Let’s face it, December is one of those times when we can get so busy preparing for the holidays that we struggle to fit in our exercise. We feel bad skipping the gym or missing our usual routine when we have extra long to-do lists each day.
We know we should exercise because it gives us energy and just feels great.
Losing a few pounds ahead of the holidays would be a plus, too. Why? The sumptuous holiday feasting will add some pounds, together with an inch or two, usually where we hate it: the waistline.
If you struggle finding time to exercise now, or at any other busy time in your life, I may have a solution for you. Here, in part one, I will give you some options you can do at home and in other daily situations that will keep you fit even without your regular exercise schedule. They are also surprisingly time saving, and fun to do.
Activities you can do starting each morning as soon as you get up:
Warming up: 3 minutes of exercises
Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Loosen up the spine by swinging your arms around your body, twisting at your waist, taking your head with you, looking backwards as far as possible on your twist.
Do this ten times slowly, increasing your speed, then five times slowing down.
Finish with bending over, letting your arms, shoulder and head drop, like a Raggedy Ann doll.
Breathe into your belly. Slowly roll up, stacking vertebrae on vertebrae. Your head comes up last.
Move into the Bathroom: 10 minutes of exercises
You can do the first exercise while washing your face, and brushing your teeth:
- Lean a bit forward with your face looking into the basin. Lift one leg straight behind and do ten lifts. Bend the same leg at the knee for another ten lifts.
Repeat with the other leg. Keep your spine straight and your tummy in.
- Hold on to your basin and do ten to twenty squats (only if your knees are healthy).
- Take a body brush and briskly brush over your entire body in circular motion from the legs up toward your heart (if you have any health condition ask your doctor first).
- While taking your shower, sing out loud and breathe deeply while either washing your hair, or soaping up your body. Laugh out loud for happiness; it will burn a few more calories.
- When you put lotion on your body, massage your legs, thighs, hips and buttocks by kneading the tissue for a minute longer than you usually do.
Still at home: 2 minutes of exercises
Get dressed while stretching your body (including your neck) as much as possible between each garment.
Sit down for a healthy breakfast, eat slowly, chew well, and keep your focus on tasting the food. Do not let your mind wander!
Waiting in line anywhere: several series of 1-2 minute exercises
If your clothing is not too tight, a series of tummy and butt squeezes is a great way to use the waiting time for your health and fitness. Instead of checking your email, or texting, give your body a tune-up that nobody can notice.
- On every exhalation pull your stomach in by tugging your navel toward your spine. Do this ten to twenty times on your exhalation only.
- Squeeze your butt together, one side or both, by hardening your gluteus maximus as much as you can without shaking, and holding it for at least five seconds. Do this ten times.
In your car, stopped at a read light, or in traffic: as often and long as you like!
Take every opportunity to tone almost any part of your body while sitting idle.
You can do the stomach and butt exercises, but you also can do any other muscle flexing, from your calves to your neck. Just focus on one area at the time, isolate the muscle group, and work it to your maximum ability.
Take stairs wherever possible:
Unless the flight of stairs is more than three floors high, you will arrive faster, because you don’t wait for the elevator to arrive, or stop at every floor. Walking stairs will train your lungs, improve your circulation, burn fat, and keep you swift and flexible.
Getting out of breath a few times a day is one of the best anti-aging secrets, too.
Park your car the furthest away from where you need to go
This may sound contraindicated to a busy person, because it looks as if you waste time. The truth is it takes only a minute or two longer than parking right in front of your destination. If it is safe to do so, the benefits are great, and you will automatically speed up to make up for the more remote parking place. Your body will feel energized and you burn extra calories.
Enjoy your holidays and busy time by adding bursts of exercises throughout your days. You will see that your body can shape up without taking an hour or more from your busy schedule and exercising your traditional way.
Depending on how often you take the opportunity to practice the above exercises during your day, you can burn between 300 to 800 calories and also tone your muscles, which will burn away fat. How great is that?
In part two of this series, I will give you some exercises you can do right at your desk, or during your lunch break.
Until then, love your body, and your body will love you back.