The start of a new school year can be exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. New routines and fixed schedules can make it increasingly challenging to stay committed to fitness goals. We all know that nothing magical has shifted in the world, but suddenly it seems that minutes have a half-life and our free time is dedicated to carpooling, music lessons or hours as sideline spectators. Not to mention the standard rush hour traffic seems to have magically morphed into being whenever you’re in the car trying to get to the next deadline.
In the midst of the change of schedules and change of seasons, how can we stay committed to a fit lifestyle? The key to being successful at fitness during busy times is to remember that a highly effective workout can be accomplished in a very short amount of time. Prioritize effort over hours and you will find that you can achieve a fit way of life. What matters most in a workout is to get your blood flowing even for a short period of time. This means for the average person, as long as you move at a slightly uncomfortable pace for a consistent amount of time you will see considerable results. The higher your fitness level, the harder you have to work to see substantial effects.
Short interval workouts can best be explained as high intensity, short duration exertion. This may be as short as a 10-minute workout if your exertion and heart rate is elevated for the entire time. No longer are hours at the gym necessary to achieve optimal health advantages. The simple benefits of short interval workouts are effective in not only improving your overall health but can also move you closer to your fitness and weight loss goals. Here are a few of the best effects:
- Increased energy for the rest of the day
- Improved cardiovascular system
- More oxygen to the brain – cognitively better
- Move inflammation out of the body
- Maintains muscle mass – use it or lose it!
- Endorphins released into your system
- Diminished food cravings
How do you accomplish an effective high intensity workout when you are not at the gym? Here are some quick and easy ideas to get you moving:
- If you have a few dumbbells in the house, try this routine. 20 air squats, 20 burpees, 20 shoulder presses, 20 Romanian deadlifts, 20 lunges. Go through that 4 times without stopping and you’ve just done an intense 10-minute workout.
- Do you have a bike, or can you borrow your kids’ bike? Go ride hard for 14 minutes and see how far you can get. You’ll be amazed at what a great workout you can achieve and might even discover a new park or restaurant in your neighborhood.
- Avoid sitting on the sidelines while you’re cheering on your rising star. Instead, spend the time engaging in a run/jog/walk around the field while the kids are practicing. Remember it’s about being uncomfortable so push yourself to get just a few yards farther than you think you can go. Perhaps the best benefit is that your kids will think it’s really cool that you’re both sweaty on the way home.
- Stuck in your car driving carpool? Plan ahead and keep a jump rope, a kettlebell and gym shoes in your car. and maximize your lunch hour or an afternoon break with a quick workout session! Alternate between 1-minute of jumping rope and 1-minute of swinging the kettlebell. Do that for 10 minutes straight and you’ll feel that blood pumping! Work your way up to 20 minutes.
- Find yourself grounded at home waiting for the bus to deliver kids or a sleeping baby to wake up? Take advantage of the season’s leaf bounty and rake and bag in superspeed while mixing in push-ups and air squats to fill the bags. If nothing else, you will be the absolute entertainment of the neighborhood and might even make one of the local teenager’s Snapchat stories or a highlight reel.
How do you stay fit in the fall, and when busy in general? Let us know in the comments below!