Pounding away at a computer doesn't exactly qualify as cardio. But squeeze in 10 minutes of conditioning here and there, and you can still get the USDA-recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise. Studies show that a few short spurts of activity offer the same benefits as one long exercise routine (Journal of Hypertension, 2006, vol. 24, no. 9; Circulation, 2000, vol. 102, no. 9). Here, two fitness experts offer ways to work in a workout.
- Saddle up. Park a mile from the office and bike the rest of the way. "When you put away the car keys, not only do you get your body moving, but you're also getting an endorphin boost," says Susanne Wells, owner of Miss Fit wellness studio in Portland, Oregon. Biking is cost-efficient and environmentally friendly, too.
- Revamp your routine. Every lull in your schedule is an opportunity for a tone-up, says Dorothy Waterman, a personal trainer in Pasadena, California. Do squats while you brush your teeth and calf raises when you do the dishes. At your desk, strengthen your core by lifting alternating feet off the ground while keeping your tummy tight. And always take the stairs.
- Multitask more. Sneak in a mini personalized workout without fussy equipment or a trip to the gym. Waterman recommends doing consecutive sets of exercises—think lunges, push-ups, crunches, and triceps dips—while you're watching TV or waiting for the pasta water to boil. Tailor the number of sets and repetitions to your fitness level. Stretch when you're finished.
—Melody Warnick and Jessica Rubino