Too Tired, Too Busy, or Too Bored to Work Out?
Whatever your excuse is for skipping exercise, one of these plans will get you moving.
I Have No Time
Feel like you don’t ever have time for a proper workout? Robert Kram, personal-training manager at the Reebok Sports Club in New York City offers these solutions.
- Take more brisk walking breaks during the workday.
- Do belly braces throughout the day. Draw in your navel as close to your spine as you can without holding your breath and hold until you can’t anymore. You can do this anytime and anyplace―while waiting in line, driving, or sitting in a meeting. This simple move will help strengthen your abs, improve your posture, and flatten your stomach.
Add a 10-minute strengthening routine in the morning. In the course of a few months, you should build up to 15 minutes, then 20. These exercises will help you feel and look more toned.
Strength-Training Routine 1
Strapped for time? Aim for 10 to 20 minutes every day, doing two complete sets, with 10 reps of each exercise.
- Arm circles: With arms out to the side, make dinner plate-size circles with your fists. Do 10 in each direction and repeat.
- Simple squats: Place your hands behind your head. With feet shoulder-width apart, lower yourself as if about to sit in a chair. Do two sets of 10 repetitions.
- Knee push-ups: Lie on your stomach, hands under your shoulders, knees bent, and feet together. Push up, then lie back down. Do two sets of 10 repetitions.
- Reverse crunches: Lie on your back, knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head and bring your knees toward your face while exhaling. Do two sets of 10 repetitions.
I Hate to Exercise
You can’t swallow a magic pill to make you love exercising―but you can find ways to incorporate it into your daily life. If you are not used to exercising, start slowly. Melanie Webb, personal trainer at Sports Club L.A. in Washington, D.C., offers these suggestions.
- Take two brisk 10-minute walks on your busiest days.
- Walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes once a week, twice a week if possible.
- Do a 15-minute resistance-training routine twice a week to strengthen the core muscles and help reduce back pain and improve posture (see The Strength-Training Routine, next slide).
- Make an exercise date with a friend or your spouse twice a month―hiking, playing tennis, bowling, or biking, complete with a backup plan in case of bad weather.
- Replace your office chair with a stability ball, which will require you to engage and strengthen your abdominal, gluteal, and lower-back muscles.
Strength-Training Routine 2
Aim for 15 minutes twice a week.
- Transverse-abs activation: Lie flat on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract your abdominals and visualize pulling your navel in toward your spine. Repeat up to 30 times.
- Pelvic bridges: Lie flat on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and abdominals engaged. Pushing down into the floor with your feet, lift your pelvis while contracting your glutes until your body forms a straight line, like a bridge. Repeat up to 30 times.
- Ball squats: Stand against a wall with a stability ball that fits comfortably between the small of your back and the wall. Position your feet hip-width apart and walk them out away from the wall, as if you’re sitting down. Keep constant pressure against the ball with your back. Lower your body until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Contract your glutes as you push through your heels and return to a standing position. Repeat 15 to 20 times.
- Ball push-ups: Lie down with your stomach on top of a medium-size stability ball and walk your hands out to a push-up position with your lower body supported by the ball. Gently bend at the elbows, lowering your upper body toward the floor. Keep your abdominals and glutes engaged. Push up against the floor to bring your body back to a neutral position. Repeat up to 15 times.
- Ball crunches: Lie on a stability ball large enough so your head doesn’t touch the ground, with the small of your back on the middle of the ball, feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest and, without moving your hips or legs, engage your abs to slowly lift your upper body off the ball. Repeat up to 15 times (or until fatigued).
- Hamstring stretches: At the end of the workout, lie on your back and lift one leg up toward the ceiling. Gently pull the leg toward you, with your arms behind your thigh until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstring. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat three times.