Modern life is getting easier. I don’t mean in terms of stress, making a living or raising your family but that physically, you can go through much of your day being very sedentary if you don’t make an effort to seek out physical activity. Some jobs, like construction, being a fitness trainer or gardener are still pretty active but for many of us, work is all about spending time in front of a computer, sitting in a car or on a plane or sitting at a checkout. Not only are many jobs sedentary, most of out leisure time is spent passively entertained. Movies, cable TV, computer games and the like all mean that we don’t have to get up and move very much at all. Heck, you can even have your food delivered to you so you don’t have to get up and walk around a supermarket!
Exercise may not be enough…
Of course, going to the gym a few times a week is a great antidote for all this sitting around but some experts believe that even three hours of exercise per week is not enough to completely offset being otherwise sedentary. As your free time is very valuable and you probably don’t have more time available for exercise, what is the solution? For one, I encourage you to walk more. It doesn’t matter how far or how often – just make a point of walking more. Also, try to stand up regularly if you spend the majority of your time sitting down. Standing up for even a minute per hour can help undo some of the negative aspects associated with long periods in the seated position. Also, you can start introducing some easy mini-workouts into your day when you’re at home. What is a min-workout? Good question! A mini-workout is a quick burst of activity that slots easily into your day. Little if any exercise equipment is required and you can even do a mini-workout during the commercials breaks on TV. No warm up is required and, as a mini-workout is relatively low intensity, you won’t get hot or sweaty as you would a normal workout. Do three to five mini-workouts a day and you’ll be well on your way to improving your health and fitness!
Example at home (or at the office) mini-workouts
Although I’ve chosen simple exercises, if you are unsure how to do the moves properly, please seek out a qualified fitness trainer for advice and instruction.
1. Commercial break push-ups Every time there is a commercial break, roll off your couch and onto the floor and crank out a set of push-ups. It doesn’t matter how many you do, just do as many as comfortable.
2. Commercial break squats As before, do a set of squats at each commercial break. Plant your feet on the floor, push down through your heels and stand up out of your chair. Sit back down and repeat.
3. Walking the stairs Stairs are a great, if underused, exercise tool. Simply walk up and down your stairs two or three times for an effective leg heart and lung workout.
4. Hide the remote IInstead of just sitting on the couch surfing channels using your remote, why not leave your remote on top of your TV so you have to get up and change the channel manually. This will add up to a whole lot of walking and squats over the course of a typical evening.
5. Pumping rubber Resistance bands are cheap, portable and can easily be stored for unobstructed access. Instead of just sitting, perform exercises such as band put aparts seated bicep curls, seated shoulder presses or any other exercise you can do from the comfort of your chair or sofa. I like to sit and squeeze a hand strengthener while I watch TV as well.
Adding these mini-workouts into your daily routine can help alleviate manh of the problems associated with being sedentary and used in conjunction with hour regular fitness trainer-designed workouts you’ll find that each mini-workout will help take you closer to your ultimate exercise goals.
By Mark Darco
Mark Darco is a professional personal trainer who has completed multiple certifications. He works in the Brooklyn, NYC area.