It’s important to start 2012 as we mean to go on! To help you to do this, the following post offers you a few ‘rule free’ ways of sneaking more exercise into your daily living. This should be particularly relevant at a time when so many embark on a new fitness regime or are working extra hard to return to their pre-Christmas shape/condition!
1. The Cardio Commute
This is the most obvious and one of the most effective options on the list. I recently moved a few miles further away from work, which has forced me to look at my options for the daily commute.
Driving brings the stress of traffic, increasing petrol prices and not to mention, parking and public transport prices are always rising. So, to beat these problems, I am currently running the 5-mile commute to work around 6-7 times per week in total. To save overloading my legs and joints, I take the train when I feel I need the rest or the weather is awful.
The benefits of running/cycling to work are many including saving time, saving money, burning calories without noticing and boosting energy levels for the day!
What I particularly like about running to work is that it gives me time to think and the usual mental pitfalls of training are not there because you need to reach your destination (work!) on time. I appreciate that running to work is not an option for everyone but cycling often is, so exercising on your daily commute really can be a life changing choice! If the lack of changing facilities at work stops you from building up a sweat while commuting, there is surely some scope for you to walk further as part of your commute (e.g. parking further away from the station – yes time is pressure, but every little helps in the short, dark days of winter).
2. The TV warm down
Though I don’t like to admit it, many of my evenings are spent in front of the TV relaxing. They say our brain activity is as close to its levels of death when we watch TV as it ever will be while we are alive – that’s a sad thought but let’s face it, few of us are going to give up our addictive TV habits.
Given my increased running load (as above), stretching has become very important to help me avoid injury. It is easy to do some floor work whilst you watch TV. The stretches are best if they are gentle and held for longer periods of time given that sitting watching TV leaves the muscles cold and not very elastic – you have to ease them in. Again you are using up calories and doing something beneficial without really noticing the time pass by.
3. On your feet…and off them
We burn more calories when we are on our feet as our core muscles are permanently engaged to stabilise us – there is no solid chair to do all of the work. And so…it can be as simple as creating the need to get out of your chair more often during the day. Drink refills are an obvious choice – by only keeping a cup of water on your desk as oppose to a larger bottle, you will need more refills, which should mean leaving your seat more often. Further, topping up those fluid levels more regularly results in more toilet trips and more exercise when you would otherwise just be sat down.
Even when we are sat stationary, try to focus on tensing your abs a couple of times a day, by inhaling right to the pit of your stomach and slowly exhaling whilst pulling in your abs. Then there is the tensing of the glutes – classic stationary sculpting techniques just don’t do it too often or obviously or you may start to get some funny looks in your direction!
None of these ideas are complicated or hard to do but they really can increase our daily calorie consumption and help to keep a healthier mind. Before you know it, you can be increasing daily exercise levels without hitting the gym and feeling like your training. It is only a matter of habit.
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