We’re not saying you should be swapping time spent socialising for the gym. But we are saying that squeezing fitness into any spare time you have will ensure you have a more energetic, possibly even happier, New Year. We asked three of our favourite experts for fast ways to keep your fitness levels ticking over, even if you only have two minutes to spare.
Got 2 minutes? Sprint your stairs
“Quick sprinting up and down the staircase is a great way to increase calorie burn and get fitter faster,” says Anya Lahiri, Barry’s Bootcamp master trainer and Nike NTC elite trainer. “Or, if you’re looking to strengthen muscles and tone up, body-weight exercises like squats or push ups can always be squeezed in pre work or before bedtime.”
Got 5 minutes? Do a micro workout
“If you’re too busy to fit a full workout in, a mini one can be the first step to getting leaner,” says The Body Coach, Joe Wicks. “Try pushing yourself really hard for three lots of 30 seconds, doing exercises like lunges, running on the spot and tuck jumps. Leave 40 seconds recovery time between each burst of movement. The great thing about this on/off High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) method is that you can do it absolutely anywhere, any time, even while watching TV. And working out over Christmas means you can indulge. I personally can’t resist pigs in blankets.” Lean In 15: The Sustain Plan by Joe Wicks (Bluebird, £16.99), out 17th November
Got 15 minutes? Do a dinner dance
Making fitness fun is the key to keeping doing it, says Pilates instructor Lottie Murphy. “The time I love to get 15 minutes of exercise in is when I’ve popped something in the oven for dinner; I’ll put on my favourite playlist and dance around the kitchen. Grab some tins, reach your arms straight behind you and pulse to work your triceps and shoulders and improve posture. Or try ballet-inspired moves like raising up and down on your tiptoes to tone your butt and calves, then reaching one toe behind you and pulsing it up and down to really lift the bottom.”
Got 30 minutes? Go online
“If you’ve got just half an hour, head to my YouTube channel ‘Lifestylewithlottie’ and pair the Pilates Tone Circuit with the Flat Lower Tummy Pilates,” Murphy advises. “The first one puts your body through a wide range of movements and targets muscles you might not even know you had; the second targets the core, improving posture and helping to prevent back pain. My top tip is: try not to brace your abdominals during these workouts, instead feel the tummy gently flattening as you exhale.”
Got 40 minutes? Run for it
“Change up your usual park jog with short bursts of speed and hill runs,” says Lahiri. “Include five lots of 30-second sprints, each with a minute’s walk in between. Then, find a hill, run up and walk back down five times. Also, a steady 3.5k run once a week is great for increasing endurance.”
Super-quick movement fixes
Feeling jaded or overloaded? Put on Nadia Narain’s stretching and meditation DVD. Choose from six sessions, including five minutes of calming breathing, 22 minutes of moving meditation and stretching, or eight minutes of lying down in a blissful relaxation. Nadia Narain Beginners Meditation & Mindful Stretching, £10.99
For a yoga class that will fit your every spare moment, sign up for Movement for Modern Life. Workouts go from two minutes to 90, and there’s something for everyone, from complete beginners to full-on yogis. Subscriptions from £10.99 per month after a 14-day trial
This article first appeared in the December 2016 edition of Red Magazine.