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Exercise Anywhere and Everywhere

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Even though it requires just 30 minutes a day, only three out of ten adults get the recommended daily amount of physical activity1. Many people say they’re too busy to exercise. But that’s because the average person thinks exercising involves driving to a gym, changing into gym clothes, working out, and then driving home. No wonder people assume that they don’t have time for fitness. The best strategy for you is to learn some simple exercises that can be done around your home, at the office, or in a hotel room.

Exercising in the Home

Many people think that to do strength training you have to buy a weight bench or have several hundred pounds of dumbbells. But you actually don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get an effective workout. Exercises just using your body weight have been shown to increase muscle strength and burn calories2. And the great thing is they can be done in the convenience of your own home.

Push-ups are one of the easiest and most effective home exercises, which target your chest and triceps muscles. Lie prone with your arms straight, and your palms flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Lower your body to the floor and then push yourself back to an arms-extended position. Try to keep you back straight duing the movement.

Sit-ups are another staple home exercise. With your back on the floor and your knees bent, place your hands across your chest. Lift your torso off the floor until your upper body is perpendicular to the ground, and then lower yourself to the ground again. Crunches are similar to sit-ups except during the upward movement you lift only your shoulders off the floor about three to four inches.

The body weight squat is a great home exercise to tone your legs. First you stand and place your feet as wide as your shoulders. Then you will lower the body into a sitting position by pushing your hips back. As you lower your body, bend the knees until your thighs are parallel in relation to the floor. Then simply stand back up3.

To do in-home weight training, you could invest in a few dumbbells, or you just fill a few old milk jugs with water, and use them to do tricep extensions: in a standing position, start with the dumbbell in your hand and your arms extended toward the ceiling, then simply lower the weight behind your neck and back up again.

Exercising in the Office

The modern workplace is one of the most sedentary arenas of our society and a significant factor in the high obesity levels in American4. Most of us spend 40 to 60 hours a week sitting at a desk. That’s why it’s important to learn office exercises to stay active in the workplace. Short bursts of physical activity in between emails or during your lunch break can make a real contribution to your daily fitness needs.

Jumping jacks, jogging in place, and jumping in place are great ways to get a quick cardio workout in the office. Also, skip the elevator and use the stairs to get around the building.

For a lower body office exercise, try doing a wall-sit: press your back against the wall and hold yourself in a seated position for 30 to 90 seconds. Take a 30 second break and then do it again. Another great way to get a leg workout is to do walking lunges in an empty office.

For upper body, you could do push-ups. Or to work your shoulders, try shoulder raises. Simply hold a book in each hand and raise your arms up from your sides until they are extended straight out in front of you at shoulder height.

The amount of office exercises you can do during a work week may seem small but every little bit of physical activity helps. According to a study done Dr. W. L. Haskell, fitness activities can be broken up into shorter time spans throughout the day5. In other words, you can achieve the recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise by walking 10 minutes in the morning, doing 10 minutes of jumping jacks in your office at lunch, and then another 10 minute walk in the evening after dinner.

Hotel Room Exercises

If you’re job requires you to travel, maintaining a scheduled exercise routine can be extremely challenging. What makes it even more difficult is spending hours on air planes and in meetings with almost no opportunity for physical activity. That’s why learning how to do some hotel room exercises can be the key to staying healthy on the road.

Along with push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks, leg raises can be done on your hotel room floor to strengthen your lower abdominal muscles. Lie down on your back with your hands under your butt and lift your legs up toward the ceiling and then back down to the floor.

The chest lift is the perfect hotel room exercise, if you want to strengthen your lower back for those long plane rides. Lying on your stomach put your hands behind your head and raise your chest off the floor and hold for five seconds. Then rest for 30 seconds and repeat.

You can also utilize the furniture to do hotel room exercises. To do tricep dips place your hands, with palms facing down, on your bed and extend your legs out in front of you on the floor. Then supporting yourself with your arms, lower your body off the bed until your butt is close to touching the floor. To finish the exercise, push yourself back up to the original position.

So whether you’re at your home, in your office, or in a hotel room, you can still keep a regular fitness routine. Implementing these simply cardio and body weight exercises will help you sustain a healthy lifestyle amid your busy life.

Instead of looking for the nearest parking spot, try to park as far away as possible to give yourself a short walk. If you have an hour for lunch, set aside 30 minutes to just walk. As with all exercises, finding someone to do these exercises with with help encourage you too keep going. Exercising during a busy schedule takes a conscious effort, but can certainly be done.


References

1 Physical Activity Facts. (2011, August 27). Retrieved from The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports: www.fitness.gov/resources_factsheet.htm

2 Earle, R. W., & Baechle, T. R. (2004). NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training.Champaign,IL: Human Kinetics.

3 National Strength and Conditioning Association. (2008). Exercise Technique Manual for Resistance Training (2nd ed.).Champaign,IL: Human Kinetics.

Philipson, T. J., & Posner, R. A. (2003). The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 87-108.

5 Haskell, W., Lee,I., & Pate, R. (2007). Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation from theAmericanCollege of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1423-34.

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