Exercise & Health

No-Sweat Exercise

Does the thought of scheduling gym time make you anxious? Don’t have time for lengthy workouts? Try these 10 easy ways to fit fitness into your day.

Two adults with ADHD exercise together to achieve their weight loss goals.
Two adults with ADHD exercise together to achieve their weight loss goals.

You begin the new year promising yourself to hit the gym three times a week. You wind up exercising twice a month. You’re busy, behind, disorganized, and, hey, you have to keep up with Facebook, don’t you? You can barely remember to have lunch with old friends, never mind planning visits to the gym to wrestle with the treadmill.

Simplifying and streamlining your exercise will help you get fit on your schedule. Instead of making elaborate plans to exercise at a gym — pack sneakers and clothes, shampoo, and a post-workout snack, get in the car, and so on — and beating yourself up for not going, find ways to sneak physical activity into your fit-and-start life.

10 Quick and Easy Exercises:

Home gym. Keep a set of dumbbells in a kitchen cabinet or food pantry, and do a few bicep curls and shoulder presses while dinner is cooking. Use a stability ball as a desk chair to work your abs while you’re paying bills. Keep a yoga mat under your bed, and pull it out for some downward dogs in the morning or before going to bed at night.

Date nights in sneakers. If your date nights typically involve a dinner and a movie, ask your partner to join you on a long walk, or go bowling or dancing.

Get a dog. A Canadian study showed that dog owners spend about 300 minutes or five hours a week doing Fido-related physical activities. By taking pooch out to do his business, playing tug of war, and going to the dog park, you will burn lots of calories.

[Read: Sweat Equity]

Stay Active With Everyday Activities

Legwork. Take the stairs, not the escalator, or park far away from the mall entrance and hoof it to the stores. Add a block or two to your route home from the train station or bus stop on your evening commute. Instead of asking someone to go upstairs to get your sweater or a pair of shoes, do it yourself.

No outsourcing. Shovel your driveway, mow your lawn, wash your car. You’ll save money, too.

Step aerobics. Wear a pedometer to chart every step you take — fancier models track calories burned, distance walked, and more. This will motivate you to do more as you see your efforts tally up. Experts recommend aiming for 10,000 steps a day. To get started, log on to Pedometers USA.

Short and sweet. Exercise physiologists have long known that doing short, intense sprints delivers the same benefits as a longer run at a slower pace. Two good heart-thumping routines: Jump rope for three minutes in the backyard or basement, or create a circuit of sprints right outside of your front door by running the distance between two phone poles at full speed, walking between the next two to rest, running again…and so on.

[Read: Beyond Genes: Leveraging Sleep, Exercise, and Nutrition to Improve ADHD]

Make Exercising Effective and Fun

As seen on TV. If there are shows you never miss, schedule your exercise sessions into those time slots — whether at the gym or at home. Your stint on the treadmill will fly.

Virtual workouts. Be honest: You’ll probably surf the Web or shop online anyway. During all those computer searches, download Break Pal, software that pops up on your monitor every 30 minutes with a three-minute routine.

Hey, Coach. Volunteer to manage your child’s Little League, lacrosse, or soccer team. Community sports teams are always looking for people to help out. Running around a soccer field or teaching kids to hone their stroke at home plate is more rewarding — and interesting — than logging miles on an elliptical.

[Read This Next: The ADHD Exercise Solution]