Fitness Articles

Sneak It In and Tone It Up

Fit in Exercise No Matter Where You Are

During Your Commute
Most of us spend more time in our cars than we'd like, either commuting or driving kids to and from various practices (or both!). Instead of having this time be completely passive and sedentary, make the most of it with a few simple exercises that are safe behind the wheel. The first thing you can do is throw any self consciousness out the window, turn up your favorite tunes and "car dance" your heart out—just be sure to watch the road and save your most complicated dance moves for sitting at a stoplight. If you're a female, you can also do Kegels, which help with core strength.

Sitting in the car is the perfect time to work on improving your posture. Most of us allow our shoulders to round and our heads to push forward when we drive. Instead, sit with your back straight (adjust your set back to help with that), your chin tucked in toward the tag of your shirt, and your shoulders relaxed down and back away from your ears. Try to keep your abs engaged and sit with perfect posture for as long as possible, adjusting it each time you notice you're slacking. Sitting tall is hard work and takes effort. Simple adjustments like these can also help alleviate tension as well as pain in your shoulders, neck and back.

And anyone, male or female, accomplished dancer or not, can stretch when stuck in traffic. Shoulder, triceps, neck and spine stretches are perfect for stoplights and also tame your tension; hold each for 30 seconds (or until the traffic starts moving, whichever comes first). Sure, they won't burn mega calories, but they're definitely better than nothing, especially if you tend to skimp on flexibility training! And if you really want to turn your transportation time into a workout, consider walking or biking to work or your destination whenever possible.

Getting Ready
Getting ready in the morning may seem like a weird time to sneak in activity, but you totally can. Make it part of your morning routine to do a few stretches, jumping jacks or push-ups. Just a few minutes of activity first thing in the morning can wake you up and get your endorphins going. Just be sure to start slow and easy if you just woke up, as your muscles may be tight from not moving for hours while you slept.

Try squats and lunges while you blow-dry your hair or pump out a few calf raises while you brush your teeth. I personally love to stretch in the shower, as the warm water helps loosen up muscles. It's good for you, and it feels great.

Yard Work
Mowing, trimming bushes and gardening are huge calorie burners. A 150-pound person can easily burn 200-400 calories an hour working in the yard. And for those who love power tools, just remember that automatic tools do most of the work, meaning you'll burn fewer calories than if you mowed the lawn with a push mower, for example. So when in doubt, go with the manual option. It might take a little longer to trim that tree, but you'll be getting in quite a workout and keeping your body in tip-top shape.

And don't be afraid to get creative. When working in the yard, there are ample opportunities to squat or lunge to pick up tools or do a few reps with bags of soil or mulch! When it's snowy outside, you can burn 400-plus calories an hour shoveling the powdery stuff.

Save time and get fit by making your shopping a full-out workout. Power walk through the store, and unless you absolutely have to, forgo the cart for a handheld basket. As the basket gets heavier, you can build some serious muscle carrying it around the store. Just be sure to carry the basket on both of your arms so that they both get an equal workout. And if you do have to use a cart, do some small lunges while pushing it out to your car and really use your arms to push the buggy.

TV Time
Many of us watch our favorite television shows to relax after a hard day. While it may be tempting to plop on the couch and veg, don't. After a long day the last thing your body needs is to sit down; moving will make you feel better and get you closer to your goals. Vow to do push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks or some sort of exercise during each commercial break. Performing these moves during the commercials of an hour-long show can help you burn at least 100 calories more than sitting, and you still get to enjoy your guilty-pleasure show.

Remember that while you may work out regularly, that's only a few minutes out of your entire day that you're actively moving your body, which is designed for physical activity. Squeezing in short bursts of exercise is great for beginners and experienced exercisers because it burns calories, tones muscles, strengthens your heart and helps you achieve an active lifestyle, the benefits of which are far reaching. So start thinking of more ways you can get active on the job, at home and throughout the day!
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • I don't agree with this. Multi-tasking is not good for our brain, psyche, and stress level. One thing at a time. Be in the moment! - 3/24/2015 12:12:55 PM
  • Great ideas. We tend to forget that almost every thing we do could be turned out into a workout but eating and sleeping. - 3/5/2015 8:58:02 PM
  • Distracted driving kills. I don't think you should dance in your seat while you're driving. - 2/8/2015 2:06:09 AM
    thanks for info - 1/26/2015 6:47:36 PM
  • Going to be home decorating.
    How do I calculate calories for scraping wallpaper?
    Hanging wallpaper?
    Painting ceilings?
    Moving furniture? Heavy housework for this one?

    Know I wont have time for daft things like walking or stationary biking too - 1/26/2015 4:03:32 AM
  • It's the little things that help you the most - 10/17/2014 7:11:10 AM
  • Very good reminders! Keep moving. - 9/1/2014 2:10:09 PM
  • Good reminders. - 6/24/2014 6:46:59 AM
  • TOTJJ78
    I can't wait to get started on adding these activities to my DAY!
    = - 6/23/2014 10:31:03 AM
  • This was a great article, because I had adopted these this week to keep my body in movement. Is there a way to capture these items in Fitness Tracker? - 4/13/2014 5:20:34 PM
    A great brainstorm session to get me thinking...thanks for the ideas. I'll approach my day-at-home differently today because of you! - 3/3/2014 11:10:10 AM
  • I read this article while watching the Miami Heat game. I decided to assign an exercise to each of the "Big Three" , free throws and anyone else on the team for each basket scored. I didn't start until the 3rd quarter and I am beat!! It's a fun way to exercise while watching TV on a Sunday!! - 1/26/2014 2:59:48 PM
    The IDEA of sneaking in little bits of exercise is a great one but the suggestions in this article are just wildly unrealistic. - 11/10/2013 10:52:46 PM
  • I like some of the ideas, but others like doing an exercise video at the work place or "car-dancing" sound unlikely.

    As for exercise & commuting: I would think the obvious idea is to park farther away from the office and get a 10 min walk. I usually bike to work - not so common in the US, I know, but no more unusual than the car dancing - or, if I commute, stand on my toes or heals for minutes at a time to strengthen my legs. (Hold on somewhere for safety, obviously!) - 11/7/2013 6:09:37 PM
  • I'm a stay-at-home mom so the cleaning, yard work ideas are great for me but I wish I could do the shopping suggestions. I NEED a cart to hold all the groceries for 6 people (we have 4 kids) and I'm usually holding my 13 month and pulling the cart full of groceries because he hates the cart and tries to jump out of it. So yes, my shopping experiences are a full work or at least I'm exhausted after I get home and all the food put away. - 10/16/2013 3:28:04 PM

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