One of the most common excuses for not working out is not having time to get a workout in. Life is a workout—make the most of what you’ve got because every little bit helps! We have all heard the classic ways to squeeze in more exercise such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking farther away in the parking lots. But what else can you do when that is just not cutting it anymore? Here are 10 tips to getting the most out of your day.
1) Take it STEP by STEP. Wear a pedometer and shoot for at least 10,000 steps a day. Being able to actually see the number of steps you’ve taken and the distance that your steps equate to acts as a motivational tool and challenges you to reach and exceed your goals. Be sure to get a pedometer that measures your stride length for more accurate readings and also features caloric expenditure and distance walked.
2) FLEX! Since I started competing I’ve had to practice posing and I have to say, I honestly would have never imagined simply posing could be such a workout. The best thing about this is that you can do it anywhere or anytime and no one will know (unless you tend to make funny faces or breathe hard, which many do at first, but it will get easier).
• Simply exhale all the air from your stomach and focus on a specific muscle group and flex, or contract that muscle as tight as you can and hold for approximately 10 seconds then relax and repeat. Do this with each muscle group 2-4 times.
3) Be UNSTABLE. Not emotionally…but physically! Using stability balls or balance pillows will increase the use and recruitment of your core and will challenge your body in ways that it is not accustomed to.
• Swap your old office or desk chair for a stability ball
• Bring in a small balance pillow and place that on your regular chair
• When standing for long periods of time in one place (doing dishes, making copies, at a register, etc) stand on a bosu ball or balance pillow
• Get unstable shoes (Reebok’s “easy tones” or Sketchers “shape-ups”)
4) Take a DIP! When sitting at a desk or standing around, use your chair, a bench, or a ledge of some sort and do a set of dips. Simply place your palms (fingers facing forward) on the edge with legs extended straight out (knees bent and feet flat on floor for modification or for added intensity elevate legs straight out). Pull your body forward off the edge of the seat and keeping elbows in, dip your body down so that the upper arm is about parallel to the ground. Repeat about 10 times and perform 3-4 sets.
5) Stay on your TOES! Whenever standing, add in an easy workout to shape those calves. While standing, keep your weight shifted on your toes and elevate as high as you can, squeezing the calves, then lower down and repeat about 15 times for 3-4 sets.
• Try different footing positions as well, such as toes pointed forward, toes pointed inward (pigeon-toed), toes pointed outward (dancer toes).
• For added intensity try not letting your heels touch the ground throughout entire set.
6) Be on the MOVE! Whether you are fidgeting with your hands and feet or jumping up and down, keep moving throughout the day. If you are finding yourself losing energy and getting tired, get up and take a brisk three-minute walk around the building. If possible, do a quick set of 25 jumping jacks or run up and down the stairs 1-3 times to get a quick energy burst and get those endorphins flowing.
7) Lend a helping hand! Look for opportunities to help others (carrying bags, moving boxes, delivering a message, going on a food-run, etc.). Not only will you feel good about helping someone but your body will thank you for the chance to be active and burn some extra calories.
8) It may sound like a stretch, but take a minute to STRETCH! Stretching will help to warm your muscle and increase elasticity, thus improving flexibility. If you’ve ever tried yoga, you know stretching can be a workout as well. It is easy to perform simple stretches no matter where you are and I am as guilty as the next person when I say that we do not stretch enough.
9) WEIGHT it out. Keep a pair of light hand-weights in your office and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to squeeze sporadic workouts into your day. Waiting for your files to print? Grab your weights and do bicep curls until your papers are printed. Have a long phone call? Enjoy the great benefits of speakerphone and grab your weights—do kickbacks, shoulder presses, front raises and shrugs. Even just holding your weights while you do other things will increase your caloric expenditure.
10) Take ACTION! Anyone can read these ideas and suggestions and think “Wow, that sure is easy. I could do that!” Make a decision right NOW and decide to stick to it. No one is going to be able to get you where you want to be except for YOU. Be a person of ACTION. Take responsibility for YOU and realize that you have control of your future—will being lazy get you where you want to be or are you going to take the challenge and do something good for YOU?
Decide. Take Action. Succeed.
Keep working hard!