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Sneaky workouts for busy girls: too busy to work out? We get you in shape in no time flat.


Your schedule is crammed. Between basketball practice, chores and homework, who has time to work out? You do! Oodles of fitness opps are lurking in that hyper-busy routine of yours. A few minutes here and there add up to a way healthier bod! Check out these sneaky ways for fast mini-workouts that just about any girl can squeeze into her day.


Start your workout first thing in the a.m. by stretching--it'll wake your body and boost your metabolism. After you slam that snooze button for the last time, stand up and do a full body stretch. Reach your fingers to the ceiling, arch your back and press your feet into the floor--you'll feel your whole body lengthen. Bend over and gently touch your toes a few times. Do a few arm circles. Throw in some neck rolls. A bit of early-morning stretching can increase your flexibility all day long.


Bored? Turn waiting into a workout by pacing back and forth. So what if the bus is late--you're burning calories! Get awesome abs, too, by pulling your stomach in. In fact, whenever you think of it during the day, contract your stomach muscles, holding them tight for as long as you can before relaxing. Work this move several times a day and you'll have tighter abs without ever hitting a gym!


Get fit while you're stuck in class. You can pull off these calf-tightening moves while sitting in your chair--and nobody will ever notice. Cross your legs and point the toe of the leg that's dangling, then trace the alphabet with your foot. When you're done, point your heel at the floor and stretch toes back for 10 seconds or so. Switch legs, and repeat on the other side. Just don't space out--the teacher might call on you!


Got an hour for lunch? Grab your sneaks and head outside, or use the school gym if it's allowed. Since you need to have time to eat lunch too--food is the fuel that makes your muscles respond to exercise, so don't skip--plan a workout that's simple but quick. A fast walk around the track is a good cardio workout, plus it provides some leg-toning action. Swing your arms and tighten your tummy as you stride for bonus muscle toning. Or climb up and down the school stairs for 10 minutes--it's great for your butt.

Only have 30 minutes? Split up your routine. One day, work your upper body for a few minutes by doing push-ups against a wall or doing arm circles. Work your lower body the next day with a few leg lifts, squats or butt squeezes.


First thing you do after school is get a snack? Work out while you're waiting for that microwave popcorn to pop. Get a cardio boost by jogging in place or doing jumping jacks. Need a beverage to go with that tasty snack? A couple of plastic water bottles can act as dumbbells for a few bicep curls.


Don't just work your wallet when you hit the mall. With thousands of square feet of space, the heat pumping and display windows filled with eye-candy, an indoor shopping mall is a great winter workout spot. To make the most of your mall aerobics, wear sneakers--you're working out, not working it. Take the stairs instead of escalators and elevators, and walk the entire mall circuit at least once--without stopping to shop! We know this takes discipline, but you can always go back later to reward yourself for your hard work with a purchase. You definitely deserve it!


Time spent on your iMac doesn't have to be fitness-free. If you have a rubber playground ball, squeeze it between your knees to tighten thighs while you IM your friends. Or try this: Scoot your bum forward a few inches, away from the back of your seat. Now, squeeze your butt cheeks together as hard as you can. Hold the squeeze for a few seconds, rest and repeat several times.


When your phone rings, take the call standing up. Just standing instead of sitting makes a big difference in how many calories you burn! Then, sit down and stand back up 10 times in a row during each call. Do that 10 times in a day, and you've done 30 squats--enough to seriously tighten your thighs. You can also grab a tennis ball and squeeze it in your hands, which will tighten your forearms (it's a great stress-buster, too).


Tying fitness into a regular chore, such as walking the dog, guarantees that you'll always find time for exercise. Rather than plopping your pooch at the first available fire hydrant, enjoy an easy jog around the neighborhood with him. He'll thank you for it--and so will your bod.
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Author:Helbig, Cathy
Publication:Girls' Life
Date:Feb 1, 2005
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