By Jonathon Stavres MS, ACSM-EP-C
Trying to fit an exercise session into a busy schedule is often a daunting task, and is often left undone. Through the hustle and bustle of the average day, it seems nearly impossible to block out thirty minutes, let alone a full hour, to commit to working out.
We will review five low-cost methods of adding exercise into a busy schedule, all without consuming too much of your day.
Method 1: Suspension Training
The prospect of purchasing all of the equipment necessary to have a full-functioning at home gym might immediately turn you away from the idea of having your own at-home workout space.
However, setting up a suspension training area is a cost-effective, and space-saving method of resistance training in your own home, and on your own time. This type of training uses two straps with handle-bars fastened to the end and suspended from a single fulcrum attached somewhere high (between 8 and 12 feet, depending on the length of the straps) on a wall, or even attached to the top of a closed door.
A wide variety of resistance exercises can be performed using the straps as grips and your body-weight as resistance, and the load can be adjusted by modifying your body angle and adjusting the length of the straps. One brand-name suspension system is the TRX system, and off-brand (and significantly cheaper) systems can be purchased at department stores and “big box” stores such as WalMart.
Method 2: Digital Workout Programs
Work out DVD’s were very popular back in the ’80s and ’90s, and today have been replaced by other media outlets. Work out programs such as P90X and Insanity have initiated a resurgence in the at-home workout craze.
One of the big benefits of these programs is that they generally cost less than a year-long gym membership. They also don’t require you to get in your car and drive to the gym, only to have to shower there and hurry back to your next appointment.
Instead, these workout programs allow you to exercise on your own schedule, even if it happens to be at 9:45 pm at night once the kids have gone to bed.
Method 3: Family Sports
A more novel approach to adding physical activity for you is to structure a weekly family sporting event. This is especially helpful to those who have children, whose schedule largely depends on them.
With this, you can schedule a weekly, or even twice weekly game of basketball, tennis, soccer, or any other sport that your family enjoys. This works especially well when you can “team” up with other families in your neighborhood and play family vs. family games. While many parents may believe that their kids won’t necessarily want to spend time playing sports with mom and dad, the competition involved with sports often appeals to children and adolescents.
Method 4: Indoor Cycling Trainer
Indoor cycling trainers are support stands that can fit onto the rear wheel of any standard bicycle and add resistance. This allows you to cycle inside your living room as though you were outside on a track. Some of the higher end cycle trainers (fluid-resistance and magnetic-resistance trainers) allow you to change the level of resistance as you cycle, independent of the gears on the cycle.
These generally start at $250. However, mid-level to low-end cycle trainers (wind-trainers) can cost only $50. These trainers provide a set level of resistance, but still, allow the rider to change the gears on the cycle to modify the intensity. Cycle trainers can be a great way to fit a workout in while sitting in your own living room and watching over your kids. You can also intermittently cycle in between performing other household chores.
Method 5: Lose Your Cable
Okay, this one might cause a little anxiety, but it does fit the category. Often times we find ourselves losing hours to an afternoon or evening perched in front of the TV catching up on our favorite shows.
However, this is also the time that could be spent moving. Whether that be outside, at the gym, or even indoors performing light household activity. As far as cost, you could save hundreds by eliminating that cost from your budget. Now, understanding that eliminating television altogether is a little dramatic, it is a little more realistic to reduce your television package to the least inclusive package, and create a “watch schedule.”
This schedule is a list of the shows that you want to watch each week. By sticking to that schedule, you may avoid over-watching TV, which will help you increase your daily activity level while saving you some money.
These are just some of the possible methods for adding some extra activity into a busy schedule. They can be used exclusively or in conjunction with one another. Hopefully, these ideas can help you with your weekly routine.
*For more examples of other variations/exercises look under Multimedia-VDF Exercise Tips
**Consult with a physician and/or medical healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen