10 Ways to Squeeeeeze Some Fitness into Your Day

CityScape

View from a sunny park bench…

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you’ve had a fantastic holiday weekend! That you grilled, or barbecued, or were generally able to get outside and spend time with friends and family!

It’s important to take advantage of these times (like enforced national holidays) when we can slow down, even for just one day!

But for those other times, when slowing down isn’t an option, I offer the following suggestions to add some quick fitness to your daily routine!

1. Replace your office chair with a Pilates Ball. PilatesBall

You’ll get some funny looks. Double takes. Some eye rolls. I’m here to tell you it’s all just jealousy. YOU are sitting on a colorful bouncy ball. THEY have boring, generic gray office furniture…. it’s just their inner child throwing an “I want one” hissy fit.

Sitting on the ball subtly tones the muscles around your core as they work to keep you stable, and reminds you of your posture. Maybe not right for the whole day, but even just an hour can add some gentle activity to your seated time.

Note: When not in use, storage can be a problem. Consider supersized intra-office dodgeball matches to avoid storage. Exercise and therapy in one bouncing package!

2. Two birds. One stone.

While you engage in dental hygiene, engage those legs too! Embrace your inner ballet dancer (Yes. All of you.), and try some pliés! They’re basically just graceful lunges. No perfect technique needed! (I find my inspiration here from Hyacinth the Hippo).

Stand with your feet a bit wider than your hips, turn your toes out at about 45° and bend your knees as you lower your hips toward the ground. Then straighten your legs again. Bend…and straighten. Bend…and straighten. Keep your back straight. Keep going until it’s time to spit!

Maybe go for Round 2 while you swish your mouthwash?

3. Commercial-break Side-plank Challenge

SidePlank

C’mon. You know you’re sittin’ on the couch… watchin’ Mad Men… wearin’ your yoga pants. Increased justification for donning Lycra is just a commercial break away!

Can you hold your side-plank for one commercial ad? Two? The whole break?? (Kudos to you if it’s that last one…I’m jealous!)

Tips to help:

  • Stack one foot on top of the other, or take the top foot in front (as shown), lining up feet toe to heel.
  • Hold your hips high (No sagging! You are a plank!), and avoid collapsing into your lower shoulder.
  • Keep breathing and imagine with each inhale you’re getting lighter (mind over matter?).
  • Don’t forget the other side! Swap out each commercial or each commercial break.

4. Posture dahhh-ling!

It’s so easy to slump when you’re just standing there. In line at the coffee shop. In line for movie tickets. In line at Whole Foods…..grrrr….in line at Whole Foods….

Slumping never did any good- and it definitely never made the line move any faster. Instead of slumping, take the opportunity to reevaluate your posture! You’ll be surprised how many muscles are involved when you do:

  • Start with your feet hip width distance apart, weight balanced between the balls and heels.
  • Check in with your knees! Are they locked? If so, UN-lock them! Keep a micro-mini bend in them. Then imagine your knee-caps lifting upwards, which will help the thighs engage.
  • Now the pelvis! Imagine your tailbone sinking toward the floor, and your pubic bone lifting up toward your belly button.
  • Shoulders! Let ‘em relax. Give a little shrug, and let your shoulder blades move down your back and slightly toward one another. (If you’re in a Whole Foods, do this twice….).
  • Next, the spine! Think about getting longer/taller. Imagine the crown of your head lifting up, as your chin rests roughly parallel to the floor.
  • Take a deep breath, and marvel at all the muscles that keep you properly upright!

5. An afternoon stretch break (bettah than coffee!)

Speaking of posture- we tend to collapse in on ourselves when we remain in the same position for too long. So take a few minutes to streeeeetch and reset!

Reach your arms up, clasp your hands, take a deep breath and bend to the side…to the back…frankly, however it feels good. Maybe stand up and do it!

If you’ve got another minute:

From a standing position with a little bend in the knees, tilt forward at the hips and reach toward your toes. Take a few breaths. Sloooooowly roll back up to standing position.

Ahhhhhhhh……

6. The kitchen dumbbell

No, that wasn’t a dig at your domestic abilities…

It was a suggestion for a new kitchen ‘utensil’! Keep a hand weight or two on the kitchen counter, or on top of the fridge. While you’re waiting for your pasta water to boil, your tea-kettle to whistle, or your toast to pop up…do some bicep curls! Work the triceps ! Do lateral raises! Look! So straightforward, even these faceless cartoon-y people can do it! dumbbell2 7. Take up pacing

Subway platforms, department stores, wherever you’ve been standing….and waiting. Make the waiting work for you by walking/moving/adding steps to your pedometer!

8. Find a safe place….and dance it out.

Corny? Yep….ab-solutely. But it’s okay! Nobody’s watching (or if you’re in NYC, nobody cares)…pop in those ear-buds and shake it!

Even a little step-touch counts as moving! Add in a hip sway. This can lead to some shoulder action…snowball effect. Music & moving belong together. Don’t let your iPod down!

9. Run up the stairs!

Stairs are hard. You’re propelling your body weight UP….like, against gravity. So get it done faster in a burst! Make sure you walk it out afterward… especially if it was multiple flights!

*Alternate version– If running up is just not gonna happen- still take the stairs! But count them as you go– It’s oddly motivating!

10. Choose your own adventure!

PathDo you (or is it possible to) walk home from work? Or to & from the grocery store? Take an alternate route! The ‘scenic route’ if you will. Explore your ‘hood outside of your usual routine!

Regularly take public transit? Budget a little extra time, get off a stop or 2 early and find a way to your destination from there!

(Okaaay, you can use Google Maps if you need to…)

Enjoy your departure from the norm!

4 thoughts on “10 Ways to Squeeeeeze Some Fitness into Your Day

  1. I’d never thought about pacing as a form of exercise–it’s just something I’ve always done. But I love knowing it’s actually healthy! One strategy down–nine to go. Can’t wait to brush my teeth and plié later… 🙂

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