Squeezing exercise into a busy day is not for the unimaginative. When we asked readers to weigh in with their tips on fitting fitness into their hectic lives, dozens replied with innovative solutions.
Don't be afraid to look silly, advised one reader who looks for exercise opportunities wherever she is. "Doctors' offices often have a reception desk with a high edge that is perfect for standing push-ups," she wrote.
Another reader traded his riding lawn mower for a push one and burns calories by spending two hours a week mowing his 1.2-acre yard. Others suggest getting off the bus a stop or two early to walk the rest of the way and making plans to hike with friends instead of dine out. "Make every minute count," one wrote.
Read on for more responses from readers:
I have four kids ages 6 months to 12 years, a full-time job, and I run a small business on the side. I am not as thin as I would like to be at this time but I squeeze in exercises by dancing with my kids at home. We put in some music, turn off the TV, dance and clean the house! Everyone helps! The baby just sits there staring at us acting crazy. I also make it a point to park farther away from the store entrances and speed walk... That's what works for me!
Jenni, Bakersfield, Calif.
In order to fit exercise into my day, I get up early every day, around 5 a.m. and try to get to bed between 9 and 9:30 p.m. each night. I run on the treadmill for 45 to 60 minutes every other morning and the mornings when I don't run, I do small household chores. I go to the gym once during the middle of the week and once on the weekend. But one week every other month I try to give myself a break from running and working out — this is so I don't get burned out.
Jodi, York, Pa.
Turn waiting time into exercise time. If you're not afraid of curious looks from strangers, you can do leg lifts and arm isometrics in line at the bank, grocery store, post office, etc. Doctors' offices often have a reception desk with a high edge that is perfect for standing push-ups. And for folks who feel shy exercising in public, you can still exercise while awaiting the doc in your private examining room.
Jacquie, San Diego
I take the bus and when weather permits I often get off two or three stops ahead of the one closest to my destination and walk. It's a great way to start your day. If you drive, then park farther away from your office building. The only thing you've got to do is get to work, the kids are already where they need to be, so forget about everything and enjoy a great morning walk!
Kathy, Mesa, Ariz.
I get up early, around 5 a.m., and go to the gym. I work full-time, have a 45-minute commute each way to work and am the mother of a 16-month old. If I can't get myself up in the morning, I will put the baby in the jogging stroller after work and do running/walking intervals for an hour or so. If I can make the time for exercise, anyone can! You just have to plan and make the commitment.
Jeannie, Lexington, Ky.
I started waking up 45 minutes earlier (4:15 a.m.) in order to get a 30-minute video (workout) in before work. Then after work, if I don't have time to do a 40-minute brisk walk, I'm covered and if I do have time to do the walk, it's double for that day.
Michelle, San Diego
I get up anywhere between 5 and 5:30 a.m. to get my workout in before I get my kids up. By doing this, I find that I have some "me" time as well as get a good workout. This gives me the boost that I need to get my day started. If I don't get a chance to go to the gym in the afternoon, it will be fine because I have already worked out. Twenty minutes is better than nothing. Just make every minute count.
Crystal, Wadesboro, N.C.
The best way for me to fit exercise in is to write it into a calendar and make it part of my day. It supposedly takes two weeks to form a habit, and after that, it will become a part of your daily routine. Since it is a part of my day, if friends ask to make plans sometimes we'll end up going for a hike or kayaking instead of out to eat!
I fit in exercise by walking two miles per day during the week at 5:30 a.m., walking three miles per day on the weekend, preferably at a park, and spending two hours twice a week push power mowing 1.2-acres of grass. (I used to use a riding mower.) I have gone from 368 pounds to 255 pounds and my wife has lost more than 75 pounds. My BP is 112/63 and heart rate is 56. I am 52 years old. Eating healthier has contributed as well.
Michael, Concord Township, Ohio
During the work day I: a) walk up the steps (Yesterday I did 32 flights!) and b) at lunch I walk (I did two miles yesterday). I skip the "sit down" lunch, walk for 40 minutes and eat a light packed lunch.
Donna, Akron, Ohio
I exercise three to four times a week for 30 to 45 minutes in the late evenings around 10 p.m. It sure beats watching TV. I use different types of exercise videos, alternating between cardio, weights and Pilates. I've lost 15 pounds to show for it! Where there is a will, there is a way!
Jeanie, East Rockaway, N.Y.