During lock down, I think micro workouts are one method many of us could use to improve fitness throughout the day with little effort and minimal time. Micro workouts incorporate exercises done in short bursts throughout the day. The end result is a large workload with less stress on the body.
How Micro Workouts Work
Micro workouts are composed of any exercise you choose done in a short amount of time. You can do them once throughout the day or many more times. For instance, doing a set of push ups whilst waiting for the kettle to boil or doing ten squats after coming off the toilet seat. The most intuitive way to incorporate micro workouts is to make them routine in some way, like in the example of doing some push ups (instead of quickly scrolling through social media) whilst the kettle is boiling.
Micro workouts help to break up the day and encourage movement. With many of us confined to our homes during lock down, micro workouts provide a great way to keep active. Normal workouts can be quite stressful on the body and the mind since the workload is all condensed into one session. With micro workouts, you can actually achieve a greater workload but spread throughout the day so the actual mental stress on the mind is much lower. As an added bonus, the exercise, even if it’s intense, will be for such a short period of time you won’t break a sweat!
In my opinion, micro workouts are great because they keep you moving, you choose the movement you do and they can result in fitness adaptations such as improved strength and muscular endurance depending on the exercise executed and how often you do it throughout the day. If you lift heavy weights, I don’t expect micro workouts to help you build muscle, but at the very least if you increase the intensity of micro workouts you should be able to maintain or stave off the decline in muscle mass that may occur from not being able to follow your usual training regime at the gym.
For example, on some days I’ll do anywhere from 4 – 8 sets of 15 push ups and 20 v-sits spread out through the day, but I’ll aim to have them all done before I eat dinner.
Micro Workout Lockdown Routines
Here are some ideas for when to ‘initiate’ a micro workout:
- Every 1 – 2 hours (4 times)
- When the kettle is boiling
- After you go to the bathroom
- When you feel like you’ve been sitting down for too long
- Just before a meal
Along with exercises you could incorporate as part of a micro workout:
- Push ups
- Sit ups or v-sits
- Tricep dips
- Glute bridges
You could even string together a series of exercises to create a mini circuit e.g. 10 push ups, 10 tricep dips and 10 squats.
If you struggle with the exercise you choose, you can decrease the intensity by simply doing less reps or performing an easier variation of the exercise such as knee push ups instead of normal push ups.
Similarly, exercise intensity can be increased by either adding more reps to the exercise and performing a more difficult variation of the exercise. If you’re fortunate enough to have exercise equipment in your house such as dumbbells, resistance bands or even a bar bell and some weights, you could use those as well.
You can either do micro workouts for a set number of reps or do them to failure. If you do them to failure, I recommend leaving a longer amount of time between micro workouts so your muscles have more time to recover.
What About Rest?
If you’re spending more and more time doing micro workouts throughout the day or are making the exercises more difficult, it’s certainly possible you’ll feel like you need to rest. Micro workouts are just a fun way to break up your day whilst incorporating movement and improving your health and fitness so it’s not the same as a regimented workout routine.
If you feel like you need to rest, take a break from it and maybe pick it up again the next day when you’re feeling better. Alternatively, you could switch up the exercises so you’re hitting the muscle groups which are less sore.
Thoughts On Microworkouts
I think we should all be doing some form of micro workouts throughout the day, particularly if we’re staying at home and not stepping out the house. Movement and using the muscle you have is important for improving fitness and health.
Thanks for reading, if you found this post useful I’d appreciate it if you could share it with friends and family!