Easy Ways to Squeeze in a Workout

Between work, keeping up with chores, and spending time with friends and family, you may find it difficult to make time in your day for exercise. But as busy as you may feel, you should be able to uncover a few extra minutes hiding in your day. Here are a few ways to fit more fitness into your busy schedule.

  • For two days, keep track of how you spend your time. Writing this down helps you find more downtime that you could use for working out.
  • Pencil it in. Decide on a set time for exercise and enter it in your calendar as a daily event. When you see it every morning, you'll make a mental note that you’re going to exercise and this can help you to stay motivated.
  • Start small. Five-minute walks every day can easily turn into 30-minute walks.
  • Do small exercises while you’re watching TV. You can do crunches, planks, squats, lunges, or pushups while you’re catching up on your favorite shows.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Editing your negative thoughts is a great way to support healthier lifestyle choices.

4 Ways to Squeeze In That Workout [Women’s Health]
25 Ways to Make Time for Fitness [Experience Life]
10 Ways to Sneak In a Workout [Fitness Magazine]

How to Safely Exercise Outdoors During the Summer

Even if you’re a very fit person, exercising outdoors in hot summer weather can be dangerous. Unless you take the necessary precautions, the heat and humidity can cause dehydration, dizziness, and exhaustion. Here are a few smart tips to help you exercise safely outside all summer long.

  • Stay hydrated. This one may seem obvious, but dehydration is the leading cause of illness and injury during hot weather exercise. Be sure to drink a lot of water not only during and after exercise, but also beforehand to fuel your body for your workout.
  • Choose smart times. Because the sun is lower (and so is the temperature) during the morning and evening, these are the smartest times to exercise outdoors.
  • Wear the right clothes. While you might wear sweatpants to exercise outdoors in the fall, you should invest in something lightweight and absorbent in the summer. Try synthetic fabrics like Spandex and Lycra, as these wick away moisture.
  • Listen to your body. Even if you’ve only been running for 10 minutes, that might be too much for your body in the dog days of summer. If you start to feel lightheaded and dizzy while exercising, make sure that you stop or slow down, no matter how long it’s been.

5 Ways to Exercise Safely in the Heat [U.S. News]
8 Tips for Exercising in Summer Heat [Active]
Essential Tips for Outdoor Exercise [Arm & Hammer]

Spring Into Shape With These Outdoor Exercise Tips

The dreary winter cold can leave you in a bit of an exercise rut, but the springtime sun makes everyone more motivated to get outdoors and get in shape. These exercise tips will help you get in your best shape ever—all while experiencing the great outdoors.

Buddy up.
There are a number of different reasons why working out with another person is helpful, but the number one reason is because it’s more fun! You’ll look forward to working out much more if you have a friend by your side, and being outdoors will be that much more motivation.

Improve your gear.
It’s beneficial to have the proper shoes and workout attire, especially when you’re exercising outdoors. Warm thermal shirts are important for the days when it’s not quite springtime weather, and breezy, breathable fabrics help once the temperature reaches its full potential. Having the proper outdoor running shoes can also prevent injuries and make you feel more comfortable on the pavement.

Experiment with exercises you haven’t tried before.
You probably haven’t jumped rope since gym class, but this fun and simple outdoor activity burns up to 208 calories in just 20 minutes. Swimming is another fun outdoor activity, and starting slow with a few leisurely laps makes it much less intimidating.

Spring Training Fitness Tips [Shape]
Great Spring Exercise Ideas [Fitness.com]

What Are Aerobic Exercises?

Does walking count as an aerobic exercise? Is playing golf an aerobic workout? These are common questions, and many people don’t understand what qualifies an activity as an aerobic exercise. If you want to learn more about aerobics, these informative facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help:

  • Aerobic activity, or “cardio”, is any activity that increases your heart rate and makes you breathe faster. Aerobic activity isn’t just reserved for working out – biking, dancing and even walking up the stairs are all aerobic activities.
  • The intensity is how hard your aerobic activity is. Aerobic activity is grouped into light, moderate or vigorous intensities, and light intensity activities usually don’t count toward fitness guidelines.
  • Moderate-intensity activities include things like walking quickly or playing tennis..
  • Vigorous-intensity activities include running, swimming laps or playing basketball.
  • If you haven’t worked out regularly or have taken time off from working out, don’t start out with vigorous-intensity activity. Begin with moderate-intensity activities and work your way up to avoid injury and build stamina.

Visit the CDC's website to learn more about aerobic exercises.

Public Domain/Public Domain

Muscle Building Tips for People at All Fitness Levels

The goal of many fitness regimens is to burn fat and build muscle. Muscle development helps harness calories into positive growth for your body, but it can be tricky to get the best results. Here are some tips to guide you to the best results. Be sure to check with your doctor before undertaking any new exercise regimen!

High-volume, medium-intensity training will give you the best results over time. For each exercise you do, the sweet spot is ten to fifteen repetitions with less than a minute between sets. This stimulates the production of lactic acid in the muscles, making you “feel the burn” and encouraging growth.

Push yourself as close to failure as you can. The ideal feeling when you’re lifting or working with weights is that you can’t do one more. Nearing that “failure point” means that you have worked your muscle to its current limit, which spurs it to develop more.

Work out at least three days a week. Too much time off between sessions gives your muscles time to contract and undo all your hard work. When you’re first starting out, two sessions a week might be sufficient, and if you’re really pushing yourself four or more are doable, but three is the magic number.

Manage your diet to ensure that you are eating the proper amount of calories and protein to give your body the fuel it needs. Building muscle requires a baseline amount of protein, so if you do feel the need to reduce your intake, try to take it from carbs and fats instead. 

Great Low Impact Exercises

Do you want to get a good workout without putting too much stress on your joints? Here are five of the most effective low impact exercises to help you stay in shape without risking any damage to your body:

Walking may not strike you as a particularly rigorous exercise but there are endless variations that can make it as heart-pumping as many forms of high impact activity. A few suggestions: try interval training (in which you intersperse bursts of speed-walking with regular-paced walking), walk stairs or hills, or go on nature hikes with challenging terrain.

Step Aerobics
This time-tested form of low impact exercise gets results while sparing your joints. Because you’re stepping onto an elevated platform, you’re able to get your heart rate up without jumping. You can enjoy a step aerobic video in the comfort of your home or join a class so you can work out with others.

This is an exercise that works your entire body, elevates the heart rate, and burns calories at a powerful clip. Swimming laps is a great option for those with some solid pool skills but, if you’re in the beginning stages as a swimmer, you can get fantastic health benefits from joining a water aerobics class.

Yoga gives you a significant calorie burn while promoting flexibility, balance, and mind-body wellbeing. Most gyms offer yoga classes for exercisers at all levels, and you can also choose to start your own at-home using an instructional yoga dvd or book.

People don’t often think of stretching as an exercise in and of itself, but if done conscientiously, it can have major benefits for your health. Keeping your joints pliable will enhance your flexibility and make it easier for you to avoid injury from other activities. Stretching will also help you stave off the back problems, balance difficulties, and osteoarthritis issues that can accompany the aging process.

Stretching And Exercise: Before Or After?

Everybody knows that stretching is a vital part of a fitness regimen—muscles need a little extra attention to deliver the best results. But one argument about stretching is over when it’s best to stretch, before or after your workout. There are many differing schools of thought; most agree that stretching before a workout limbers up the muscles, but it also reduces the available strength for exercise. Stretching after exercise, however, increases flexibility to a greater degree overall than stretching before.

There is a common misconception that stretching before exercise helps reduce the risk of injury, but this has never been proven to be true. The general consensus is that dynamic stretching, such as high kicks and arm circles, should be performed before your workout and static stretching—bends and the like—should be performed after for optimum results. Remember to hold static stretches for 30 seconds.

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