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We're all pressed for time and eager to find ways to multitask -- especially when it comes to exercise and getting in shape. We identified several activities you can pursue while conquering the flab. Better yet, they're all free.

Multitasking gets a bad rap in some quarters. The main argument against the notion is its impossibility. According to some research, we're not doing multiple things at once but actually switching our attention from task to task extremely quickly.

Some of us are not convinced, however, so let's make a few assumptions. More likely than not, you drive to work and/or ferry the kids around town. You shop. Sometimes you stand in line. Surely you sit in front of a computer. Do you ever watch TV? Clean the house?

These are all opportunities to add a free exercise component, which quickly propels you into the realm of multitasking. In other words, daily activities can be milked for optimal (as in, exercise to get in shape) value.


How many times do you remember hearing your mother say, "Sit up straight"? Get over the nagging aspect and accept that there's something to the advice. Using good posture when seated is a free and effective way to multitask into shape. Aside from simply looking better, sitting up straight helps to strengthen your spine and supporting muscles. Use time spent in the car to focus on posture.


When parking at the grocery store or mall, pick a spot far from the entrance to stretch out the amount of walking time. While inside, mindfully initiate lunges and squats as you reach up and down to grab various items. Use your shopping cart handle as a dancer's barre to strengthen your core while pulling and pushing the cart, one-handed, to and from each side.

Working Your 9-5.

The options here are endless. Instead of remaining glued to the computer screen all day, find ways to change up your work routine. Stroll down the hall to a colleague's office for a talk rather than firing off a series of emails. While standing at the printer, engage in some calf raises. Take a quick jaunt around the office, a tactic that gives the impression you have important places to be and is also effective multitasking to get in shape.

Watching TV.

The average American spends more than 34 hours a week watching television, according to Nielsen, the company that measures these things. With such an astounding amount of time at stake, it's impossible to ignore ways to multitask. Get yourself in shape by walking in place or lunging while watching the news. Run around the house during commercial breaks instead of racing for the kitchen. Stow a set of weights nearby and complete several repetitions during your shows.

Standing in Line.

Multitasking that incorporates isometric exercise for core strength is easy while standing in line. One simple exercise to try without attracting a lot of attention: Take a deep breath and tighten your abdominal muscles, bringing them in towards your spine as you exhale. Squeeze for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat as many times as possible before it's time to enter your payment info.


Make this domestic chore fun. Turn on your favorite music, put on stretchy clothing, and start dancing. Get into the mindset of moving and shaking, stretching and sweating while dusting, vacuuming, washing, and picking up.

Other enjoyable ways to multitask to stay in shape: laugh, chase your kids around, start a garden.

Still other tasks will save you money while improving your health: rake leaves, shovel snow, walk the dog, paint the house, rearrange furniture, lift and carry things -- basically, anything you can do yourself (instead of paying someone else to do it) that requires physical activity.

And remember, keeping active physically allows your endorphins (the happy and smart body proteins) to stream through your system, helping to create an overall sense of well-being.

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