When life is a continuous cycle of work, studying, grocery shopping, taking the kids to football practice or other household chores, it can be difficult to find time for ourselves and for our exercise routine. As a result, we end up feeling impatient and lazy. How do we suggest you tackle this? One word: multitasking. Here are some situations where most people see a daily chore, but actually they present hidden opportunities to get more active:
Look forward to taking the stairs
It starts with your mindset: Try to see “annoying” things as chances and challenges. For example, rather than “having to” take the stairs every day, think of it more as an advantage than an inconvenience. A flight of stairs can easily be changed into a mini workout – it all counts.
Sprint up them one day, focus on squeezing your glutes the whole way up the next, play a coordination game by split-lunging each step or simply miss out every second step and lunge your way to the top. You can even hop up on one leg or, if you really want to work those glutes, squat jump each step. Just remember to always focus on technique and posture without putting too much stress on your joints. Take our word for it: do this regularly and you will feel the same burn and see the same results that come after an effective training session. No more escalators!
Extreme grocery shopping
Does food shopping usually steal your Saturday morning workout session from you? Then we’ve got some good news: you can steal it back without having to go hungry for the week. All you need to do is leave the car at home. Get in your workout clothes and go for a run to make it to the supermarket. Simply take two bags with you and balance the weight of the items you purchase in two bags for your walk back. You can also add the following exercises to get more out of your workout on the trip back:
- Do a few sets of shoulder shrugs: Simply extend both your arms keeping them close to your body. Then, holding a shopping bag in each hand, elevate your shoulders as high as you can while keeping your arms straight and extended the whole time. Hold it for a few seconds, release and repeat.
- Use your bags for a set of bicep curls before you unpack them. All you need to do is hold each bag (best to use reusable rather than plastic bags for this in case they break) with your palms facing upwards, keep your elbows close to your torso and try to keep your upper arms as still as possible as you lift the bags towards your shoulders by curling your biceps.
And there you have it – the time you need to transport your groceries home has turned into another mini workout.
Kitchen or training ground?
Some people love spending time in the kitchen, others hate it. Either way, we’ve all got to eat, so it doesn’t hurt finding ways to make your time in the kitchen – regardless of how big or small it is – more effective. Here’s how:
Why waste your time waiting for your eggs to boil when you could be doing some elevated split lunges? All you need is a kitchen stool, ideally the max. height of your knees. Standing in front of the stool, stretch your left foot back so it sits on top of the stool and keep your right foot on the floor in front. Your upper body should be upright and your shoulders back. Now, bend your right knee to a 90° angle until your left knee touches the floor – just like you would do a normal lunge. Go back to the starting position by extending your right knee again. Do a few reps before you switch sides.
The same chair can be used also for training your triceps. Place hands on both front corners of the seat, straighten your legs and bend your elbows to lower yourself down. Then get back to your starting position by raising yourself back up. Dips are perfect to define your arms while waiting for your lunch to be ready.
Meanwhile, you can also train the biceps, your shoulders and the upper back by using the chair for some incline push-ups. Place your hands on the seat and extend your legs. Lower your chest to the chair, then raise yourself back up with a straight back.
A sporty way to wash the dishes
Hate doing the dishes? Then let’s make it a bit more interesting by turning this annoying must-do into an effective calf-training session. Simply do some calf raises while cleaning up. You can either do many repetitions in sets or hold the calf raise for a few seconds before lowering down to your heels again. No need for any other equipment, just you, your calves and well…the sink.
Training your glutes while doing the laundry
Another workout opportunity: doing the laundry! The laundry basket is the perfect tool for training the glutes. You’re wondering why? Squat as you pick up the basket and set it down on a table or sofa near a wall. Lean with your back against the wall and put your legs in a 90 degrees angle. Flex your abs, bend your knees and squat with the laundry basket, while folding your clothes.
Get a six pack while watching Netflix
It’s easier than you may think to make your time in front of the TV into time for exercise. Just take a heavy book and bring your core to the next level while watching your favorite series. Go for crunches with some extra weight by holding a heavy hardcover book over your head during the movement.
It’s not always easy to find “spare” time. But with the right mindset and a few changes to your daily routine, it’s easy to stay active. Just remember, these life hacks shouldn’t replace your weekly workouts – try to set these in stone.