Not many of us can say we have more free time than we did a year ago. For all the new time-saving gadgets and techniques out there, we seem to be busier than ever. Finding ways to balance all the demands on our time is a real challenge. Priorities are shifted. Things get sacrificed. Our health shouldn’t take a back seat, especially as we get older. As you juggle your schedule, there are ways to keep your health in the forefront and little ways to get some exercise in throughout the day. I call it the “I Don’t Have Time to Workout” workout.
These are basic moves you can do, starting with your commute to work. First, grab a pair of comfortable shoes and a handtowel. You’ll need these (I’ll explain later). Now, once in your car with your seatbelt on, let the workout begin. Tighten your core. This means squeeze your buns together and pull in your stomach like you’re trying to pull your navel to your spine. As a beginner, that’s your move. Hold it for as long as you can, then partially release. Count to ten and squeeze everything again as tightly as you possibly can. Hold as long as you can. Repeat this sequence as often as you can, until you fatigue or reach your destination. When your core feels stronger, pulse the squeeze, but don’t release your buns or your abs. Alternate between pulsing your abs and squeezing your buns. You should really feel a burn!
These moves can be completed throughout the day while you’re sitting at your desk. You can even can add a challenge move: while tightening you abs, lift your left leg until your foot is a few inches off the floor. Bring it back down but don’t let your foot touch the floor. Do as many as you can with your left leg, then switch to your right. If you do this properly you’ll feel the burn in your thighs and your abs. Advanced move: alternate bringing your legs up , slmost like you’re riding a bike but without the circular motion. Remember to keep your abs tight.
Oops. I got ahead of myself. When you get to your office, if it’s safe to do so, find a parking space farther away than normal. Not blocks away, just several parking spots away. Don those comfortable shoes and walk that extra distance to your desk. Take the stairs if you can. Some other options to increase movement throughout the day: print documents to a printer farther from your desk so you have to get up and move a bit. Tighten your core as you get up from your seat and when you sit down again.
Back in your chair, roll up your handtowel and place it between your knees. Tighten your buns and squeeze your knees together, squeezing the towel. Hold for ten counts then release. When your inner thighs start to burn, pulse the squeezes as long as you can, then rest. Repeat that sequence two times. Work your way up to several sets.
If you’re wearing heels, kick them off for a couple of minutes so your feet are flat on the floor. Keeping you heel on the floor, lift the rest of your foot as high as you can toward your shin and feel the stretch in your calves. Alternate feet for a count of twenty or until you fatigue. Do two more sets.
Next, keep your toes on the floor, lift your heel and squeeze your calf as hard as you can. Count to three and switch feet. Alternate for a count of twenty or until you fatigue. Repeat two more sets.
When you’re standing, if you have the opportunity to run through these moves discreetly, here are a few move. First, with your core tight (buns squeezed and abs pulled in), slightly tuck and tilt your hips forward and up, feeling the work in your lower abs. Get a little work in your obliques (your “side abs) by concentrating the tilt toward one hip for a count of ten then switching to the othe side. You’re doing the move correctly when you feel the burn along the side front of your stomach.
Tightening your buns, raise up slightly on your left foot, slightly bend your left leg, then flex your right foot and move your right leg directly behind you. Move the leg by repeatedly squeezing your buns as tightly as you can, then pulse to finish. Repeat with your other leg. For a little variation, turn your leg out slightly and squeeze to lift, repeating on the other side.
That’s Part One! We’ll work on upper body in another post. Let us know what you think, and feel free to give us suggestions for other helpful moves.
Thanks for reading!