50 Ways to Sneak in Exercise
You may feel like your nonstop life doesn’t offer enough time to exercise, yet your body and mind are screaming for a chance to drum up energy and let off steam. Get ready to become a stealth workout master.
- Hit the streets or gym before your family wakes up.
- Leave your gear beside your alarm clock.
- Exercise at home in your pajamas.
- Don’t shower until you’ve worked out.
- Reward yourself with your favorite protein-packed breakfast.
Put it in Playtime
- Wear your baby for a brisk walk.
- Give your kids piggyback and pony rides.
- Do squats with the kids in your arms or hanging on your back.
- Play tag or have an animal walk race. Try bear walk, crab walk, frog jumps, snake slither and spider crawl.
- Build an obstacle course of kid-friendly exercises, like skipping, riding a hop-ball, jumping over books, crawling under tables, and doing animal walks.
- Have a family walk or bike ride for dessert every evening.
- Challenge your kids to balancing contests in yoga poses: tree, fierce, lunge, warrior, triangle, or one-legged dog.
Pump it Up at the Park
- Use monkey bars for pull-up variations with different grips (palms toward you or faced out, hands together or wide), going only halfway up or down, or resting your feet on the ground to partially support your weight.
- Use a bench or low stair for tricep dips or inclined push ups.
- Romp with the kids on the monkey bars, slide, jungle gym, teeter totter, and swings.
Get it on the Go
- Travel to nearby destinations by stroller or bike.
- Jog or bike the kids to school or extracurriculars.
- If you work outside the home, workout on the way to or from the office, or during your lunch break.
- Take the stairs at work or appointments.
- Walk briskly at the mall or warehouse store and park your car farther away.
Socialize Your Exercise
- Plan walkable playdates and family outings at the zoo, park or wildlife sanctuary.
- Make a gym date with your honey.
- Set up a weekly run or workout with your friends.
- Start or join a workout accountability group on social media.
Shake up the Sedentary Sediment
- Do planks during TV commercials.
- Try variations from your knees, toes, hands, forearms, or raising an arm or leg to adjust the intensity. Alternate between front and side planks, holding from 10 seconds up to two minutes.
- Make everyone take a five-minute movement break for every 30 minutes of screen time.
- Do paperwork or chores to music while you stand at the counter and groove.
- Read or watch TV while using the elliptical or exercise bike.
Do it in Downtime
- Pump up your heart while the water boils or your computer boots up. Try skipping, running on the spot, jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, squats, pushups, or tri-dips.
- Pull your shoulders down and back, stretch your neck up tall, and engage your abs whenever you sit, stand, or hold the baby.
- Correct your posture in your neck, shoulders, and core when you stand at the sink or stove. Add in plié squats.
- Do isometric (stationary tightening and relaxing) exercises at red lights and in traffic jams. Alternate 5-10 seconds of squeezing and relaxing with your legs, buttocks, pelvic floor, tummy, back, shoulders, arms, fists and neck.
- Pop in a workout video at naptime or bedtime.
Reveal the Hidden Gym
- Every time you pick up or put down the baby, do three controlled, deep squats. If you do this seven times a day, you will do 294 squats per week.
- Whenever you pick up the car seat bucket, grab it with two hands, lift with a controlled squat, and do three bent-over rows. One outing per day can give you a minimum of 42 rows per week (more if you take the seat out of the car and put it back at your destination).
- Do squats or rows with the baby when she’s fussy.
- Create an at-home fitness class with a YouTube video of yoga, belly dancing, ballet, Zumba or cardio-kickboxing. Find a workout that fits your time, from as little as eight minutes.
- Use jugs of water or milk for one-arm rows or tricep lifts (with two hands behind your head) whenever you pick them up.
- Do the original stair master: walk up and down the stairs going frontwards, backwards, side-stepping, jumping, or with one foot leading for an entire flight.
- Do squat lunges down the hall going forwards, backwards, or sideways in pliés.
Make it Irresistible
- Commit to something that feels great every day.
- Bribe yourself with a post-workout treat.
- Get workout clothes you love.
- Join a gym that offers babysitting and a sauna or hot tub.
- Put lemon, cucumber or frozen berries in your water bottle.
- Create an epic workout playlist.
Make it Unforgettable
- Write down the stealth workouts you’d like to try.
- Set goals for the number of each exercise you’d like to complete in a week and keep a running tally where you can see it.
- Make movement goals as a family and plan rewards for when you reach them. Keep track of your progress together.
- Post inspiring pictures and words around the house and on social media.
– Laurie Zottmann