Last week, we talked about incorporating active rest into your fitness regimen. If you read it looking for an excuse to cut back on exercise, you were probably disappointed. Sorry/not sorry. There are plenty of excuses for not working out (not having the time, simply not wanting to, etc…), but that’s all they are–excuses. Whatever justifications you use, you know as you’re uttering them that you really do need to exercise. It’s understandable for work to get in the way of physical fitness and that you’re reluctant to give up off-work hours to do something you don’t want to do. Not to bust your bubble again, but this article wasn’t written as a hall pass for working out. Instead, it’s a guide to fitting exercise into your busy schedule in a doable way that will ensure it gets done but not at the expense of other, important areas of your life. And what is this awesome answer to the exercise-excuse-conundrum? Exercise breaks. Rather than hitting the break room for a cappuccino and a cruller during your twice-daily work breaks, use them to get fit. Between the morning and afternoon breaks, you’ll get 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day, and there will still be enough time to pour yourself a cup of coffee afterward, though you may not need it after exercising. The best part? You won’t have to forfeit your lunch hour or your evening.
Fitness Break Rules
You need a plan if you’re going to make fitness breaks work for you. Spoiler alert: you’ll actually have to stick to the plan if you expect it to work. If you don’t take breaks on a set schedule, set the alarm on your watch, phone, or computer for mid-morning and mid-afternoon to remind you when it’s time for a fitness break. Then decide what type of workout you’ll do. Do you want to do 10 minutes of plyometrics? 10 minutes of yoga? 10 minutes of body weight exercises? Or maybe you want to challenge yourself to master one specific exercise like Leah Wynalek did. In an article for Prevention, Wynalek talks about taking push-up breaks for a month to enhance upper body strength and conquer the exercise she’d never been able to do.
One more helpful hint: write down the workout, whatever it is. If you’ll be doing more than one exercise during your breaks, having it in writing will help you remember everything, so you don’t waste time or skip an exercise. More than that, however, having it in writing will help you stick to the plan so it’s more likely you’ll achieve your goal, according to Forbes.
A Fitness Break Workout
Whatever workout you choose to do on your break will be effective, and the options you have are endless. If you’re at a loss for ideas, Fitness has a ton of ideas–everything from a 10-minute belly dancing routine to tone your tummy, to calorie blasters and metabolism boosting workouts. Here’s one to get you started, a 10-minute workout similar to the one fitness expert Ben Greenfield shared with the Huffington Post:
- 50 step jacks or jumping jacks
- 15 push-ups
- 15 side lunges, per side
- 15 body triceps presses
- 15 prisoner squats