Following up on my recent post “Start Working Out! Now!” I wanted to share some great, mini-workouts that anyone, even Mrs. BusyBusy Pants McOverworkedstein, can fit into every day life. By no means do these mini-workouts take the place of a real, bona fide exercise regimen, but they are a great place to get started incorporating movement into everyday life, or to keep moving and burning those calories between workout days. When you have a regular exercise routine, you’ll find that your body starts to physically crave movement, like your muscles are itching to be flexed! These little mini-workouts are great tricks to scratch that itch, boost energy and maximize calorie burning all day long.
- The Subway Ballerina: While waiting for the train, I often find myself sub-consciously doing pretty little ballerina moves that are super-toning, but still subtle enough to not attract too much attention. Opt for little leg lifts (lifting leg behind you, reps of 15 per side) and little plié/calf-raises (in first position, squat slightly and then get on your toes, come down, repeat. Reps of 15), that will tone up your butt, calves and thighs, while you’re reading Lucky Mag and waiting for your train! Can’t find a seat on the train? Do your pliés while you’re standing!
- The Stairmaster: You know you should be taking the stairs, but now, actually do it! Leaving your building, going up to your office… any time you have a chance to take the stairs (particularly going up), do it! It’s great cardio, and a wonderful workout for your legs
- The Compulsive Walker: This is the easiest daily mini-workout you can do. If you live in an urban environment, this is definitely a lot easier. Get off the train a stop early on your walk to work, and at the end of the day, pick a station slightly further away, so you can have a nice, long walk to end your day! If you live in a rural or suburban environment, pick a parking spot further away from your destination, so you can sneak a longer walk in. For lunch, skip the car, and get the gang together to walk to your favorite lunch spot! In the evening, a wonderful activity to do as a couple or family (or even solo!) is taking a nice walk after dinner! It gets everything moving, improves digestion, and is another great way to sneak in some physical activity!
- The Office Iron Pumper: Depending on what you do for a living, there is tons of time throughout the day when you can multitask in some exercise throughout your workday. When I had an office job, I, along with a lot of the women I worked with, kept some light weights in their cubicles to do bicep curls (3 sets of 10-15 reps per arm), or overhead triceps extensions (3 sets of 10) while talking on the phone at work. Don’t want to bring weights to work? You can use water bottles, soup cans, or any other comfortable 2-4 lb. item!
- The Ball Chair Baby: I am a big fan of the exercise ball office chair. In addition to being amazing for stability, posture, and core strength, the ball chair comes with a ton of awesome exercises you can do, right at your desk! Your ball chair should come with a little booklet of workouts, but my favorites are seated leg lifts, seated side crunches, and trunk rotations. You can do these throughout the day to maximize time spent in front of the computer, and tone up that core!
Natasha Uspensky, CHHC
Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor