Working in a workout: 11 ways to sneak exercise into your busy work and family life

It's difficult to set aside a block of time every day to exercise, but you don't have to do it that way. This article highlights several ways that you can sneak exercise into your normal routine.

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  • We all know that we should dedicate a portion of every day to exercise. However, setting aside an hour a day is a daunting task when you have work, kids to take care of, a house to clean, errands to run, meals to cook and a thousand other little things clamoring for your attention.

  • However, studies have shown that several small bouts of exercise throughout the day can be just as effective as an hour-long workout session. Below is a list of creative ways you can sneak exercise into your daily routine and make sure you’re taking good care of your physical being, even when you don’t have time to exercise.

  • Squats

  • Do squats as soon as you get out of bed, while blow-drying your hair or while brushing your teeth.

  • Curls with office supplies or household items

  • Do some arm curls with a ream of paper every time you refill the printer. Raise a gallon of milk above your shoulder 10 times before you open the container.

  • Motivate yourself and your kids to walk

  • When you go on errands, park your car as far away from the entrance as possible. While pushing your shopping cart around the grocery store, take slightly longer steps than usual and squeeze the calf muscles before taking each step. If your kids are old enough, spend more time walking up and down the aisles.

  • Family exercise time

  • Before watching TV with your family, create an exercise game. For example, during a program, every time someone says something nice to another character, you could all do 20 jumping jacks. Whenever a commercial comes on, jog in place until your show comes back on. Be creative and make it fun for everyone.

  • Sneak a brief ab workout into your day

  • Shut your office or bedroom door for a few minutes and do planks for as long as you can.

  • No free rides

  • Always take the stairs, not the elevator or escalator.

  • Slip in some push-ups during break time

  • Every time you take a bathroom break, do some push-ups against the counter before returning to whatever you were doing.

  • Don't stand still

  • If you ever find yourself trapped in a long line, do some heel raises, glute squeezes or breathing exercises. If your wait is long enough, do all of the above.

  • Get those feet moving

  • Jog in place or dance around the kitchen while you’re heating something up in the microwave or waiting for the water to boil.

  • Do your chores with vigor

  • When you scrub the bathtub, scrub it like it’s caked with layers of grit. Switch hands while you scrub so both arms get a workout. When you vacuum, tense your arm and leg muscles. Enlist the help of your spouse and kids in the household chores so everyone can get a little exercise. You might even make cleaning the house a friendly competition.

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  • Sit on an exercise ball

  • This is a great way to tone your abs.

  • Ideally, you should still try to get at least a few 30-minute workouts in throughout the week, but the exercises I’ve listed above will help you stay active.

  • For more ideas on how to sneak exercise into your day, visit

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Angela is a writer, editor, and overall lover of words. You can visit her blog at:


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