Obviously, I am a huge proponent of setting aside time to work out. Whether it’s cardio or strength work, an hour a day combined would be ideal! However in this day and age, it’s not feasible for so many of us. Even if you can only squeeze in a workout a couple of days a week, there are plenty of other ways to stay active by doing a little bit at a time. Just as small changes add up nutritionally, doing brief snippets of exercise more consistently will keep you stronger and fitter, more balanced and flexible.
I can’t stress consistency enough! You will get so much more out of doing anything fitness-related on a regular basis. I also can’t stress “keep it simple” enough. When new clients start working with me, they always get homework, because they’ll progress faster if they do something every day instead of just waiting until our next workout, which sometimes is as little as once per week. But homework is always something very basic and usually just one exercise at first. If it becomes too complicated or extensive, most people will eventually cease doing it, and exercises that aren’t done at all aren’t very effective.
Here are a few ideas on incorporating strength, balance and flexibility into your life on a daily basis:
1. Park farther away from your destination. Those extra steps will add up.
2. Balance on one leg while you are brushing your teeth. Make sure you give each leg equal time. (Stand near something you can hold onto until your balance improves!)
3. Take more frequent breaks at the office. Take a mini walk (up and down the hallway or couple of flights of stairs) several times a day.
4. Take the stairs whenever you can.
5. During commercial breaks on TV do a simple exercise like crunches, modified pushups or squats until the break is over.
6. Check your posture as often as you can remember. Pull your bellybutton in and tighten your abdominal muscles while lifting your chest up slightly.
7. Pick one stretch that really feels good and do it every day. Consistency is crucial in improving flexibility.
8. A five minute workout is better than no workout. Pick one exercise and do as many reps as you can if your schedule won’t allow for anything else.
9. Got kids? Go outside and play with them. It works with grandkids too!
Pritam Potts, owner of Advanced Athlete LLC, is a NSCA-certified trainer and strength coach with 12+ years of experience working with athletes and clients of all ages. Her specialty is in functional strength applications, developing core and overall strength and coordination specifically for the purpose of enhancing the body’s ability to function optimally and safely in athletic movement. Connect online at www.facebook.com/mrsathlete and www.twitter.com/mrsathlete.