Fittin in fitness: are you bored with exercise? Allergic to the gym? Then have we got a workout plan for you

Let me get this straight: Is the reason you’re not exercising that you (a) don’t have time, (b) can’t afford a health club membership, or (c) lack the motivation to work out?

Enough with the excuses!

Lazy Kid’s Guide to Exercise

There are countless ways to fit fitness into your busy lifestyle. If you can’t devote a solid 30 minutes a day to exercise, you can still stay in shape by exercising in spurts. “There’s really good research to show that you can gain almost all the health benefits you need with broken-up bouts of exercise,” said Richard Cotton, a physiologist and former spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. “And it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be a sports star to enjoy physical activity and reap the benefits.”

You don’t even need to set foot in a gym. Instead, you can grab a jump rope for a low-cost, high-impact workout. Or you can improvise weights by filling a tube sock with canned goods and using that for your strength training. If you’re after a good cardiovascular workout, try walking or jogging near your home or school.

Don’t let a problem with discipline get in the way of a workout. You don’t need to go to boot camp to get in shape. You just need to keep in mind a few simple exercises and do them while you go about your daily activities. Believe it or not, you can work out without really thinking about it. Ready to get started?

Morning Stretch

Rise and shine! It’s time to stop yawning and get started with the day. Who has time to exercise in the morning? You do.

As you get ready, you can also get physical. While brushing your teeth, try marching in place. If you brush the way your dentist tells you to (one minute of brushing for each side of the mouth), you’ll get in two minutes of exercise before you leave the house.

Another great morning routine is to stretch your muscles while you take a shower. The warm water will act as your personal massage therapist, helping to loosen your muscles.

Shoot Some Hoops

Are you wasting your lunch break? Now is a great time to get active after a long morning spent hunched over a desk. Instead of sitting down to catch up with friends, why not have your friends take a walk with you while you chat?

Find out whether your school offers an open-gym option during your lunch hour. You don’t have to work up a sweat, but shooting a few hoops after you’ve finished your meal will rev up your metabolism. Besides, you have about 20 minutes before your next class, so put them to use for you. “If you’re going to spend the time, why not spend it in an activity that involves physical movement?” asked Cotton.

Try a ‘Chair Run’

What’s the first thing you do when you get home from school? Fix a snack? After you put your munchies in the microwave, do squats until your food warms up.

After that, it’s probably homework time. Do double duty–get in exercise while you study. If you’re seated at a computer, go for a “chair run”. Pick up your knees and simulate a running motion. Take time to restwhen you need to, but then start up again. The exercise is an easy one, and it won’t distract you from studying.

If you prefer to read while lying down, lie on your stomach and alternately curl up each leg for a simple hamstring strengthener. Between chapters in your social studies book, do a few push-ups.

Use Your TV Time

Evening downtime doesn’t have to be sitting-down time. When you talk on the phone, don’t sit; stand and stroll instead. When you walk past a stairway, take a trip up and down.

If you’re watching TV, use the commercials to your advantage. See how many crunches you can do over the course of a single ad. Work your way up to a workout that lasts for the entire commercial break.

For another TV-friendly exercise, find an empty wall space and do a “wall-sit” for as long as you can. Stand with your back flat against the wall and with your feet about 2 feet away from the wall. Slide down so that your thighs are parallel to the ground, and hold that position, as if you were sitting in a chair.

If those suggestions sound like too much work, trick yourself into exercising by keeping the remote control on top of the TV. That way, whenever you want to change the channel, you’ll have to get up and walk across the room. Soon enough, you’ll be channel surfing and getting fit with the best of them.

Now, really, how hard was that?

RELATED ARTICLE: No-work workouts.

Looking for more ways to squeeze a workout into your routine? Try these suggestions.

There’s no escaping household chores!

  • You’re obligated to clean your room, vacuum, do yard work, and so on, so you might as well get into the activity. Roll up your sleeves and use a little elbow grease. Even a nondemanding chore like gardening can build strength and burn up as many as 300 calories an hour.

Turn family time into activity time.

  • Have a heart-to-heart with Dad during an after-dinner stroll. Bond with your kid brother over kickball.

Make inconvenience your friend.

  • Get off the school bus a few blocks before your stop, and walk the rest of the way. Leave the phone in the next room so you’ll be forced to get off the couch when it rings. Why use the elevator when you can take the stairs instead?

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