woman yoga with ribbon

Twenty-first century people are busy, no doubt about it. Whether you are stuck on the freeway in commuter traffic, travel around the country frequently for work, or are the designated chauffeur for your children's after-school activities you shouldn't neglect your physical health. Fitting exercise into your busy routine can be a challenge but the rewards are worth the trouble. Exercising for 30 minutes several days a week can reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Try to squeeze in a 10-minute mini-workout while you have downtime throughout your day.

Seated Stretches
One of the most common complaints of people who sit all day is a case of stiff muscles. Sitting in one position at your desk or while traveling puts strain on your entire body, especially your back. Learning some seated stretches to help you loosen up every few hours can keep you healthy and reduces your risk of injury, according to the University of Maryland Environmental Safety Department. All stretches should be done while keeping your back as straight as possible to avoid injury.

Leg exercises can be performed with knees bent or straight to stretch your thigh muscles. Bring your bent knee up to your chest while sitting in your chair. Use your hand under your thigh for support if needed. Alternatively, stretch your upper leg with a seated straight leg stretch. Extend your leg out straight in front of you while you are seated in a sturdy chair without wheels. Keep your heel on the floor and lean forward at the waist.

Stretch out your lower back while sitting in your office or on a plane with a nose-knee touch. Bend over your legs, keeping your head down between your knees. Your hands should dangle near your ankles.

Release tension in your neck by rolling your neck slowly from side to side. Tuck your chin into your chest and hold the position for 15 seconds to strengthen your neck muscles.

Portable Equipment
Packing portable fitness equipment helps you fit in a spur of the moment workout on the fly when your connecting flight is suddenly delayed. Pack running shoes, resistance bands or a jump rope in your carry-on bag to get your heart pumping on the go. Rent a locker at the airport, stow your bag and walk your way to fitness around the terminal. Find a quiet, unobtrusive corner and jump rope for 10 minutes. The increase in your heart rate helps stave off heart disease and you'll tone your arms and legs at the same time. Using resistance bands is another easy way to strengthen and tone your muscles on a traveler's schedule. Band exercises that don't require any other equipment include:

  • Rowing: Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you, hook the band around the soles of your feet and pull straight back with your arms.
  • Wrist extensions: Sit on a chair with knees bent and arm resting on your knees. Hold the band down with your foot and pull the band up with your hand.
  • Lower leg extensions: Wrap the band around your foot and hold the ends with your hands. Point your toes away from you and up toward the ceiling.

Carving Out Time
If you're a parent who spends a lot of her day waiting in the car for school dismissals, through sports practices or drama club rehearsals, you may be thinking about all of the constructive things you could accomplish during this so-called "dead" time. Use the free time to your advantage and squeeze in a workout. Get out of the car if you're in a safe location and the weather holds and walk around the parking lot. Do a few lunges or jumping jacks to keep yourself warm and limber during your child's soccer game; you might end up being the team's favorite cheerleader! Practice a few boxing moves in the car: punch the air as if all the stresses of the day are laid out in front of you. The possibilities are endless. Even 10 minutes of physical activity daily can help you feel less stressed and more energized.