneak away from your desk, your family, or your other obligations to squeeze in a workout? I certainly do, especially when it comes to strength training.

But then I was sidelined by back pain yet again, along with a couple of other minor ailments. I knew I had to get serious about strength training in addition to my yoga, running, and other workouts. (Coach Nicole also reminded me that women lose about a pound of muscle every year. Yikes! I'm 31, so that matters to me. I want to be strong and healthy for as long as possible.)

I decided to practice what we preach here at SparkPeople: I squeeze in those strength workouts, even on my busiest days. A few times a day, I step away from my desk for one-minute strength intervals. A wall sit here, a plank there, or some lunges or squats. It adds up! I also schedule two 15- or 20-minute workouts weekly, and stick with them. In just a couple of months, I've noticed a difference in my muscles and, more importantly, my back pain.

That's what works for me, but I'm not the only one who makes time for exercise on a busy schedule. Here's what other SparkPeople members are doing:  
  1. 10+ Minutes During Lunch: I use the Spark People video library to get in exercise during the lunch hour. 10 minutes to 14 minutes videos are easy to sneak in and I feel great! 4EVER21B
     
  2. Walking Breaks at Work: I enjoy taking walking breaks while I'm at work. Now that I have the FitBit, I've been making an extra effort to get out while I can! TIMLINLUVER
     
  3. Keep shoes, socks, and headphones at the office: I had so much trouble getting myself to work out because I couldn't find time. Now I eat my lunch for about 30 min and then walk the other 30 min. I keep spare shoes, socks and headphones in the office so I can't forget them! J6SMITH3
     
  4. Squats and lunges: When my dog stops to sniff something I do squats. Sometimes I get up to 15, but mostly just 4. BUT, I live in the country and no one is usually around to see this.. it works well for me. THOMASINA57
     
  5. Take the Stairs and Walkways During the Work Day: I walk approximately 2 or more miles per day down long hallways at school. On Tuesday and Thursday, I add the stairs to my program. That way, I get additional exercise in before even going to the gym. PROFBOB
     
  6. Desk Workout: I am very fortunate to work at home, so when I am not on the phone I can sneak in a few squats, standing push ups or just walking in place. It helps to wake me up too! IREN0169
     
  7. Fitting in Cardio Minutes on a Workday: I work on a medical campus consisting of 3 buildings, 2 of which have stairs. To get those extra minutes in, I often walk to the main building, walk up then down the stairs, to the next building and walk up and down the stairs and then back to my office during my lunch break. THEWALKINGQUEEN
     
  8. I Made My Vacuuming Into A Mini Workout... It's fifteen minutes before I have to pick my husband up, one of the grandkids is scurrying about and the house still needs vacuuming. I stand on my tip toes and suck in my stomach and start moving the vacuum. Wow I had a workout for sure. Calf raises, crunches and moving the furniture for my arms. All this from vacuuming. There are so many mini workouts we can do throughout the day without people even recognizing it. Sometimes family just wants our attention and the chores are overwhelming. LOVINGWIFE120
 
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Comments

  • 18
    Great article and many great ideas! It is easy to squeeze some fitness anytime, anywhere, definitely something I should learn to do. - 8/3/2014   7:48:21 AM
  • 17
    At work I'm at a desk all day, but I do like stretching, side-bends, and leg lifts at the desk and during my many trips to the restroom from drinking tons of water, I do some squats, wall pushups, or something. At lunch I try to walk as much as possible, park further away, etc. Little bits do really add up quickly. - 3/25/2014   12:25:54 PM
  • 16
    I also work at home similar to a contributor to the blog, and always try to sneak in a quick workout during breaks, even if it is just a quick walk around my block. I try to get up and do some kind of movement every hour for at least 5 minutes, especially stretching several times a day to work out kinks in the back, shoulders, legs, wrists, and hands. Actually my wrists and hands get a stretch several times an hour since I type. - 11/11/2012   6:31:05 PM
  • 15
    I lean on the back of the chair in the common area and do back leg lifts, squats, leg stretches, and old school arm spins and side tilts. The stretching helps me to stay awake and alleviate stiffness from writing reports. - 11/11/2012   5:57:48 AM
  • MARTI808
    14
    I keep 5lb weights at my desk. When I take a moment I sit upright in my chair and raise my arms straight above my shoulders with weights in hand. Then I bend them at the elbows backwards 90 degrees to do arm bends for my triceps. It also works the upper back shoulder area that gets crunched forward all day when working on the computer. No weights? You can do this without and still feel some progress. Just do more or longer reps and make sure your arms are perpendicular to the floor - 11/10/2012   2:33:59 PM
  • 13
    I started this today...zig zag walking. You get more steps in walking zig zag down sidewalks or parking lots and streets...but watch for cars! Lol. - 11/10/2012   2:12:46 AM
  • 12
    I can't really exercise at work...I'm a caregiver. Some of my patients are bedridden. When I do walk with them, it's probably not at the pace that would amount to much. Plus, I have a lot of hip/back pain. The docs are trying to pinpoint what the cause is. I have a pool pass, I just haven't activated it yet. Once I get that going, I will be feeling a whole lot better. - 11/9/2012   10:29:30 PM
  • 11
    Squats for emptying and reloading the dishwasher - plus more squats with the laundry basket! - 11/9/2012   4:09:42 PM
  • 10
    This is a little one, but I walk the stairs to the top (4th) floor at work and use the bathroom up there instead of the one on my floor. I end up making that trip at least 6 times a day (because I'm a huge water drinker). - 11/9/2012   9:35:32 AM
  • 9
    I park farther out and take extra laps pushing my full cart around the grocery or super stores. I also am working in time on my new elliptical while watching TV - 11/9/2012   3:40:37 AM
  • 8
    Keep going. - 11/9/2012   12:22:18 AM
  • 7
    I Do SparkPeople Videos For My Strength Training And The Time Is Always There for Them. I Especially Really Like The Band Workouts. That All Over Seated Band Workout Is My VERY Favorite. I Love The Way My Body Feels After Workouts. I Recomend Spark Videos For Variety To Your Workout Plan.Thanks For Sharing!!! - 11/8/2012   5:54:15 PM
  • 6
    I begin every day with stretches, three kinds of crunches or leg lifts while still in bed, knee extensions before I get out of bed, then lunges or squats, calf raises, and wall pushups in the shower, some balance work while I dry off, then stretches while I put on lotion. Voila, my strength training is done!

    I've also been known to do squats and calf raises while waiting in line, washing dishes, etc. - 11/8/2012   4:35:03 PM
  • 5
    When I fill up a pitcher of water at the sink or fridge I do squats and leg lift sets. I park farther from stores to get extra walking, take the stairs whenever possible, and dance and run with the kids I watch at work. - 11/8/2012   3:40:58 PM
  • JULIA1154
    4
    I fit in quick walks dung the work day as well as wall sits, wall push ups and Spark's 10-15 minute fitness videos. I also jog in place or do stretches while heating tea in the microwave.
    - 11/8/2012   3:27:20 PM
  • 3
    I have been walking the long mall I walk in every lunch break. - 11/8/2012   3:13:38 PM
  • 2
    I walk to town to pay bills. I also walk to the store for a few things. all that cardio adds up. - 11/8/2012   2:47:48 PM
  • 1
    I park far away from off and any other store and walk. I also do strength training during commercials when watching TV. - 11/8/2012   10:31:19 AM

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