You're busy, so make a workout work for you.

Exercise can often seem inconvenient. You may need special attire or equipment. And there’s always the problem of time. How can you find any time to change clothes, work up a sweat, and then clean yourself off? You already have to worry about getting things done for work, cooking healthy meals, and spending time with friends and family!

Well, how about fitting in time during the workday to exercise? Many of the moves that I teach in my pilates classes can be done in regular clothes and don’t cause you to sweat any more than you already do during a stressful meeting. So, if you need a boost during the day, simply close your office door (if you have one), choose a few or all of these moves, and get moving! Even if you don’t have an office door, maybe your co-workers will want to join in!

Squat

Squats are so good for your lower body and for leg strength! Which is why I’m giving you three different variations.

For the first variation, align your heels just outside of your hip bones. Sit back and down with your hips, keeping your chest up and your abs engaged. Now push through your heels and squeeze your glutes back up to standing. Repeat ten times.

Triple pulse squat

Use the same form as the squat, but break it up into triples. Lower yourself into a squat in three discrete stages, and then squeeze your glutes quickly to come back up in one fluid motion. Repeat ten times.

Squat slide

With your feet hip-width apart, push your hips down into a squat. Reach one leg towards the side, and reach your arms overhead while you do it. Do ten on each side. 

Lunge reach and twist

With your feet still hip-width apart, step one leg back long, keeping that back leg straight, while bending the front leg, so that your knee is over your ankle. Reach your arms up overhead with a micro-bend in the back, then bend that back knee and twist your torso towards the front leg. If you need to, you can shorten the range of motion for this move. Do five on each side.

Standing leg circles

This move will give you a really good hip opener. This will also both stretch and strengthen your adductor, a thigh muscle, as well as strengthen your transverse abdominis, the innermost layer of your core. Keeping your hip, knee, and ankle aligned, circle and lift your right leg. Do ten on each leg. 

Standing windshield wipers

This move is mobility and magic for your abs and thighs! Extend your hip towards one side of the room. Then, bring them towards the middle of your body and across in order to extend it over to the other side of the room. Do ten on each side.

Robot arms

Now that your legs and abs are all warmed up, let’s move on to your arms. Bring your arms out to shoulder height. Bend at the elbows, with your palms facing forward. Keeping that bend, bring your arms down to the middle and then all the way down. Then, keep moving from the middle and up, to the middle and down, until you’ve come up with your arms twenty times.

Roof raisers

Move your arms forward just slightly this time. Flex your palms so that they’re facing the ceiling. Then, push up and back down with both of them. Do this twenty times.

Plie reaches

Back to abs and legs, first with your obliques. From a wide squat, put your hands by your side. Lean your hips from one side to the other, working those obliques and allowing your fingers to graze the back of your leg. Do ten on each side.

Forward and back lunge

Stand with your feet hip-width apart again. Take a step forward, and slowly bend both knees until your back knee is just above the floor. Stand back up, take a step back with the same leg, and again bend both knees until your back knee is just above the floor. Repeat this back and forth motion five times on one leg. Then, switch sides and repeat five times on the other leg.

Shifting side lunge

Step your feet out wide, with arms outstretched shoulder height. Shift your hips back, while bending one knee and keeping the other straight. Tap your opposite arm to the floor. Come back up and do it on the other side. Repeat ten times on each side.

Standing scoop crunch

Last move! Lift your arms shoulder height in front of your face, bending them at the elbow. Exhale, and while exhaling, crunch your abdominals in while drawing your knee towards your elbow. Hollow out the belly. Put your leg down, and do the same with the other leg. Do ten crunches on each side.

So how do you feel now? These twelve exercises are so simple, and yet they make you feel so much more awake and engaged. And perhaps they make you feel a little more lively than you did before.

This workout may not be as vigorous as a gym “sweating bullets” workout, but it’s functional. And, it still provides you with the benefits you would want from a workout—all without too much time, sweat, equipment, and even without changing into workout gear!