I used to think I needed a minimum of 45 minutes in my schedule to make exercise worthwhile.
Let’s say I planned to workout from 4:15-5:00 and I suddenly looked up from the computer and realized it was 4:10. Instead of jumping up to throw on my workout clothes and get something done, I would sit and analyze the situation.
“Well it’s going to take me ten minutes to get ready. By the time I do that, I’ll only have 35 minutes to workout. And really I should probably finish a little before 5:00 because I have that dinner to get to. Shoot, now it’s 4:15 already so I’ve lost more time. And actually I maybe should just finish answering this one email. Shoot, it’s 4:20 and I haven’t even gotten dressed. It’s probably not worth it now anyway. Forget it, I’ll just try again tomorrow.”
So I would skip exercising all together because I created an excuse that I had to have a certain amount of time to get a good workout in.
That is the definition of self-sabotage, and we all do it!
We have good intentions, but time gets away from us. I totally get it. The past few weeks have been jam packed for me and my regular daily workouts (which I NEVER sacrifice because they keep me sane) have taken a serious hit.
We packed up everything we owned, attended going away parties, threw a birthday extravaganza for our daughter and then drove a truck pulling a trailer and a separate car three days from California to Colorado.
We now are living with half of our things for two months while we search for our permanent house and my daughter’s permanent new school.
Oh, and we both are working and sharing child care duties in the midst of it all.
It is a season of extreme busy-ness and that sometimes requires a less than perfect workout routine.
Thank goodness I now understand that there can be amazing benefits to short workouts!
The research happens to agree with me.
In the past 10 years, researchers have discovered that, in general, there is no decreased benefit in doing a 30 minute workout spread throughout the day in small chunks versus doing the same 30 minute workout in one sitting (source).
Yay for research!
That means you can use your five, ten or fifteen minute chunks of time to strengthen, tone and burn calories. That can be the time it takes to wait for the coffee maker to warm up, listen to that horrible hold music on the phone or sit through a tv commercial break.
With our crazy schedule over the past month, I have found myself fitting in bits and pieces of exercise throughout the day whenever I have time. While I prefer to have 30 minutes of uninterrupted time (it helps me destress and get in a zone), it’s just not realistic some days.
These short bursts of exercise have helped me to keep my current back pain manageable, maintain my strength and keep my momentum going. Which means it will be easier for me to jump back into a regular routine when life calms down a bit!
For me these small bursts of exercise include walking whenever I can, doing small squats and leg lifts when standing at the counter, with the stroller or at the park, rolling out my mat to stretch and strengthen every night before bed and grabbing my hand weights for 10 minutes of toning before my daughter wakes up in the morning.
It has also included this great 5 Minute Inner Thigh Workout!
If you happen to have more time, add some squats, lunges and crunches and you have yourself a full blown workout!
You can also check out my 5 Minute Plank Workout and 5 Minute Tricep Workout to add to the mix!
Don’t let the common excuse of “I don’t have enough time” keep you from your fitness goals and feeling your best! We are all busy and we all wish there were more hours in the day. Find the bits and pieces of time you DO have and commit to moving during those moments. I promise you will see the benefits.
- While I am a physical therapist, I am not your physical therapist. Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program and please stop if you have any pain or discomfort. This advice is not meant to diagnose or treat any injury or disease.