dumbbell curl-Flickr-dno1967b-CCThe secret to finding time to exercise (if you’re truly busy and not simply making excuses) is this: learn how to recognize and convert your otherwise wasted minutes into exercise opportunities.

Excessive sitting is an unhealthy working condition common today, whether you work from home or travel to an office. Our need for exercise has never been greater.

Most people who don’t exercise will say they don’t have time for it. If you are breathing now then you have time to work out.  Single minutes of exercise done here and there throughout your day add up significantly when you factor in the cumulative effect.

Most importantly, you will need to expand your mental paradigm of how exercise can be accomplished or incorporated into your day. As you lose your resistance to exercise you’ll make schedule changes that give exercise greater priority.

Single minutes can most easily be used for strength training exercises mainly because Cardiovascular exercise demands more time all at once. Cardio is important but strength training is just as important- especially as we get older. Walking or jogging- as fabulous and valuable as they are- do very little for developing or maintaining upper body muscle.

Strength exercises will gradually and naturally speed up your metabolism as you develop your muscles because resting muscle burns more calories than resting fat.

Your boss may encourage some of these “office fitness” strategies if you point out that exercise energizes both body and mind. Bring up the subject at the next office meeting. The more time spent at the office the greater the need for office fitness strategies.

Hand held weights could be kept at your desk or in the break room. Start with five pound dumbbells if you hate exercise or are new to weights. You’ll be able to do several different upper body strength movements-while sitting or standing. (See the video below which demonstrates the basic curl.)

At the office:

• If you’ve ever had a long wait during a phone call and sat there waiting, then you’ve missed a workout opportunity.
• If you’ve walked to the coffee pot or drinking fountain you could probably also have used 30-60 seconds to do a strength movement with your dumbbells.
• Smoke breaks are acceptable at the office- use part of yours to do a set of your favorite movement.
• At the beginning and end of your lunch break, take a minute or two with your dumbbells.
• Just after you clock out and before you head for your ride, do a set of something.

At home:

• You are forced to wait for minutes on the clothes washer or dryer. Have some dumbbells nearby.
• While waiting for your food to heat you could be strength training.
• TV commercial breaks- they’ll seem to go faster.
• While your computer or phone reboots.
• Dress in looser clothing so you can impulsively grab a minute if/when the mood strikes.

As a foundation for your new fitness habits, there must be a level of desire to be or become healthy. Find your desire and find your way. Don’t let a busy life prevent good health. No excuse will ever be a reason not to exercise.

Frankie O’Brien is a writer and lifelong fitness enthusiast. Nina Lomax offers personal training at her home-based gym in Manassas, Virginia. (Contact her at [email protected]) Watch their strength training instructional videos or read more articles at www.fithealthylady.com.

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