4 tips for exercising without exercise equipment

It's tough to find time to work out, but that doesn't give you a free pass from doing it. Luckily, it's not necessary to set aside a big chunk of time to work out every day. Instead, try incorporating exercise into your daily routine.

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  • We all know we should work out, but that doesn't mean we do it. Honestly, with a baby boy to take care of, a house to clean, laundry to wash, and a husband to feed I don't have time to indulge in a serious workout session. However, working out doesn't have to be an intense physical exertion that takes a big chunk out of your day. In fact, you can work out almost all day long by intentionally keeping yourself moving, even during normally sedentary activities. Read about some of the benefits of getting outside to work out, as well.

  • Tooth brushing wall-sits

  • Take brushing your teeth, for instance. It's generally done twice a day, takes a couple of minutes, and you do it while standing in front of the sink. Those minutes could be better served by giving yourself a mini thigh and glute workout. While brushing your teeth, simply pick a blank stretch of wall, lean with your back flat against it and your feet about two feet away, then slowly slide into a squatting or seated position. Try to get your knees into a 90 degree position and hold yourself there for the duration of your tooth brushing. Break it up into 30 second sets, slowly increasing the time until you can do a full minute. Doing this every time you brush your teeth will help tone your lower half and improve your endurance.

  • Exercise your brain and your bod

  • Other sedentary activities like reading a book, studying for a test, or watching TV all keep you glued to the couch for extended periods of time. However, these are also things that can be done in motion. Treadmills will usually have trays of some type where you can set papers or books. Keep the pace slow — 2 miles per hour —and read while you walk. The same goes for watching TV. If you have a treadmill in your own home, set up a television within sight and challenge yourself to keep running or walking through a whole episode of your favorite show. At the gym, there are often TVs set up for you to watch, or you could take some headphones and listen to an audiobook.

  • Commercials as calorie-burners

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  • Commercials don't have to be boring interruptions to the television show you're watching, they can be chances for you to do mini workout sessions. Instead of playing on your phone or fast-forwarding your DVR, get off the couch and do some jumping jacks, crunches, leg lifts, etc. Any kind of cardio workout that gets your blood pumping a little will help combat body fat and help you burn off those chips and dip calories you've been consuming while watching your show. Make a goal to exercise during at least half the commercials, and try to choose stretches or aerobic activities that make you breathe hard. Even jogging in place with high knees will help. Just make sure not to overcompensate for the calories you burn by chowing down on more snacks when you sit down again.

  • Household item

  • weight lifting
  • Don't worry about buying dumbbells or other expensive weight-training tools. Just look around your house for progressively heavier things to lift, and then keep them within arm's reach so when you have an extra moment you can do some bicep curls. Start with lighter objects — a can of pineapple chunks — and look for heavier things as you get stronger — a bottle of detergent, a gallon of milk, a bag of flour, etc.

  • Being a mom is tough enough without trying to come up with an exercise schedule and routine that will work for you. So instead of getting stuck on the mentality that working out is too time-consuming, incorporate your workouts throughout the day. Soon, you'll find it's second nature to stay in motion, you'll feel better about yourself, and you'll see the trickle-down effect of your happiness as it improves the mood of the entire household.

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Katie Nielsen received her bachelor's in English with an emphasis in technical writing. She has taught English and is a published writer.

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