5 Ways to Squeeze Exercise into a Busy Schedule

The Following is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views of exercisebasics.

Has it come down to choosing between squeezing a plump body into an outfit you’ve outgrown or trying to figure out how to squeeze in exercise? Both situations are stressful but, let’s face facts; carrying excess weight on your body isn’t good for your health. Our bodies were made to move, and without at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week, the extra weight will slowly pile on. On top of that, every fitness and health professional keeps asserting that strength training is important for bone density and good health. Whittle your middle, tone your muscles and drop excess flab by following these five tips for squeezing exercise into a busy schedule.

Tone Muscles While Watching TV. Relaxing in front of the television after a long day at work can be a nice way to wind down. Invest the first 15 minutes of your television time in toning your muscles while you watch TV to accomplish your strength training. You only need to perform strength training moves three times per week, for 15 minutes each time to achieve results. Use dumbbells or kettlebells as you do squats, lunges, dumbbell rows, bicep curls and shoulder presses.

Ten-Minute Spurts. Health and fitness professionals recommend 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. When a hectic schedule precludes 30 minutes of uninterrupted exercise, go for 10-minute spurts instead. Take a brisk walk, go up and down the stairs or jog in place for three 10-minute segments spread throughout the day. If you do this five days a week, you’ll be able to squeeze in your cardio.

Waiting-in-Line Isometrics. Does it seem like you spend an inordinate amount of time standing in line? Use that time wisely to tighten and tone your muscles as you wait for your turn. Choose one area of muscle to focus on at a time, such as your calf muscles. Squeeze or contract the muscles, and hold the contraction for 30 to 60 seconds. Move on to other muscles, as time allows. Isometrics can be done anywhere at any time, even while sitting at your desk.

Take the Long Way. You’ve probably heard it before—park at the far end of the parking lot or walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. The extra movement adds up in calories burned and will contribute toward faster weight loss.

Wake Up with Yoga. Stretching keeps your muscles long and lean, loosens your joint and helps relax your body. Even five to 10 minutes of yoga in the morning can help improve your range of motion and flexibility.
An all-or-nothing approach to exercise sets you up for fitness burnout or definite weight gain. Similar to many other healthy lifestyle changes, incorporating exercise into your life doesn’t have to occur on a rigid schedule or be strenuous in order to be effective. The small bits of effort you put forth throughout the day add up to calories burned, fat lost and muscle being toned.

If it’s been a while since you last exercised, start out by incorporating one of the five tips listed here to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Do as much as you can and then stop, but when the exercises you’re doing start to feel easier, perform them longer or add more weight. It took time to gain weight and lose muscle tone, and it will take time to shed the fat and sculpt your muscles. Don’t let a busy schedule stand between you and your health and fitness. Squeezing in exercise throughout the day can add up to create an effective fitness plan that helps you meet your goals.

Samantha Rodgers is a writer, blogger, and health-fitness enthusiast who spends her time researching and writing about health related issues, most especially about healthy diet and fitness health. She also writes about medical trials and becoming a member of a volunteer pool for GSK trials alongside her health and fitness interests.

Health in the News: November 19, 2012 - Children and Exercise Intensity

edit: it was brought to my attention that the link was broken. it is now fixed. my bad.

So today sort of sucked. Car trouble and inconsiderate people are giving me a headache. I now remember why I used to walk everywhere with an ipod: not relying on vehicles and not having to speak to strangers. Anyway, my mood is getting better right now thanks to good coffee, comedy, and getting to see my wife in a couple hours. So on with the blogging.

This is my first health in the news post in a while. It was put on the back burner while I was finishing my thesis. I have more free time now so I'll be gradually getting back to things. Here's an article about children and exercise. The essence of the article is that, for children, intensity of exercise is more important that duration. Not surprising, children aren't getting enough vigorous exercise. Give this article a read and let me know what you think. click on the link below the photo.

Children and exercise intensity

Seriously, let me know what you think. I want to get more interaction out of my readers. I know that I have set this blog up as a resource, but I still want feedback. :)

BMI Not The Perfect Measure

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a way to categorize oneself based on weight and height. It's very useful for a general population, and indeed, has been shown to be a good predictor of obesity related morbidity - meaning that the higher your BMI the greater your morbidity, as well as your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. BMI is very easy to calculate and can quickly be used to determine your weight class using the following table:

Under Weight<20
Healthy Weight20-24.9
Over Weight25-29.9

Here's what I want to point out. BMI is great for the general population, however for an athlete you can basically throw it out the window. Marathon runners will commonly come in as underweight, olympic weight lifters or even football players will often come in as over weight, and body-builders are obese. However, no reasonable person would say that these people are unhealthy. BMI also does not take into account gender. Think about a man and woman of the same height. you would expect the man to weight more than the woman based on body-type, but according to BMI there should not be a difference. It also doesn't take into account a persons morphology (body type).

What I'm trying to say is take BMI with a grain of salt. Yes it is a good general estimate about your weight as it relates to your health, but it isn't be-all-end-all. Don't get to worried if you're tipping a little into the over weight category if you're an active individual who eats well. Do worry if you're in the overweight range and you have type 2 diabetes and smoke. Do you see the difference?

The Importance of Taking Breaks

This was shared with me a couple of days ago. It's an interesting infographic, and really, who doesn't like a nice infographic. I cannot vouch for any of the claims made in it, but I'm lead to believe it's all true and researched. Check it out and let me know what you think! clicking the pic will open it up in a new window so you can zoom in.
Take a Break!
source: onlinebusinessdegree

Strong or Powerful.. which are you?

Today I want to discuss the difference between strength and power.

Unfortunately, anytime we go to the gym and lift weights in ends up falling under the blanket term "strength training." While it's not entirely wrong to say this - because lifting weights will make you stronger - it could be a little more precise. There's a spectrum of training from strength to speed in relation to force produced and velocity of contraction. This is - aptly named - the force-velocity relationship and follows the curve below.

Interpreting the graph you can see that the slower the velocity of contraction, the larger the force you can produce. This is your maximum power. With a large velocity there will be less force produced. This is your maximum speed. Right in the middle of the curve, the blend of speed and strength, is your power. I like to look at it as being a large force produced at rapid contraction velocity. It's an explosive type of movement.

To put it into context I find it easier to take a look at a sport like football. Your big guys, your offensive line will be very strong. They have to produce a large amount of force to keep the D from breaking the line. While the initial movement after the snap will be very quick/powerful, they will have to maintain a large force production slowly to keep the D at bay, this is strength.

If we take a look at a different position, lets say a guy like J.J. Watt at defensive end. J.J. has to produce a large amount of force quickly in order to break through the line and get to the quarterback. If he produces this force too slowly he won't be able to overcome the offensive line, if he is too quick he won't be able to produce enough force to get through. That's J.J. is powerful, he produce a large amount of force rapidly.

That's it really. It's not too hard of a concept.

slow speed + very high force = Strength
rapid speed + high force = Power

Hopefully that helps explain this a little. Stay tuned for how to train differently to meet the goals of strength or power.  if you have any questions, please comment below, or email me.

Don't forget, if you like this blog to follow me in one of many ways in my right side bar.

Get Out There and Vote!

Hi folks,

This has nothing to do with exercise, but please read.

Image courtesy of coward_lion / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am not American, therefor I do not have the right to vote in America (obviously right?). In lieu of this I urge any of you that read this on a regular basis to get out and vote. You guys have the opportunity to help shape the future of the USA for the next four years and beyond.

I know who I would vote for if I had the opportunity and I know why I would do so. I plan on moving to the USA in the next year to practice physiotherapy. Because of this I very much want the POTUS to be the man I would vote for. I would vote for Barak Obama. I would do so because I like his the direction he's going with healthcare. I would do so because I like his policies ie: oil. I would do this because Romney confuses me and doesn't seem like an actual human being.

I'm not a political blogger. I am, however, well informed and I do care about what happens in the US elections because it not only affects Americans, it affects Canadians, it affects the world.  I'm not going to try to analyze platforms here, because I honestly don't know how to do that in writing. For that I'll point you towards more relevant sources:

Listen, whether you vote for Obama or Romney, just vote. Be happy that you have the right to do so. Be happy that you live in a democracy.

Getting the Most Out of Your "Nutrition Window"

The following is a guestpost and does not necessarily reflect the views of exercisebasics.

The last thing you'll want after completing an hour-long, full-body workout is to think about, well, anything. You're allowed five minutes to walk around and stretch your muscles, paying attention to every part of your body that was pushed beyond its supposed limit a mere 10 minutes ago. You then need to take action, as your nutrition window is ticking.

Every gym-goer or athlete serious about results and their performance should be well-versed in sports nutrition. Products like creatine and protein shakes are proven muscle-builders for those pairing a healthy diet with regular exercise. A similar effect can be obtained by following a protein-rich plan, featuring vast quantities of red meat, fish and eggs. Though taking on supplements is a lot easier than having to ease down four filling meals each day.

Now, protein in any form, consumed at any time of day can be beneficial. Providing, of course, the subject in question is combining their intake with exercise, otherwise the nutrients will go to waste. As protein serves as one of the building blocks of body tissue and a crucial source of fuel, there is a time gap that can be used by gym-goers to obtain optimum results. This is called the nutrition window.

The start

The window actually opens way before you've done your first curl. You should start taking small sips of your protein shake around 30 minutes before exercise. This will allow amino acids and sugars to flow freely into your bloodstream, ready for the workout.


The best way to gain results is to sip on your drink as you train, but your ability to do this depends on the discipline. Bodybuilders have no problem with this technique as they frequently take short breaks between equipment switches. Cyclists or runners, who might find it harder to break, are therefore advised to exchange their marathon sessions for groups of 30 sprints, with a two minute drinks break separating each period. Sipping throughout will fill your body with vital carbohydrates and even more amino acids to working muscles, allowing you to maintain peak levels of performance as you exercise.


Immediately finish off the rest of your drink when you complete the workout. You might even want to make another one if muscle growth is your goal. During this period, you muscles will absorb all of the carbohydrates and amino acids available and transform them into energy reserves. The extra protein will also repair torn fibres, allowing you to speed up your recovery process and come back fresh the next day.


Foods like steak, beans and almonds contain vast quantities of protein, but protein-rich liquids will find their way into the bloodstream at a much faster rate. The solid foods must be broken down and digested inside, as opposed to a soup or broth, which will slip straight down your stomach.
The only problem with this method of consumption is liquid meals aren't exactly the most appetising and your cravings for a large bowl of pasta are likely to creep in after a week. So, make an effort to follow a liquid diet every other time you go to the gym. Either that or really do consume two protein shakes after workout before fixing up a protein-fuelled dinner, like an omelette or steak sandwich.

Disclaimer: If you read exercisebasics regularly you may know my view on protein supplementation.  While I don't typically endorse the use of protein powders, they do have their place and I think that the above article is well-thought out and appropriately written.