How To Work Out When You Can’t Work Out

There’s nothing better than slotting a nice hour-and-a-half workout into your day to spice up the monotony of your routine. Getting your workout in the morning is a great idea, you think—or maybe after class.

But maybe the alarm doesn’t go off. Maybe class drags on for an extra 15 minutes, or a group project need to be discussed. Oh, and what about that family thing tonight? And the Canadiens game is on, too.

Looks like your workout just got cut in half—or worse. Maybe you decide to leave it ‘til tomorrow—and tomorrow, and tomorrow. Unfortunately, there’s no true replacement for a good, heart-pumping workout at the gym.

But you can still reach the targeted goal of 500 to 1000 metabolic equivalent (MET), minutes per week, which is 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activity each week, according to Concordia health promotion specialist Owen Moran.

“You’re better off doing 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week” Concordia health promotion specialist Owen Moran.

One MET minute is measured by the rate at which someone starts to sweat, or the rate of energy consumption.

“You’re better off doing 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week,” stressed Moran when asked about trying to find easier alternatives. Nevertheless, there are ways to do less vigorous activities and reach the desired 500 MET a week.

“Rigorous [exercise] has more benefit to moderate, but nevertheless, [500 MET] is the minimum,” said Moran.

A 1.0 MET measurement is about the amount of energy you might expend while sleeping. A 2.0 is the equivalent of taking a shower, and a 3.0, like, say, walking the dog, is considered moderate-intensity activity. Each MET minute is measured at the point that the heart starts pumping and sweating occurs.

Here’s a few tips if you’re tight on time and need to get your sweat on in a hurry, with how many MET minutes it adds up to.

1. Cleaning the house—Mopping or scrubbing the floors can get you huffing and puffing. Up to 3.5 MET.

2. Sex—Yup, it’s a workout. And it’s free—usually. Up to 2.8 MET.

3. Groom and grip—Squats, calf raises, and bicep curls are all possible in the shower or when brushing teeth. Be careful, though—bathtubs can be slippery when wet. 3.8 MET.

4. Stretching—Not the best for burning calories, but important nonetheless. And it helps with tip number two. 2.3 MET.

5. Running on the spot—Too many super-fit joggers judge you when they pass by? A 10-minute stationary run will do the trick. Up to 6.0 MET

6. Ball power—Squeeze a stress ball and buy an athletic ball to sit on while you work at your desk. Let go of your stress to the tune of 2.8 MET.

7. Use your feet—Instead of taking the bus to the metro, walk. And don’t get angry when the escalators aren’t working—get climbin’! That’ll use up at least 4.0 MET.

8. Sit and push—When you’re watching the Habs play, get your ass on the ground and do some pushups and sit-ups. At least 3.8 MET.

9. Dance—Let loose and swing your partner. If you play your cards right, this could also lead to tip number two. Up to 7.8 MET.

10. Standing—Why sit when you can stand? You can’t be a couch potato when you’re chilling against the wall. This also comes in handy if you’re in a bar and can’t manage tip number eight, and it’ll still net you 2.5 MET.

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 32, Issue 07, published October 11, 2011.

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