In this day and age, people who say they don’t know that exercise is healthy is probably telling a fib. Many people find it difficult, though, to carve out time for exercise—or what they think of as exercise. Minor adjustments to things you do every day can make a difference in your physical fitness, health, outlook and stamina.
1) Talking: Instead of sliding into the stuffed chair or onto the couch to have a telephone conversation with a friend or neighbor, take a stroll around the house as you talk. Even a few laps at a reasonable pace helps strengthen your heart, your skeletal system and your muscles. A five-minute conversation a few times each week can account for many miles on a treadmill at the gym. If you use a cell phone, that’s even better, for the range is irrelevant. Walk around your property or take a stroll up and down the pavement. As you ease yourself into this routine, you don’t have to race around the block, but a few laps to the corners of your block can even help boost your immune system and circulation, too.
2) Running Errands: Who hasn’t driven round and round trying to find a parking spot on a busy shopping day? For very little money, you can purchase a shopping stroller and use that to carry your purchases. Park the car near a shopping centre and walk to your destination and back again. As you build your strength and stamina, taking breaks is allowed and encouraged! Just don’t wait too long before you start walking again: You don’t want the milk to get too warm!
3) Sitting: As you sit reading the paper or watching your favourite show or film, do isometric exercises. Though this takes practice, isometric exercises help reduce lactate build-up in your muscles, help tone them and even improve muscle control. Isometric exercises can engage any muscle group in the body, and you don’t even have to stand to do them. For your abdominal muscles, flexing the upper abdominal muscles, then the lower muscles then the obliques—your side muscles—tone and strengthen your tummy muscles. Keeping your legs bent, slowly raising them to a 45-degree angle from your torso, holding them in place for five seconds and slowly repeating the exercise can tone the upper muscles. Leaning back slightly and repeating the exercises will engage the lower abdominals. Carefully twisting your torso as you hold your legs up helps the oblique muscles even more.
4) Lying down: Careful, controlled stretching helps loosen stiff muscles, improves circulation and just plain feels great. Don’t resist. Stretch often. Supporting your lower back while you lie prone and lifting your legs several inches off the ground then carefully lowering them helps the front muscles of your legs and your abdominal muscles. Just remember to breathe through the entire exercise.
5) All positions: Bending and stretching helps keep your muscles loose and keep your circulation in good shape. Grabbing hand weights and wearing even low-poundage ankle weights add drag and muscle stress—the good kind of muscle exercise. Completing a few sets of five-pound curls for each arm takes only a few moments, and you help tone and strengthen your biceps, hands, tendons, ligaments and joints. Have clearance to each side and overhead and expand your routine.
As you stand, walk, sit and lie prone, you don’t have to tell anyone you are exercising, too. Your ‘couch potato’ reputation is safe and sound!
Article written by Sara Woods of Coupon Croc, where you can get more motivation to stay active by saving on your health spa getaway this year with a Travelodge discount code 2011.