By Holley Blaser, CPT and Health Coach, Rock Valley Health
I admit it! I could list my excuses like adjusting to my new role as a mom, taking on more hours at work…but I’ll spare you. Even as a health coach and personal trainer, it’s difficult for me to find time to exercise.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), healthy adults should strive to exercise 30-60 minutes five days per week. Setting aside the recommended timeframe seems impossible and honestly I don’t. However, even without setting aside the lofty chunk of time as a whole, I hack my way to achieving the recommendation.
Am I cheating the system? No, I consider it more like reading the fine print. Per the AHA, exercise minutes can be achieved in 10 minute increments, which allow me (and you) liberty throughout the day to accomplish the standard. Below you will find the time hacks I create to maintain my cardiovascular health.
Hack # 1 – Daily chore challenge
I get motivated to move and be productive by setting a 10-minute timer while I take care of household business. The timer inspires me to run around the house like a mad woman to achieve as much as I can within the timeframe. My favorite is when laundry needs attention and I get a couple extra trips on the stairs, which is a higher intensity exercise. I don’t know what it is about being timed, but my drive to achieve is amplified!
Hack # 2 – Workplace walk
Personal trainers don’t get as much exercise as you might think in our jobs. We often are talking more than working our muscles! So, I set aside 10 minutes during my 30 minute lunch-break to walk. Once again I make the 10 minute bout a friendly competition with myself by attempting to go one sidewalk section further each day to slowly increase the intensity of my walk!
Hack #3 – Entertainment and exercise
I look forward to watching my Monday night guilty pleasure, The Bachelorette! During the commercials, I use the time to execute strength training activities like squats, planks, crunches, tricep dips and pushups. These muscular strengthening exercises are also important for cardiovascular health per the AHA (strive for 2 days per week).
Hack #4 – Time out means time to get up
It’s officially summer when you spend every other night at the baseball diamond (my husband is a baseball coach). I’ve found that if I walk between each inning I average 28 minutes of walking per game! There are a couple issues with this hack so attempt at your own risk. First, there are approximately 2 minutes between innings which means less than the recommended ten minute bout. However any movement is better than none and it adds up throughout the game. Secondly, you may look like you have ants-in your pants because you’re up so often, but being motivated for your health outweighs a little humiliation.
Exercise Hacks – Take home
The next time you hear your inner voice saying, “I don’t have time to exercise,” don’t let it weigh you down. Divide the lofty 30 minute segment into manageable exercise minutes within your day and consider these exercise hacks for your cardiovascular health!
Holley Blaser has a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and holds certifications in personal training, health coaching and group fitness instructing. Holley works with all age groups and fitness levels. You can read Holley’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.