Ever since the pandemic hit, life has become mostly sedentary and schedules are now crammed with back-to-back Zoom calls, making it hard to fit in much-needed physical activity. However, getting in a workout for the day, even if it's just 15 minutes, is not impossible.
Daily physical activity has a number of benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it can help reduce the risk of anxiety, depression and disease and can improve sleep. Yet, figuring out how to workout when you are short on time can seem extremely daunting.
The first step to getting in some exercise may just be to factor it into your schedule. Paulina Bravo, a group fitness instructor at the University of Maryland, suggested that the best way for people to stay healthy and active is to create a detailed daily schedule and stick with it.
“Working out gives people an escape [from] their reality. Nothing really matters for that 30 [minutes] or one hour, except the workout they are doing, which will help with all the stress of the outside world,” Bravo said.
So, what are some quick workouts? Bravo recommended finding videos on YouTube, which can allow you to personalize your workout. She also suggested going on a 10-15 minute run. Students can even get creative by using their textbooks as part of their workout. “If students don’t want to walk to the gym, which I get since it is extremely cold at this time of the year, then they can grab their very expensive textbooks and actually use them as weights at home and do a 10 [minute] workout,” Bravo said.
For Jules Parra, a sophmore information systems major, a swim session is her preferred workout. However, her schedule can get too busy for her to commit to a reservation at the pool. When that is the case, she goes on a walk around campus, which helps her relieve stress and get some fresh air.
Parra recommends people, especially students, try and fit in some movement every day. “Building that habit will show you how easy it is to get exercise and will help you dedicate more time later down the line,” she said.
Tatiana Traore, a senior finance and marketing major and a group fitness instructor at the university, suggested taking active breaks. “Every hour, if you just take five minutes to walk around your room, clean, dance, cook, anything that’s like kind of getting yourself moving...it adds up…[and for] the whole day, you can end up with a 60 minute workout or more,” she said.
Traore also recommended high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for when you have a full schedule. These workouts do not need to be long for them to be intense and highly beneficial. When she is extremely short on time, she will just dance for 15 minutes in her room.
Although our schedules may seem busier than ever, we can still fit in a quick workout. Maybe all you can do is walk around campus or follow a 10 minute workout on YouTube. All that matters is that you make movement, in some form or fashion, a part of your day.