Does scheduling exercise into your busy calendar feel like trying to put a puzzle piece in where it doesn’t fit? If you have read my materials for any length of time, you understand that exercise is quite necessary for wellness; yet it can seem challenging to fit it in.
Part of your frustration may be based in the expectation that you have to spend an hour at the gym in order for it to qualify as exercise. Not so! What is important is movement of your joints and resistance for your muscles. And this can be done anywhere!
Prioritizing a few days a week at the gym and the rest of your workouts – let’s call it movement! – wherever you are sounds a lot more doable, doesn’t it? Not a gym member? No problem! Just incorporate movement wherever you are.
Walking – a normal activity that is very beneficial for our bodies. You can add movement to your day by parking further away from your office or the store you will shop in and simply increasing the number of steps you take. If you work in a building with stairs, skip the elevator and take the stairs! This is another simple way to incorporate movement. You get even more benefit when you focus on standing up straight and breathing deeply while you walk.
Planking – argh matey, I’m not referring to walking the plank, but rather doing a plank on the floor or against a raised surface. This position incorporates a variety of muscles and uses your own body weight for resistance. If you find that this position puts strain on your lower back, support your body on your forearms, make fists, and pull your elbows back toward your hips while raising your upper back. This will focus the effort on your core and take the pressure off your back. Start by holding this position for 30 seconds and build up to 2 minutes.
Burpees – a quick exercise that works well for cardiovascular and toning benefit. They are simple to explain, but not quite as effortless to do! You start in a standing position, drop down to do a push-up, put your feet under your torso to get back up to standing and jump in the air. You can plan to do several repetitions of these in the morning before you dress for work, or do two during each commercial break when you are watching TV in the evening.
Lunges and Squats are both exercises that are very easy to accomplish, and you can get creative with working them into your day. You can do squats while you brush your teeth morning and night, lunges around the kitchen while dinner is cooking or around your office while you are on the phone – anytime you are standing still during the day, fit in some squats or lunges to pass the time.
Wall Sit – an exercise that we don’t often think to do but it is very good for your leg muscles. Stand several feet away from a wall with your back to it. Bend your knees as though you were sitting – aiming for your knees to be at 90 degree angle and your back flat on the wall. Time your sit for at least 30 seconds and work to increase your time.
Stairs can also be the basis for a quick cardio workout. Run up the stairs, walk back down, and repeat. Get in as many reps as you can, and you will have a heart-pounding workout in 10 minutes or less.
Exercise – movement – really can be fun if you find some methods that you enjoy, rather than dread. One of my favorites is ballet class and my least favorite is running. It really is all about finding what you enjoy. What’s your favorite?