There’s No Time! Simple Ways to Fit a Bit of Exercise into Your Busy Holiday Schedule

Shopping mall by Ron Mzr.

The last two months of the year, those of November and December is perhaps one of the busiest times for parents and families.  We’re always rushing around, trying to get the next meal, buy the perfect present, and rendezvous with friends or family that we haven’t seen in ages.  You’re probably exhausted at the end of the day simply from living your life.  And now your doctor or health professional is saying that you need to take time to do a bit of exercising.  He recommends about 30 minutes a day, three days a week, at a minute.

Jimmy Cricket!  Who has time for that?  You barely have time to breathe, let alone do a few dozen jumping jacks.

The truth is, you do have time, and chances are you can get you exercise quite easily.  All you have to do is “sneak it in” into your daily activities.  It’s a lot easier than you think- all it takes is a little creativity.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Fitness Idea #1:  Make Shopping a Sport

For most people, shopping in the stores consist of grabbing a shopping cart, pushing it through the isles, and reaching out to grab certain items, pausing to look at them, and putting them in the cart and then moving on.  Now take away the spending money, but keep the same movements- what do you notice?  The fact is you’re already getting a fair amount of exercise just doing what you normally would do in the shopping lane.  You are walking, stretching your arms, pausing every so often to take a breather, and using your upper body to steer and control the shopping cart.  Plus, if you add a few pound weights around your wrists or ankles, you can easily add some weight resistance to your movements.  And don’t worry about getting strange looks from the people around you.  The wrist and ankle weights today can easily fit under your long sleeves or pants, and most people will be searching for the next big deal on cashmere sweaters instead of looking at you.

Fitness Idea #2:  The Stairs are Your Friend

Believe it or not, people walk straight by one of the most powerful pieces of exercise equipment known to man on the way to the elevator.  The seemingly lowly staircase offers a great way to not only build your leg strength, but also offers a great way to get your heart pumping and the blood flowing.  So instead of taking the elevator and listening to some awful elevator music, why not take a few flights of stairs during your next excursion?  If you’re just starting to get into shape, take it slow and listen to your body.  The great thing about stairs is that they don’t judge you if you have to stop at a landing and take a breather for a few moments.

Fitness Idea #3:  Party Prep Can Be Aerobic

You’ve got everyone in the family, including your “eccentric” Aunt Mabel coming for dinner tonight, and the house, of course is a complete wreck.  It’s nothing that you and your family can’t manage, but the cleaning activities are probably going to take most of the day.  How in the world are you going to find time to exercise?  There is so much cleaning to do!

Stop and think for a moment about what you actually do when you’re cleaning the house.  Think about how much running around, lugging of brooms, mops, dust rags or other cleaning supplies that you do.  Remember how drained you usually feel after a good solid cleaning of your home?  The reason you feel so spent is because you’re doing a lot of physical activity- and if you do it at a moderate pace, you can actually get your heart rate up to some respectable levels.  The trick is to do activity for an extended period of time to get your heart rate elevated and your muscles working.  Then, you need a period of cooling down.  One of the best ways I know to do that is to clean a room from top to bottom without stopping, take a five to ten minute rest and move onto the next one.  By the end you and your family will have a great looking house, and that half-hour of exercise needed will be a thing of the past.

So the next time someone marvels at your healthy physique and wonders where you find the time simply smile and share your secret.  You sneak it in.

About Laura Seeber (76 Posts)

Laura Seeber is a geologist, environmental professional, writer, and outdoor and nature enthusiast. Born just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Laura has spent the majority of her life hiking through the forest, descending into caves, climbing over boulders and up cliffs, navigating river rapids, and writing and blogging about her adventures. She currently resides in Illinois and travels country in search of the next great outdoor activity or adventure.


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  1. 1

    Some smart tips to keep fit and slim during a period where most people pick up unwanted weight.