You Do Have Time!
Incorporating Exercise Into Your Daily Routine
The biggest reason that most people give for why they are unable to fit exercise into their life is lack of time. Most think that the only way they can effectively exercise is to go to a gym or hit the bike and running path. Although those are good ways to include fitness in your life, there are other innovative and more time-effective ways to include exercise in your daily routine.
Almost everyone has to clean the house, mow the lawn and make meals. How about turning these activities into exercise? Below are several ways to turn your everyday activities into a workout for your muscles and cardiovascular system.
As with all fitness programs, remember to start slowly and stop if any activity causes discomfort or pain. It is also a good idea to check with your health care provider to make sure you are healthy enough to start an exercise program.
Mowing is a great activity for your heart and a total body workout. You can increase your exercise level by picking up your pace and really putting your upper body into pushing the mower. Try and maintain at least a 20-minute bout for optimal cardiovascular benefit.
Weeding and gardening are also wonderful ways to strengthen your body. Remember to use good body mechanics and always lift with your legs, not your back. When hoeing or raking, use your arms and legs to do the work. Take frequent rest breaks to avoid injury, and don’t lift anything that feels too heavy.
Vacuuming is a great way to strengthen your upper body and get a moderate cardiovascular workout. Remember to use your arms and avoid putting your back at risk by leaning too far forward as you vacuum. Keep your posture fairly upright and bend from your knees, not your back, to reach the areas under furniture.
Now You’re Cooking
Most people wouldn’t think that meal preparation is a good time for flexibility or strength training, but it actually is a great time to include several of the following exercises:
- Buttock squeezes while stirring or mixing.
- Backbend stretches in between cutting or cleaning vegetables.
- Upper body strengtheners by pressing against a wall or counter and doing mini push-ups.
- Mini squats between each place setting of the table.
- Use soup or vegetable cans as weights. Do 10 to 15 repetitions of bicep curls, straight-arm lifts and tricep extensions.
- Gallon juice or milk jugs make great weights. Do sets of 10 to 15 repetitions several times a week.
Chat Your Way to Fitness
Most of us spend quite a bit of time on the phone. Whether you’re scheduling your next doctor’s visit or getting advice from your mother-in-law, this is a perfect time to grab a dust cloth and your cordless phone. Keep moving room to room as you dust, doing some squats and standing leg lifts as you pass through each room.
Workout at Work
Try and take a break every hour or so while working at your desk and stretch by slowly twisting your body to the left and right. Raise your arms up over your head and grasp your hands together, bringing them behind your head until you feel the stretch. Push your chair away from the desk and drop your body down slowly in front of the chair until your hands reach the floor. Hold for several seconds, and press yourself back up slowly.
On the Road Again
With many of us spending so much time in the car, it’s a great place to squeeze in a workout. But remember to keep your focus on the road as you do the following exercises:
- Tummy tighteners can be done by slowly pulling your tummy toward your back and holding for five to 10 seconds. Don’t hold your breath while doing these exercises – just keep breathing normally throughout.
- Kegel exercises are great to do while driving; they help to improve pelvic strength and function. Start by slowly contracting your pelvic floor muscles and holding for a count of 10. Work up to 10 to 20 contractions several times each day. If you have trouble locating your pelvic floor muscles, consult with your health care provider for instruction.
You’re All Wet
The shower is a great place to do some gentle stretches. Your muscles are at their optimal temperature for stretching because of the warm water. Place your hands against a wall at shoulder height and press forward until you feel a stretch in your upper body and shoulders.
- Instead of leaning down to reach shampoo or soap, do some gentle squats and hold for several seconds until you feel the stretch.
- Raise your hands up over your head, and place them against a wall and lean forward. You should feel the stretch in your upper shoulders and chest.
- Stand so that the shower is hitting your upper shoulders and neck and do some slow side-to-side neck rolls.
- While towel-drying off your body, use the towel to stretch by placing it behind your back and grasping each end and pressing your arms forward. You can also twist side to side.
- Do some hamstring stretches as you lean forward to dry yourself. Hold several seconds until you feel the muscles release.
You will be surprised by how quickly your can improve your fitness level by just including these simple tips into your everyday activities. Now there is no excuse for not including exercise into your lifestyle!