However, this lethargy doesn’t have to cancel out your ability to partake in and reap the real benefits of physical activity. It may sound blasphemous to some, but intense bouts of cardio, heavy weightlifting, and streams of sweat dripping down your face are not requirements of every type of exercise. Sometimes it helps to just take things slowly, listen to your body and feel good about what you do accomplish in that apathetic state, no matter how minimal it may be.
Here are seven simple workout options for when the thought of leaving the sofa simply makes you cringe.
1. Stretch it out.
Let’s start with the basics: Not getting up at all.
Believe it or not, some fitness experts even say daily stretching is just as important as regular exercise. Stretching proves extremely beneficial for your flexibility and joint range of motion. It also helps increase blood flow to the muscles, giving them a little “wake up” nudge that you might not know you need. Whether you’re in bed or on the couch, take a little time to work through each muscle group with gentle, dynamic stretching motions.
Know that you’re actually doing your body a huge favor, no matter how lazy you feel, when you work through these simple movements. Not to be underestimated: They also just feel really good!
2. Try some restorative yoga poses.
If you can manage to roll yourself onto the floor, you’ve got this one in the bag, too.
Restorative yoga helps take your stretching efforts to the next level by honing in on particularly sore muscles that may be to blame for that lazy mood you’re experiencing. These six postures will help you loosen tight hamstrings, relive pressure in your lower back, open those hips and send increased blood flow to your brain for a rejuvenating yet relaxing workout.
To benefit as much as possible from these movements, try to spend several minutes in each posture, breathing slowly and allowing your muscles to relax completely before moving to the next one.
3. Use those TV commercials to your advantage.
If you’re willing to stand in front of your couch rather than sit on it, we can move on.
During the commercial breaks of your current television show, move through a quick bodyweight circuit. Pair squats with the first commercial, pushups with the second and a plank hold with the third to hit all major muscle groups in under two minutes.
If you’re mid-Netflix binge, alternate through these same movements during the pauses between episodes, or when you hear your favorite character say their infamous tag line. If you’re more of a sports fan, you can even use aspects of the game as cues for different exercise challenges.
Down time and a few reps squeezed in here and there? The best of both worlds.
4. Take to the stairs.
Just because you aren’t at the gym with a Stairmaster in front of you doesn’t mean you can’t put those legs to work in a similar fashion. Every 30 minutes, make a point to head to the nearest staircase in your home and walk up and down it three times before returning to your imprint on the couch.
It’ll likely take you only a minute or two, so no need to worry about over-committing. Plus, you burn eight to nine times more energy climbing stairs than you do while sitting, and burn approximately one calorie for every 10 steps you take. Score.
5. Tidy up.
If you’re willing and able to move about your house, you might as well take the time to do a little sprucing, right?
Grab that duster, broom or vacuum, and tackle one room at a time, kicking out any unwanted dust bunnies. Turning this chore into your workout for the day isn’t such an absurd idea — you can burn up to 123 calories vacuuming, 133 calories doing laundry and 127 calories doing general cleaning like sweeping and dusting. Kill two birds with one stone and return to your coziest lazy place knowing that despite your inclination to remain immobile, you stil proved somewhat productive.
6. Take a walk.
Now this one requires the most effort of all — putting on shoes that aren’t lined with fur and actually stepping outside.
But if you can manage a small outdoor adventure, take a leisurely stroll around your neighborhood, and if you have a dog, obviously invite it along. This low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise works wonders for both your mental and physical health without requiring tons of effort. If the slow pace feels a little monotonous, tune into your favorite playlist or podcast for an audible distraction as you move.
And if you just can’t force yourself to work your body out of its sedentary state, train your mind instead. Find a comfortable seated position, decide whether you’re more comfortable with your eyes open or closed, and just breathe.
This practice of letting your thoughts come and go while you remain in the present moment strengthens your ability to concentrate, reduces your stress levels, and even boosts your feelings of happiness. You might even find that once your mind lets go of its lazy desires, the body will follow in the same direction.