There have been hundreds of articles telling us to fit anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour of cardiovascular exercise into our daily lives. For many women, "that," as they say, "just is not gonna 'happen!" Between working long hours and taking care of a home and family, most women complain that they have no time to just unwind for a few minutes before falling asleep. The idea of "finding" an extra hour every day is impossible.
But the good news is that any amount of physical activity is going to burn calories and help you lose weight. And 10 minutes here and there CAN make a difference.
Here's more good news … "physical activity" for the purpose of burning calories does not HAVE to mean running or playing tennis. As a matter of fact, it does not have to include getting out of the house at all.
Bigger, stronger muscles burn more calories than un-developed ones. Muscle tone also makes us look better, too. So, we get a huge payoff from this. While we're burning off the extra body fat, we're making our muscles lean and strong – one activity can do both.
Once the body fat is gone (or reduced), the toned muscles are more visible – making you LOOK EVEN THINNER! Now, is not that a nice bonus?
There are ways you can burn calories and develop muscle tone at the same time.
As I said, I know time is at a premium for all of us. So, here's what we're going to do. We're going to spend just 10 minutes moving and working some muscles several times throughout the day. How are you going to find the 10 minutes? That's something you'll have to decide for yourself. Here are some questions to help you do that:
* Do you have television time built into your evening?
* How about meal prep and / or cleanup. Do you spend 10 minutes in the kitchen?
* Do you spend at least 10 minutes doing hair and makeup in the morning?
* Do you work in a building that has a large parking lot?
* Do you get at least a 30 minute lunch break?
* Can you get up 10 minutes earlier?
Here's my TOP 10 List on what to do with those 10 minute blocks of time:
1. Put on some music while you're drying your hair, getting dressed, making meals, etc. and just dance to the music. Who says Cameron Diaz is the only one who gets to dance in her underwear? I burned lots of calories in the privacy of my own bathroom and bedroom. Remember, it does not have to be pretty …. just make it fun and get your heart rate up a little!
2. While watching TV, get up and walk in place.
3. While sitting, watching TV, etc., lift 1-3 pound hand weights in a biceps curl. Do not have weights? No problem, just use canned vegetables.
4. While sitting, alternately raise your feet off the floor (using your thigh muscles). Be sure to tighten your abs while you're doing this and press your lower back into the chair or sofa so you do not arch your back.
5. You've heard this one before … park your car as far away from the door as possible and walk briskly (weather and safety conditions permitting, of course). BONUS: by the time you get into the office, your blood will be pumping and you'll be more energized to tackle whatever lands on your desk. Just remember to take a pair of walking shoes along so you're not trying this in high heels!
6. Before you sit down to eat lunch, take a 10 minute walk around the building (either inside or out). BONUS: after a brisk walk, you'll eat less.
7. Instead of opening the door to the back yard to let the dog out, actually take him / her for a walk.
8. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If this activity is too strenuous for you right now, only go DOWN the stairs. You're not burning as many calories as when you climb them, but a whole lot more than standing in an elevator. NOTE: many buildings only allow you to exit the stairwell on the ground floor, so plan accordingly. If you're only prepared to go down one or two flights, do not start on the 10th floor!
9. While attending your children's (or grandchildren's) sporting events, find an area where you can stand and walk around rather than sitting in the bleachers.
10. Go shopping! Both indoor and outdoor halls are a great place to walk. Just make sure you're moving enough to get your heart rate elevated. And be sure to resist the temptation to "reward" yourself with ice cream, cookies or pretzels!
Admittedly, each of these activities alone burns only a few calories. But it's a good start if you've been sedentary for a long time. By scheduling five or six 10-minute blocks of time into your day – EVERY DAY – you can burn an extra 100-200 calories. Combine that with a lower-calorie diet and you can easily lose a pound a week.