After indulging this summer with frozen drinks and backyard barbecues, getting back into shape in the first few weeks of the fall season can be grueling. On top of it, autumn often comes with over-booked schedules, leaving little or no time for fitness. Instead of worrying about dedicating an hour a day at the gym (which probably has no chance of happening), I have developed nine simple and effective ways to seamlessly carve fitness into your schedule this fall.
Balance while you brush. The next time you’re brushing your teeth, simply lift your right foot off the ground and balance on your left for 30 seconds. Then switch sides. Taking this uni-lateral stance will help develop symmetry, stability, balance, and strength in your hips and legs. This is a must-do move for heel-wearing professionals and women on the go.
Stay in bed. Start off your day by performing plank holds, kneeling push-ups, or mountain climbers in bed for just 60 seconds. When you perform these exercises on the unstable surface of a bed, you are training your brain to fire more rapidly so you can adjust the body’s position based on the circumstance. The bed also helps strengthen your stabilizing muscles.
Dance! Turn the tunes on while getting dressed in the morning. Dancing is the perfect way to burn off a few calories while helping to increase hip mobility and flexibility, as well as strengthen your muscular and cardiovascular endurance. Your favorite beats do wonders for the decreasing stress and anxiety, which might make your back-to-work-Mondays in the fall a lot easier.
Take a stand. Stand up while taking some of your calls at work. Sitting at your desk for extended periods of time can increase your risk of metabolic syndrome, heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. The simple act of standing can help combat these health risks while keeping your hips mobile and decreasing lower back tension.
Squeeze it out. Give your stomach and butt a squeeze the next time that you are stuck in traffic. Alternating contractions between your stomach and gluteus will increase core stability and strength while burning off a few calories. Try holding each contraction for 10 seconds while keeping your posture tall.
Be a track star. Perform interval sprints on a treadmill or in place to increase your metabolic rate, burn calories, and blast away fat. Interval training is based on the concept of alternating high-intensity bouts of exercise with slower recovery phases in one workout. Begin by walking at a brisk pace on a treadmill or marching in place for two minutes. Then perform six 45-second intense sprints followed by 15 seconds of a slower-paced walk on the treadmill or in place. Complete the six intervals with a one-minute slow walk and one-minute stretch.
Take a breath. Taking time to breathe can be extremely beneficial to your health. Just 10 minutes of deep breathing after lunch can actually help lower blood sugar levels and decrease production of damaging free radicals. Deep breathing can also help with anxiety and relieve stress, both of which, if not tamed, can lead to overeating and indulging. (Read: You’ll be more likely to opt for those high-calorie alcoholic beverages and bar foods at happy hour.) Be prepared. Set aside time throughout your day to take 10 minutes to close your eyes, sit comfortably, and engage in deep diaphragmatic breathing. Place one hand on your stomach and take a deep breath, allowing your belly to expand. Hold for one second. Then exhale and draw your belly button into your spine. If you cannot find time to sit quiet for 10 minutes, try shutting your eyes and breathing deeply for 10 60-second periods throughout your day.
Follow my lead. Let me take you through one of my 20-minute workouts from my JCORE 40-Day Fitness System. It takes just 20 minutes four days a week to get in the best shape of your life. You don’t need a lot of space, and you don’t have to pick up one piece of equipment. Each workout is combination of cardiovascular and strength training, so when you’re done, you’re done.
Buddy up. Grab a colleague, neighbor, BF, or BFF, and hit the road walking, jogging, or running. Starting a workout program with a partner will provide the necessary motivation to hold you accountable, provide emotional support, and create some friendly competition. The benefits of engaging in this cardiovascular exercise will strengthen your bones and muscles, and increase joint mobility. And don’t forget: It lowers stress.