When I was a kid, I developed this habit of sneaking exercises into my days. I would do squats in the bathroom, do push ups against the kitchen counter, take mini dance sessions between study breaks, and take morning walks on the schoolyard.
I got a little OCD about it. There was a lot of counting involved. I never told anyone, because I felt like people would judge me for it. I thought I was weird for doing it.
As I got older and reached the end of my teens, I started doing it less and less, but then picked up the habit again a few years ago at 25.
I still didn’t tell anyone. But then I heard Ben Greenfield talk about how he works in exercises throughout his days by doing things like two minutes of kettlebell swings in the office before taking a break, doing sets of burpees spread throughout the day, or doing squats in the bathroom. He jokingly refers to it as potty training.
MarkSisson also likes to spread sets of exercise throughout his day and will do push ups against the kitchen counter five times a day.
I wasn’t being weird! I was cool like Ben Greenfield and Mark Sisson before I even had access to the Internet.
Let me tell you a quick little story before I dive into more ways you can incorporate short bursts of exercise throughout your days.
I was talking to a colleague, who struggled to get into the habit of exercising, so I recommended that she start by doing things like doing push ups against the kitchen counter whenever she made coffee and squats when she went to the bathroom. Game changer. Suddenly, she was exercising consistently.
What Are the Benefits of Short Exercise Sessions Spread Throughout the Day?
So, how will doing short exercise sessions throughout the day benefit you?
Improved Insulin Sensitivity
Moving throughout the day is one of the cheapest and most effective methods for improving your insulin sensitivity. Taking a short walk or doing some other type of activity like dancing, cycling, or having sex after eating can reduce the insulin spike you get from your meal.
You Don’t Have To Commit To Going To The Gym
Joining a gym seems like a good idea, and the first few times you go can be exciting, but you might soon realise that there are a lot of annoying aspects to going to a gym, such as paying gym membership fees, driving to the gym, waiting for the equipment you need, the time commitment, looks from other people… the list goes on.
If you have to work a lot and struggle to find the time to go to the gym, but you can incorporate short movement breaks throughout your workday, that is wonderful. This habit is also very useful for parents who want to spend time with their kids instead of spending that time in the gym.
You Have Something to Feel Proud Of
If you’ve been feeling a little disappointed in yourself because you keep setting the goal of starting to exercise regularly, but then you don’t, this can be an easy way for you to finally develop a habit of exercising daily.
You can turn yourself into the type of person who works out regularly and give yourself something to be proud of without ever exercising for longer than five minutes at a time.
How Can You Incorporate More Exercise Into Your Life?
Here is a list of 25 ways you can sneak more exercise into your life. You don’t have to do all of them, but hopefully, this list will give you some ideas.
Go shopping for real instead of just shopping online
Exercise while waiting for the kettle when making coffee or waiting for your food to finish cooking
Wash your car instead of paying someone to do it
Do squats when you go to the bathroom
Walk your dog
Jump on the trampoline with your kids
Play with your kids or grandkids
Clean your room or your entire house
Do exercises while watching Netflix or YouTube videos
Do calf raises while brushing your teeth
Dance in the shower
Suggest doing something active with your friends. You can start a running club, take pole dancing classes together, go to a dance club, do yoga, go hiking, go mountain biking, hunt for Pokémon, etc.
Try a ten-minute workout video you find on YouTube
Don’t just lie there. Sex is a great way to burn calories, but you have to be quite… um… active
Park your car further away
Take the stairs
Do exercises like squats and calf raises while folding your laundry
Have meetings and take calls while walking
Do a few stretches before bed
Get a standing desk and consider standing on a balance board
Work on a pilates ball and do some ball exercises when your computer is lagging or your brain needs a break
Walk to your coworkers instead of just sending them emails or direct messages all the time
See how easy it can be to sneak in more exercise into your days? You don’t need to go to the gym, you just need to move.
You don’t need to schedule in big blocks of time in your schedule for exercise if you do short sessions, spread throughout the day. And even if you do longer workouts and/or go to the gym a few times a week, you can still sneak in more exercise in between workout sessions if you want to increase the amount of energy you burn in a day, improve blood flow to your muscles, improve mobility, and give yourself an energy boost.