Staying fit takes commitment. It also takes time, which is a precious item many of us have less of these days. With offices and schools moving into the home and our to-do lists growing day by day, getting in that 20 minutes of exercise may seem difficult, if not impossible.
Instead of giving up your exercise routine, consider ways to sneak some fitness into your daily schedule. Try these five tips:
- Ditch the shopping cart.
Build strength while grocery shopping. Instead of pushing a cart, use baskets. Carry one in each hand and load them up until they’re full. “When you get to a point that they’re too heavy to carry, it’s usually a good time to stop shopping,” says Jonathan Davalos, health and fitness lead at Atlantic Health System’s Chambers Center for Well-Being. This simple routine will help you maintain strength. Bonus points if you fill those baskets with fresh foods.
- Create a ‘moving meeting.’
Remote work doesn’t mean you must stay seated at your desk for eight straight hours. Take advantage of your work-from-home status. “You can do lower-body stretches or upper body mobility exercises while watching a webinar or listening to a presentation,” Davalos says. Another option: Walking with headphones or earbuds during a conference call.
- Learn from others.
A quick Google search will bring up dozens of ideas from people who have perfected the art of building fitness into their day. Some of our favorites include backpack workouts (fill a backpack with books, cans or other heavy items and use it to perform strength training exercises), at-home mobility flows that improve your flexibility, and no-equipment workouts using just your body weight. “These can be done in as little as 5 minutes or as long as 15 minutes,” Davalos says.
- Step it up.
Walking up and down the stairs inside your home can create a great workout. The same is true when you’re outside the home. “I make it a point to never use an elevator,” Davalos says.
- Take a hike.
Trade in your at-home lunch break for a quick hike. Getting out in nature is always a healthy choice, even in winter (so long as you dress for the weather). The Japanese call it shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” which means using the sights and sounds of nature to rejuvenate us. Try local trails like Jockey Hollow at Morristown National Historical Park, Loantaka Brook Reservation Trail in Morristown, or the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Mendham. “It’s expected to be a mild winter,” Davalos says, “and hiking in winter means fewer people on the trails, which makes it easier to practice social distancing.”