Aside from the ole, “taking the stairs instead of using the elevator,” or “parking at the other end of the parking lot so you have to walk further,” here are some helpful tips when trying to fit more exercise into your day!
You Got a Case of the Squats
Whenever you bend over to put an item down on the floor or pick something up, instead of bending over from the waist, bend your knees and do a squat. In one day, I did 72 partial or full squats and I wasn’t even throwing things on the floor so I could squat to pick them up. My legs were a tad sore the next day so, for me, that’s enough proof that I was giving them a workout. Granted, every time you go down, you’ll look like you’re dropping a deuce out in the woods, but who the hell cares, you are (slowly, but surely) putting them gams to work.
Squat– With you feet shoulder’s width apart, feet should be slightly turned out (anywhere from 5-20 degrees), and it is extremely important to keep your knees tracking over your feet as you bend. With your back straight throughout the exercise, and most of your weight on your heels, push your hips back and bend the knees as though you are sitting in a chair. Now, many trainers say lower down until the top of the quadriceps (top of the thighs) are parallel to the floor, but to do a proper squat, you should go past parallel where the hip flexor (that’s where your hip bends) drops below the highest point of your knee. Hold your chest up as much as you can. As you rise, contract your tush (tighten it), push your hips forward and straighten your legs.
They Say the Laundry Never Ends
Ah, the laundry. I think doing laundry is a pain in my rosy red rump, and I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like once children start coming along. I try to make it a tad more tolerable by killing two birds with one stone. When you take laundry up to its designated place, take it one category at a time (i.e., short sleeved shirts, then jeans, then towels, etc.). Similarly, when bringing groceries in from the car, take no more than two bags in at a time and make multiple trips. Tedious? Yes, but you are burning calories and you’re still getting those dreaded chores done.
Knowledge IS Power
Buy yourself a fitness tracker. These days they range anywhere from $40 all the way up to $200 with features that count how many steps you take, the amount of calories you burn, as well as allowing you to enter what you have eaten throughout the day. Most of them connect right up to your smartphone, via bluetooth. The more fancy schmancy ones even track your sleep patterns, monitor your heart rate and display your text messages so you don’t have to take your phone out of your purse! Wha whaaaat?
I have to say they’re a fantastic boost of motivation. For instance, when you check out the total number of steps you’ve taken mid day and you notice you’re way off from meeting your steps goal, it will make you want to get your booty moving. I even found myself marching in place and watching my number go up and up on my smartphone. Having owned two different trackers so far (and about to get my third), I am definitely hooked.
But I Don’t Wanna Go to the Gym
When you’d rather stab your eyes out with hot pokers than go to the gym, have a go-to list typed out in the notes app of your smart phone or tablet of things you want to look up once you get there. Whether it is searching for anniversary gifts for your significant other, finding a way to reward yourself for being so damn awesome or googling your ex for EX-treme motivation; whatever it is, make sure you look forward to researching/doing/reading about it. What I do is whenever I have the urge to look something up, instead of looking it up right then, I simply add it to my gym list. And presto, I have the Web MD’s, “What Normal Poop Looks Like” page to keep me company when the gym is the last place I want to be.
Some experts say you shouldn’t read while you are doing cardio because you should be concentrating on your form, or if you’re reading, you’re probably working out at a lower intensity (which I think is a bunch of ca-ca). However, if it’s between you going to the gym, reading and burning a few hundred calories, or sitting spread eagle on the love seat, snorting what’s left of the Pirate’s Booty, chances are the naysaying experts would agree that going to the gym is the way to go.
Please Wait for the Beep
You get home from work and you don’t feel like cooking so you decide to heat up a frozen entree. You get your favorite meal out of the freezer, throw it in the microwave, type in four minutes and press start. Hmmm, what to do for the next several minutes? I used to raid the lazy Susan looking for any snack food that I could stuff into my kisser until the microwave beeped. I was literally eating up time before I consumed my real meal. Instead, use those few minutes to do some sort of activity! Continuously walk up and down the stairs or use only the bottom step and pretend you’re in a step class for four minutes. No stairs? No problem. Jump rope with your fake rope for a couple minutes followed by two minutes of jumping jacks, do walking lunges around the house and top it off with some crunches, play an upbeat song and dance your cheery cheeks off, or if you’re totally zonked, just aimlessly wander about. Now, none of these exercises will burn enough calories to count as your workout, but it’s much better than standing in the kitchen adding to your food intake for the day.
Instead of zoning out at the sink while you brush your teeth, walk around your bedroom, do some squats (refer to the first tip on how to do a proper squat) or hold the counter to help you balance and perform calf raises or side leg raises.
Calf Raise- Stand with your feet hip’s width apart and toes straight forward. Standing up nice and tall with straight legs and tummy pulled in, simply lift your heels off the floor as high as you can, so your on your tippy toes, hold for a second, then lower. Do as many as you can during your teeth brushing session.
Side Leg Raise- With toes straight forward, belly in and standing tall, balance on one slightly bent leg. Now lift the other leg up and out to the side as high as you can, but make sure the toes on the working leg remain forward, so they don’t stray up to the ceiling. Lower it back down to the starting position and repeat. Instead of lowering the leg right away, you can also keep the leg out to the side and perform small pumps (pulsing up) until your lovely limb is tired and repeat with the other leg.
Here are a couple more tips for ya. Although not really unique, I feel they are worth mentioning…
Deliver Your Message Face to Face- While at work, keep the emails and phone calls to co-workers at a minimum. Get your booty up out of your chair and pay them a visit instead.
Walk and Talk- Make it a point to be up and walking around when you’re talking on the phone.
Become a Clean Freak- Depending on what you are doing, cleaning can burn up to 400 calories per hour. So get the sponge and bucket out and make that house sparkle.