Thursday, June 17, 2010

Turn everyday activities into exercises.

The daily grind is an unavoidable beast. We do our best to conquer it as often as possible, usually with great success, but sometimes the going gets tough and something gets pushed off the schedule. Typically, that something is your workout. Is it not? Make note—there are sneaky little ways you can bring the gym into your life when you can't actually get to the gym itself. All you have to do is get creative by turning everyday activities into strength training moves. For example:

1) ABDOMINAL STOP SQUEEZES: When you drive from here to there in your crazy frenzy to run errands or make meetings, you typically encounter a number of stoplights or stop signs. They're extremely annoying when time is of the essence, but I say multitask by squeezing and releasing your abs in 10-second bouts until the light turns green or the right-of-way is yours for the taking. Such a move really hits your transverse abdominal muscles, which is the innermost layer of your core.

2) BICEP BAG HOOKS: When you pay for your merch at the grocery store, and if you only have one or two bags, skip the cart and carry it all to the car. Not down by your side, though. Bend your arms at 90 degrees, keeping your elbows in and shoulders relaxed, then hook the bag on your forearms for a nice isometric bicep builder. And ladies, this move works well with purses, too. Lord knows we pack it in heavier than we should. Just make sure you switch from arm to arm so everything stays balanced.

3) DETERGENT BOTTLE BICEP CURLS: Piles of laundry everywhere frustrate the best of us because, well—we're out of underwear. But before you add the detergent to the washer, do a set of bicep curls. Those big bottles can be heavy when they're full! (You can also try triceps extensions, but if the detergent bottle is too heavy, reach for the fabric softener instead.)

4) STAIRCASE MINI-MARATHONS: If your hands are free and your body is capable, don't just walk up the stairs—run! You're going up anyway, might as well take advantage of an easy burst of cardio. If you can't run, at least walk with as much purpose as you can muster up. Either way, you'll feel it! And it'll feel good.

In addition to the above, consider wearing lightweight ankle and wrist weights throughout your day. Whether you're cleaning or running errands, or simply making your way through a typical schedule at the office—they may seem light, but they'll be just enough weight to challenge your muscles on a day they might go otherwise unchallenged. Also, find places to sneak in walking lunges. Say, from the living room to the garage as you take the dog out. Or up the driveway after you've grabbed the mail. It's like a game, really. Can you overcome the odds (your schedule) and sneak in exercise without missing a beat? I bet you can, and I'd like to hear about it.

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