Last week, we looked at how to build your stamina, strength and suppleness.
Here are several ways you can put the lifestyle activity side of things into practice, whether you’ve got two minutes or 20 minutes to spare.
Got 30 Seconds For Exercise?
Pull in your tummy
Benefits: Strengthens the deep abdominal muscles that hold in the tummy and protect the back.
Imagine you are doing up a zip from your pubic bone to your navel, ‘drawing in’ the lower part of the tummy without holding your breath or lifting the chest. Hold for five seconds initially, and then repeat regularly throughout the day. Build up to 10, 20 and 30 second holds as you get more proficient.
Got 1 Minute For Exercise?
Benefits: The Pilates-based roll down exercise eases out the spine, particularly after long periods sitting down.
Stand with feet 6 to 8 inches apart and knees slightly bent, arms by your sides and core engaged. Take a breath and as you exhale, draw the chin to the chest and begin to roll forwards through the neck vertebrae, the upper back, the mid back and finally the lower back, until your head and arms are hanging down by your feet. Pause to take a breath and as you exhale, ‘rebuild’ the spine by rolling back up to a standing position. Imagine the spine is like a wheel turning. Do this three times.
Got 2 Minutes For Exercise?
Benefits: Improved body awareness and posture.
Stand with feet 6 to 8 inches apart. Ensure the weight is evenly distributed between the front and back of the feet, and between the left and right feet. Pull up through the arches of the feet and ensure all toes have contact with the ground. Pull up through the legs but don’t make the knees rigid. Keep the hips square and level. Lengthen through the spine and engage the core, imaging the torso ‘growing’ out of the pelvis. Drop the rib cage, drawing the lower ribs down towards the pubic bone. Relax the shoulders and gently open the chest and front of the shoulders by turning your hands to face your thighs (or slightly forwards). Keep the neck long, the chin slightly retracted, and allow the head to sit squarely on top of the spine. Ensure your buttocks are ‘toned’ but not clenched, and the backs of the knees relaxed. Breathe freely.
Got 3 Minutes For Exercise?
Go for ab-solution
Benefits: Stronger, more toned tummy muscles.
In the next commercial break when you are watching TV, get down on the carpet on your back, cross your arms over your chest and draw your belly button down towards the spine — then curl the torso up and forward, until your shoulders come off the floor. Pause, lower and repeat as many sets of eight as you can…
Got 4 Minutes For Exercise?
Take the stairs
Benefits: Strengthens the heart and lungs (aerobic fitness) and the leg muscles.
Walk at a steady pace up and down the stairs for 4 minutes. You can spread this out throughout the day rather than doing all at once if you prefer.
Got 5 Minutes For Exercise?
Benefits: Eases tense stiff muscles, improves stamina and mobility.
Put on a tune that you love to move to, draw the curtains and dance!
Got 10 Minutes For Exercise?
Go for a walk
Benefits: Cardiovascular exercise and strengthens leg muscles.
Put on a pedometer and a pair of comfortable shoes and count how many steps you can take in 10 minutes — (or do it on a treadmill and see how far you can travel). The distance will increase as you get fitter. This is something you can repeat throughout the day — as long as bouts of aerobic exercise are 10 minutes or more, they can count towards your recommended daily 30-minute target.
Got 12 Minutes For Exercise?
Do some chores
Benefits: Upper body strength, some stamina.
Grab a brush or broom and start sweeping the deck or porch. If you don’t have a deck or porch, sweep the floors!
Got 15 Minutes For Exercise?
Benefits: Aerobic exercise and strength
Instead of waiting till you need so much shopping that you need to drive to the supermarket, do a ‘mini-shop’, and carry the bags home, with an even weight in each hand.
Got 20 Minutes For Exercise?
Benefits: Gentle aerobic activity combined with strengthening and stretching of the upper body.
Take your pick from vacuuming to cleaning windows, scrubbing floors to polishing surfaces, dusting and tidying things away. Change the bed. Grab your pegs and hang out the washing. Put music on to encourage you to go at it with gusto and liven up dull tasks.
See how easy it is to make life more active? When working out it’s important that every fitness session has a purpose. Different types of workouts work on different aspects such as aerobic fitness, strength or flexibility. Whatever your main fitness goal, it’s important that your fitness regime is balanced so that you don’t work on one element of your fitness to the detriment of others.
Next week, we’ll look at structured workouts — the ones that you actually have to make time for.
Featured image source: Life Addicts Studio