By Annmarie Rodriguez |
Eat. Work. Sleep. This is the daily routine of many Americans. Some are able to squeeze time in for a social life, and even fewer do so for exercise. With work at the top of on our to-do lists (or even taking over our to-do lists), it's easy to compartmentalize exercise as an un-ideal and unproductive task.
Effective exercise doesn't have to look like hours spent at the gym or around the track. Those activities can be wonderful, but are not mandatory for holistic health.
In a New York Times article titled, "One Twin Exercises, the Other Doesn't," Dr. Kujala [a professor of sports and exercise medicine at the University of Jyvaskyla] explained how, "Even if the input from our DNA and upbringing urges us to skip the gym, we can 'move more.'" Based on this study, he says, we can "rapidly and substantially improve the condition of our bodies and brains."
We care for our mental, emotional and physical well-being when we take a few moments to exercise each day.
When To Exercise
The exercises listed below can be done:
- While waiting for the shower to warm up.
- Waiting for the coffee to brew.
- This one is especially relevant for #4 since you're likely to be in a kitchen or near a chair.
- Waiting for your straightener or curler to heat up.
- Waiting for your eggs to fry or bread to toast.
Get Moving In the Morning
1. Calf Raises
The exercise: Simply stand on your tiptoes and slowly lower your heels without touching the ground. Once your heels get close to touching the ground, raise them back up and repeat.
How many? Do 1-2 sets of 30-50 calf raises. This should take less than 3 minutes to do.
The exercise: Place you feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down & stand back up. Focus your weight towards the back of your heels for balance. You can also extend your arms out in front of you to help keep your back straight, which will give you better form.
How many? Start with 2-3 sets of 10 squats in the morning, and feel free to increase as your legs grow stronger.
3. Push Ups
There are many different ways to do a push up. You can do a traditional push up, a knees-down push up, a standing push up, or (if you want to challenge yourself) a spider push up.
- Traditional push up: Put your weight on your hands and toes. Push down at a 90 degree angle and come back up. Make sure to keep your back straight for better form.
- Knees-down push up: Assume a traditional push up position, but instead of balancing on your feet/toes, use your knees.
- Standing-up push up: Lean your hands against a wall or a bed at about a 45 degree angle or greater (a greater angle adds difficulty).
- Spider push up: Start in a traditional push up form. Lower your body down. As you push back up, pull one of your knees to your side so that it's parallel to your body. Switch between your two legs. Pushing back up and pulling up one of your knees should be simultaneous.
Start with 1-2 sets of 10 push ups each morning. Feel free to do more once you feel your arms, legs, and core strengthening.
4. Tricep Dips
*See graphic on right for visual demonstration.
- Find a stable chair.
- Face your back to the chair.
- Use your arms (specifically your triceps) to lower yourself.
- Form a 90 degree angle with your elbow.
- Keep your legs closer to the chair for low intensity, and farther away for high intensity.
How many? Start with 2-3 sets of 10 triceps dips and increase your amount as you feel your triceps and core strengthening.
Sometimes the best habits are formed by small steps. We at deliberateLIFE hope that this list of tips will encourage you to care for your body and get movin'.