In our insanely busy lives, it can sometimes be nothing short of a miracle to fit a run into the schedule. Regular strength-training? Forget it. But since that component is so crucial to a well-rounded running routine, it’s worth getting a little creative with your workouts. If you think you shouldn’t bother unless you can get it all done at once, remember that every little bit counts, and something is always better than nothing! Here are seven easy ways to chip away at your strength-training on those days when you just don’t have more than a minute to spare.
1. Sunrise sun salutations
As soon as your feet hit the floor, drop and give yourself a few sun salutations. The classic yoga poses will pull double duty. The deep stretching will instantly energize you and holding your body weight in each pose will give you a quick all-over toning session.
2. Blow-dry balances
Once you’re out of the shower, move to the mirror to get a core workout while you dry your hair. Stand on your left leg while you dry half your head and then switch to the right side. Stabilizing on one leg will force you to tighten your core for balance.
3. Commute crunches
While you’re riding to work, try some basic ab contractions. Inhale through your nose, then exhale while you pull your navel in towards your spine, holding for a few counts.
4 Lunch-hour lunges
Take a walk outside during your break and squeeze in some forward and backward lunges. (Keep sneakers under your desk –these aren’t pretty in heels.) Can’t get outdoors? Head to the stairwell and take them two at a time for an extra burn, or stay on one stair and crank out some calf raises.
5. Desk dips
Break up the afternoon by getting out of your seat and using your chair to pound out some tricep dips. With your back to the chair (a sturdy, non-swivel one), place your palms on the edge of the seat and drop into a sitting position. Bend your elbows 90 degrees, slowly lower yourself to the floor and then straighten your arms back to the starting position.
6. Straighten-up squats
If you have a load of laundry to fold, place the basket on the ground next to a table. Do a deep squat and grab an article of clothing, then stand up and fold on the table. Repeat until everything is folded. Do the same thing for picking up the kids’ toys or unloading the dishwasher.
7. Commercial challenge
Once you hit the couch for some TV time, keep your blood pumping by using the commercials to round out your workout. Choose a different move to do for the duration of each commercial—think pushups, planks and bridges. Grab a pair of dumbbells for deadlifts, bicep curls and weighted wall sits.