Take 8 Mini Exercise Breaks a Day With Our On-the-Hour Workout Challenge

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Being cooped up at home — even when you know it's for the greater good — can make you go a bit stir crazy, especially when so many of your go-to stress relievers (yoga class, running club, the weight room) are off-limits.

This month we're challenging you to move for just a minute every hour during your workday.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

To help you get (and stay) active during this time of social distancing, we're issuing a new challenge: Get moving at home every hour on the hour. We'll kick things off on April 1, 2020.

Here's how it works: During your regular work hours (say, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or whatever your schedule looks like), pick one of the below exercises to do for 30 to 60 seconds at the top of the hour. We recommend doing a different exercise or variation every hour, because even your at-home workouts can get monotonous if you don't switch things up.

Choose From These 8 Exercises

You can do these moves and their variations just about anywhere:

Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

To get a printer-friendly version of this list, click here.

How to Join the On-the-Hour Workout Challenge

  • Step 1: Print or Save Your Challenge Checklist. Use the above graphic to remind yourself of your exercise options and keep yourself on track.
  • Step 2: Join Our Facebook Challenge Group. This supportive community is where you'll find tips and motivation throughout the month.
  • Step 3: Get Moving! Every hour on the hour during your workday, pick a different one of the eight exercises and do it for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Step 4: Share Your Progress. Post a photo or screenshot of your list of exercises, a video of you doing the moves or a sweaty selfie to our group. We want to cheer you on!

Reasons to Stick With Your Workout Routine at Home

When you're surrounded by dishes in the sink, laundry to fold, kids to entertain and meals to prep, an at-home workout may be the last thing on your mind. But the benefits of regular exercise will help convince you to ditch the excuses.

1. Physical Activity Supports Your Immune System

Exercise helps important immune cells circulate throughout your body, and consistent exercise has been shown to enhance immune defense activity, according to a May 2019 paper in the Journal of Sport and Health Science. Plus, more active people report fewer sick days, according to a May 2017 PLOS One study.

2. Exercise Helps Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Stress and anxiety are currently high, but exercise can both alleviate those symptoms for a few hours and reduce your risk of recurrence in the long term, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Exercise is technically a stressor, as it taxes your body, but regular physical activity actually helps relieve stress over time, according to a May/June 2013 paper in ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal. It can't make everything better, but it can help you feel better equipped to handle what life throws at you.

3. Home Workouts Help You Maintain Your Gains

If you're working out consistently and then stop for a prolonged period of time, you'll lose a lot of the progress you've made. A runner's speed and endurance will drop, a weight lifter's strength and muscle mass will decrease and pounds you lost can start to creep back on. Stall that decline by staying active however you can.

Get tips on how to stay healthy, safe and sane during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

How to Make the Most of This Challenge

These simple tips can help you stay motivated and committed to this month's challenge.

  1. Pick your exercises. Each day (or the night before), pick the eight moves you want to do and in what order. You can write them down or keep a note in your phone to remind yourself what you're doing and when.
  2. Switch it up with variations. Doing basic squats, lunges and push-ups day after day isn't just a recipe for boredom, you'll also see your strength plateau. Use the links above for variations to keep things interesting.
  3. Set a reminder. It's easy to get lost in your work or a Netflix binge, so program your phone or other alarm to go off every hour on the hour. That way, you'll never miss one of your "exercise snacks."
  4. Get creative. If your favorite move isn't on our list, you can still incorporate it into your daily routine! Our list is merely a starting point to make sure you hit every major muscle group each day.
  5. Keep up with your daily steps. These exercises will keep your body moving, your muscles flexing and your heart pumping, but don't stop there: If you already set a goal from our Daily Steps Challenge, stick with it. Otherwise, aim for 7,500 to 10,000 steps per day. Every little bit of physical activity adds up to benefit your health.
  6. Add weights or improvise. For many of these moves, you can add dumbbells, a kettlebell or resistance bands if you have them at home. If you don't, you can make your own weights with soup cans, gallon water jugs, bags filled with books or any other heavy object.
  7. Go above and beyond. We set up this challenge to give you eight breaks throughout your day. But if you feel inspired to get sweaty on the hour for more than eight hours, go for it!

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