People tend to have very mixed feelings about multitasking. Some brag about their master multitasking skills, while others would argue that our seemingly constant need to do two (or five) things at once has put a strain on our ability to do good work and have good conversation. We can see the argument from both sides, but here’s an interesting perspective for you to consider — according to Mental Floss, multitasking while you exercise can actually ensure that you get a better workout. And if that’s the case, we need to talk about the best ways to multitask while you work out!
Here are the numbers to back up the news we just dropped: in a University of Florida study, adults who were challenged to complete mental tasks while simultaneously pedaling a stationary bike moved faster than those who weren’t given the additional tasks. Better yet? There was no negative impact to their cognitive performance.
Want to give this unique brand of multitasking a try? Check out these seven tips for multitasking while you work out.
1. Beautify while you work your booty.
No one ever said that you couldn’t pamper yourself while getting a good workout in. In fact, why shouldn’t the two go hand in hand?
If you feel like you never create time for the small indulgences that could make you feel a little brighter and more sparkly, combining those with your next sweat session might make you feel that much more motivated. Paint your nails and let them dry while you do some butt-busting moves. Stock up on inexpensive face masks and put one on every night while you squeeze in an ab workout or go through a yoga flow on your own.
Supermodel Miranda Kerr actually made this kind of multitasking cool when she posted a photo of herself face mask-ing and working out back in 2013. If she can do it, why shouldn’t we?
2. Sneak in workout moves at work.
You know better than we do what’s going to fly at your office, and we’re not here to encourage you to do anything that will get you in trouble with your boss… but there are plenty of micro-movements you can do during the workday that will tone your bod while you check items off your on-the-job to-do list! It’s kind of the best case scenario.
Michigan State University offers an impressive list of exercises you can do at work. You can do leg lifts in your office chair, move your filing cabinet to ensure that you’re taking more steps during work hours, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or challenge yourself to push-ups between meetings.
In case you need further incentive to multitask with work and fitness, MSU also notes the proven connection between working out at work and energy, productivity, and creativity. Spread the word — you may be able to recruit a whole group of co-workers who want to prioritize daytime exercise with you!
3. Get those steps in.
You might be sick of people talking (or bragging) about their daily step count, but getting your steps in has only become a thing because it promotes health and wellness! According to Harvard Health, regular physical activity — like walking! — reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and several other diseases, and people who take about 7,500 steps per day reduce their risk of dying from these diseases by about 40 percent.
There are two other big perks associated with walking, both of which make it the perfect candidate for a multitasking exercise.
Perk #1: You can easily work those steps into your schedule and routine! Take a few laps around your office building at lunchtime, park your car a little further away in the parking lot when you run errands, or walk to the upstairs bathroom when you’re home instead of always defaulting to the powder room downstairs.
Perk #2: You can get other things done while you walk! Listen to a personal development podcast that will help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions, spend a little QT with your dog, tune in to some of your fave throwback jams, or catch up with loved ones on the phone. The possibilities go on and on.
4. Catch up on your shows while you do cardio.
If you find yourself putting off a lot of meaningful activities and important to-do items in your free time because you tend to default to the couch for long binge-watching sessions, allow us to offer this game-changing suggestion: why not catch up on those shows while you work out so those other tasks can actually take priority when you have the time for them?
This is a sort of indirect way to multitask while you exercise, since it allows you to free up valuable hours in your schedule to accomplish essential chores or to spend valuable time with people you love. Plus, watching something that makes you happy can help the time pass more quickly during an especially challenging sweat sesh.
5. Make working out a group activity.
There’s no need to choose between working out and prioritizing quality time with your friends and loved ones. When you invite loved ones into your workout time, you can accomplish both of these things at once.
Gone are the days when missing out on QT with your partner, friends, or kids could be used as a regular workout excuse. We’re calling your bluff! It’s time to bring the people in your life into your exercise routine. Ask your family to join you for a walk after dinner, encourage your kids to kick the soccer ball around in the backyard on the weekends, or throw an at-home yoga party with all of your friends!
If we says so ourselves, this is probably the best way to multitask, since you get to be surrounded with people you love.
6. Work out at home!
As a rule, it will be easier for you to multitask while you work out when you’re exercising at home, where you’ll have easier access to other things you might need to tend to or accomplish. We love having the chance to get 100 percent of your attention at an in-person class at our Boulder, Malvern, or Villanova studio, but when that can’t happen, an at-home, multitasking session is absolutely better than nothing.
Check out a bulldog online class to get the full bulldog experience wherever you are!
7. But… don’t feel like you have to multitask all the time.
Don’t forget: it’s okay not to give into the pressure to juggle a million things at the same time. We are here to support you in knocking #allthethings off your to-do list, but we also think it’s important to be present whenever possible. If you have the opportunity to give a workout your full focus, then enjoy it! And if you need to take a day off from exercise in order to give your total attention to other aspects in your life, that’s very cool, too.
Multitasking has its place — and we’re here to support you when you have to do it — but don’t forget to live in the moment!
What are your best multitasking tips? Tell us on Instagram! (Boulder | Villanova | Malvern)
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Featured image: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash; Spin bike image: Erlend Ekseth/Unsplash