What does it really mean to exercise? Good exercise is just moving in a healthy way and strengthening your body. Do we have to be in a gym or a fitness class to do that? Of course not! Fitness classes are important but if we go and slump in front of our computers right after, we undo some of the good work. While we are being trained by a professional instructor we learn how to move and stand correctly, how to challenge certain muscles, how to breathe well… Why can’t we apply this knowledge throughout the day? Here are some ideas on how to do that!
Ride and drive less, walk more!
This doesn’t mean you should never use your car or the elevator. Sometimes you are very tired, you are carrying something heavy or you’re in a big hurry. But if you can spare an extra minute or two and are perfectly capable of taking the stairs, why not do that instead? If it’s possible, why not bike rather than drive to work? It’s better for you and for the environment! Maybe on a weekend, when you have the time, you could even walk with your family to a park or playground which is farther from your home than usual. Chances are, you will all go home pleasantly tired and satisfied from the little expedition.
This is one of the best – and probably most difficult – things you can do. While sitting or standing, no matter where you are, consciously try to correct your posture. Those back, neck and shoulder muscles need to be trained, and not just during fitness classes. Just sitting up straight is an exercise in itself. It may be hard at first, or even feel uncomfortable, but if you make it into a habit your muscles will start supporting your body in the correct way and that will affect everything you do, even things like your digestion!
Pay attention to your everyday weightlifting!
Whether it’s your baby or groceries, you can’t avoid carrying some weight throughout the day. Why not treat that like an exercise? Remember everything you know from your fitness classes about how to pick up and carry weights (and how not to). Balance your grocery bags and shift your body into the best position for carrying them. Squat instead of bending forward when picking up a load off the floor. Pay attention to which muscles are in use and, if you feel up to it, find little ways to safely increase the pressure so that you are getting more of a workout.
Pause for stretches!
Why wait until you have been stuck in the same position for so long that everything cracks when you try to move? Every once in a while, remind yourself to stretch. Focus on all of your muscles, joints and ligaments and make sure they are moving freely and smoothly. You can spare a few minutes of your busy day to do that, the payoff is well worth it. It will keep your blood flowing and you will feel like you have more energy. Even your brain will work better when you release some tension and move around to let it get some oxygen.
These are all little things you can do to train on the go. What other ways can you find to exercise anytime, anywhere?
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