Some seasons of life are so freaking busy.
Right now, in the midst of December, I find myself running around SO much.
There are holiday parties, my son is playing soccer and basketball. And, there is shopping and baking and ALL OF THE THINGS.
During a busy season getting on the bike for a 2 hour ride is not in the cards for me. I am sure that you feel this way too! Sometimes it’s all you can do to get the bare minimum done. The bare minimum does NOT include long scenic bike rides through the countryside.
Also, in this particular season it’s freaking FREEZING outside so long outdoor rides are very much out. At least for me!
As a result of the crunch for time, I find myself seeking out all of these tiny little places where I can fit more movement into my life and get it to fit into my schedule.
Will each tiny thing help me burn a million calories and lose a bunch of pounds on its own? Of course not. But does all of these small bursts of movement add up? YES.
And, do these tiny things help me stay consistent with movement? And feel good and strong so that I can jump right back into longer bike rides when I have more time?
If you are at all curious about what I am doing, be sure to read on! In this article I detail 5 ways I am getting my movement in during this busy season.
#1: Find Ways to WALK More
By far, the tactic I find myself using the most during a busy season is just finding ways to walk more.
On days when I know that I am not going to be able to fit in any substantial chunk of time for riding or movement I just walk!
I have an amazing new fitness watch, the Garmin Venu 3S, that I got for my birthday and it tracks all of my steps. It is super fun, and it’s PINK. I had a step challenge with my husband last month and I won by a LANDSLIDE (luckily he didn’t suggest a cycling challenge…He would have destroyed me!).
You see, I use ALL of the tricks. I park far away in parking lots. Additionally, I get up from my desk and do a quick lap around the inside of the building to get a little movement break. When I am copying stuff I do a couple laps around the office while I am waiting for my copies to be ready.
When I am doing laundry I take multiple trips up the stairs to put my son’s laundry away. As many as I can fit in. When I am tucking him in I make a separate trip upstairs to fill up his humidifier.
I sometimes take a walk around the track at lunch, or a walk around the track when my son is at soccer practice.
By simply being intentional about walking around as much as possible I find that I get a lot of walking in. It’s not about finding ways to move my body to burn calories…it’s about finding ways to stay in the habit of being active and moving my body.
See if there are some ways that you can incorporate more walking in your day to day. Maybe you go for a quick 10 min walk around the block after lunch (this is actually good to help prevent sugar spikes too!).
#2: Incorporate Short Bouts of Strength Training
I will be super honest, I am in the habit of neglecting strength training in favor of biking.
Many of us like to bike a lot, but could do without the strength training.
I get impatient between sets and hate the down time and want to be DOING SOMETHING.
What I find is that during the busy seasons of life, though, it can be really easy to incorporate short bouts of strength training.
I grab some free weights, do some bicep curls, tricep extensions, bent over rows, etc.
Or I hit the floor for a little bit of core work. I don’t bother with even putting a workout video on or having someone guide me. Half the time that’s too much effort, I just run down into the basement and do a little bit of something to keep my body feeling good and strong.
I will also incorporate some squats in when I am brushing my teeth, or do a plank or two while watching TV.
Last night, for example, I had about 15 minutes so I did some bent over rows, planks, speed skaters, etc. Just to get something going!
I got my heart rate up, I can feel a little soreness in my chest and arms today, and I feel great.
See if YOU can squeeze in something somewhere. Even if it’s just 10-20 squats while brushing your teeth…that’s something!
#3: Pair Movement With Something You Are Already Doing
This one is a no-brainer BUT it’s the kind of thing we don’t always think of.
If you have a remote meeting, consider going for a walk while you dial in.
As I mentioned before, I will often do squats while brushing my teeth, and find that I can fit in small little bouts of movement by pairing something I already habitually do (like brushing my teeth) with something I want to be doing more of (squats).
Next week I am meeting up with a friend to get something she ordered for me online. Instead of meeting at a coffee shop, we are going to meet up and go for a walk.
Another place I incorporate squats is when I am putting dishes away. I mean…I probably look a little ridiculous going up and down so much, but it does kill two birds with one stone!
#4: Get in a SHORT Bike Ride
During covid with a 5 year old, when I lost my weight for the last time, I learned how to squeeze in short rides everywhere.
I would ride with him in the neighborhood. Another thing I would do is put on a go-noodle and either do that with him or hop on my indoor trainer for a short ride while he did his go-noodle.
I can STILL recite some of those songs by memory!
Now that he is older and can reliably occupy himself while I am working out, I still find that I can’t always fit in a longer effort.
I have found 20-30 min Peloton rides to be an absolute godsend during the busy seasons, and especially during the holidays.
As an added bonus they even have holiday rides to get you in the holiday spirit!
I get a good 20 minutes in of cardio and sweat and feel incredible after.
Once I realized that it was more about riding regularly and staying active as opposed to burning a bunch of calories on the bike, I started embracing the short ride.
For a while I would only bother getting on the bike if I had at least 45 minutes to an hour to dedicate to riding. And, if I didn’t have that time? You guessed it. I did nothing.
Something is always better than nothing. A short ride is always better than no ride. It keeps you in the habit of moving your body regularly and feeling good and strong. That’s what riding is all about.
#5: Kick Off Those Shoes and DANCE
My son is ALWAYS down for an impromptu family dance party. Dancing is an awesome way to feel good and get your heart rate up.
And no, I am not a good dancer. Ever heard that saying “dance like no one’s watching?” Well I most certainly had to embrace THAT!
Once I realized that no one, especially my kid, cared about how ridiculous I looked I stopped caring too. Dancing is amazing exercise…there is a reason why so many cardio programs incorporate dance and dance moves!
It feels good, it’s exhilarating, it’s FUN. On occasion I have been known to forgo a ride in favor of one of these impromptu dance parties…not only does it give us an opportunity to have fun with those around us, but it keeps us moving our bodies and feeling good and strong.
A Final Note
When you really sit down and think about it, there are countless opportunities to get a little extra movement into your life in the busy seasons.
Getting yourself up and moving doesn’t have to be a big effort, you can just do small, little chunks as often as you can during the day.
When you do have a little bit of time to ride your bike, it doesn’t have to be a super long/intense effort to “count”.
Every little bit of movement counts.
Something is always better than nothing.
It keeps you in the habit of moving your body, and prioritizing fitness. By keeping these easy ways to move your body during busy seasons front of mind, you will make it that much easier to jump into longer rides and strength training sessions when you have the time.