Here's a novel way to think about exercise: as something you can do all day in your kitchen or bedroom, or even when you're lugging a laundry basket down the hall. Fitting in hour-long workouts just isn't realistic for most of us; fortunately, research shows that mini-bouts of activity—a few squats here, some quick crunches there—can have as big an impact on your fitness level and health as longer routines can.
An 18-month study at the University of Pittsburgh found that doing three 10-minute bursts of exercise daily was as beneficial for weight loss and heart health as a single 30-minute workout. The trick is to figure out what to do in those 10 minutes—a brisk walk is always a smart option, but mixing things up keeps you motivated and your body challenged.
Here, top trainers share their favorite ways to fit fitness into every room in the house (bathroom included!).
I have a BOSU—a half-dome squishy balance gadget—in my family room. One of my kids is always sitting or standing on it while watching TV. My youngest is constantly balancing—working his core without realizing it! —Chris Freytag, star of the DVD Prevention Fitness Systems: Short Cuts to Big Weight Loss
Tuck a resistance band behind a pillow or under a couch cushion. You can get an entire-body workout while watching Dancing with the Stars. Stand on the middle and pull the ends to the front, back, and sides for an upper-body sculpting session; tie it in a loop around your legs and do leg lifts in every direction to tone your thighs and butt. —Jennifer Mrozek Sukalo, owner of Healthy Lifestyle Solutions in Scottsdale, AZ
Keep a workout DVD in your player at all times. Just push play and go. —Stella Sandoval, star of the DVD 10 Minute Solution: Latin Dance Mix
I clean the floor by "foot." Instead of using a mop, I step on a damp cloth and scrub with my right foot; my left foot dries with a second towel. For the final shine, I use two clean towels and glide to polish. My heart rate goes up and my hips get a workout—and it makes me giggle! It burns as many calories as a brisk walk. —Patricia Moreno, creator of the DVD Intensati: Great Body, Great LifePut a mini-trampoline in your kitchen, and march and bounce on it for 5 to10 minutes while you're waiting for your coffee to brew. —Tamilee Webb, star of the DVD The Best of Tamilee: Buns, Abs & Arms
I store a yoga mat under my bed and pull it out when I watch the news so I can stretch—I try to get in 10 minutes every night. —Chris FreytagSlip a set of wrist weights around the handle of your vacuum cleaner, then clean your way to stronger muscles and bones (or strap them on your wrists before you start to vacuum). The extra weight ups resistance, so you're sneaking in light strength-training. —Lynn Anderson, MD, star of the DVD series Anti-Aging Workout for Every Body
Don't sit down when you're getting dressed. Stand on one foot and lift the other up to put on your shoes or pants. This helps with balance and also firms your core. —Patricia Moreno
Do 10 triceps dips and 10 incline push-ups on the edge of the bed the minute you get up. —Tamilee Webb