So, you’re lazy. “Own” it. Stop trying to deny it by making excuses – you just don’t want to exercise.
You don’t want a gym membership; you don’t want workout clothes; you don’t want to put ear buds in and don a headband to catch the sweat while you run. (the story of my life).
When you are not at work, you want to sit in front of TV, read a book, or catch up with friends on Facebook. And when you do have any energy? Well, there’s laundry and shopping to do, or meeting friends for drinks and dinner. Life is good.
But deep down inside, there is that little voice that says, “You need to do something about fitness – anything!” Well, you can. And here’s a whole list of ways to exercise without even taking extra time to do so.
While You Watch TV
So, you’re really engrossed in the latest episode of “Criminal Minds, “NCIS,” “Good Wife” or a football game. You’re sitting on the couch with your feet up, eating those chips. Get up.
- Stand in front of the TV and march in place for two minutes.
- During two commercials, do jumping jacks (those pesky things will go by faster this way).
- During a third commercial, do a “wall angel.” You stand with the small of your back against a wall and the rest of your body a few inches from the wall. Put your feet about 2-feet apart. Raise your arms and place the backs of your forearms against the wall. Now, raise your arms up and down, arcing them just a bit. Do this ten times and you have just worked on posture, that upper arm “flabbiness” and you upper back and shoulder muscles. Do ten raises with those arms, and you are done. The commercial isn’t even over yet!
- You know what butt crunches are – you can sit on your couch and do these as much as possible.
- The same goes for ab crunches – 10 repetitions at a time please.
You have to do it anyway, and housework does burn calories. But you can burn even more if you add just a few things to your routine.
- If you are cooking in the kitchen, or even standing at the sink, turn on some great music from whatever era is your favorite (not slow music!), and dance as you work. You don’t have to break into major moves here, although you might feel like it. Twisting your body, moving those hips and legs, and waving those arms about are all great ways to raise your heart rate, and get some flexibility into those unused muscles of yours.
- You can also dance while you dust or mop the floor – get that music going and get your groove on.
- When you vacuum, whether you have a hose or an upright, stop standing right over it as you do this chore. Push that vacuum way out in front of you and stretch forward, then pull it back. Change arms back and forth. You’ll burn more calories actually, and the stretching is good for your stomach, abs, arms, and shoulders.
- Sweep the floors faster than usual. One of the keys for lazy exercising is just to do everything faster than normal.
- If you are talking on your phone, don’t just sit. Get up and walk! You’re not going to be doing anything else anyway, so why not move. If you are on the phone for 5 minutes, that 5 minutes of brisk walking around your house that you can do.
- You can march in place as you brush your teeth and as you stand to fold laundry (yes, it’s better to stand than sit for this chore).
To and From and At Work
- Whether you drive or take public transportation, it doesn’t matter. You can do those butt and stomach crunches, 10 at a time, the entire way.
- If you are at a desk all day, and that’s pretty much how most of us got so lazy, you must get up every hour and move around. Stretch and bend over to touch your toes – do this 5 times; spread your arms and legs out and twist your upper body back and forth – 10 of those; jog in place for one minute (you can increase that as your stamina builds); do a few lunges. Here’s the thing about doing this. You get your cardio-vascular system moving and you reduce the risk of blood clots.
- Eat lunch in 10 minutes and walk for 20. Even in the winter, walk around inside the office building, or find a video on your computer and walk or march in place. And walk as briskly as you can. Again, the point is to do everything faster than you have been.
- Stuck in a meeting? This is the perfect time for those butt and ab crunches again. But add one more thing. Do some floor pushes too. As you are sitting with your feet on the floor, bear down with your feet on the floor and push. You will feel it in our thighs.
- Back in your office, take another break, but don’t get up. There is a great seated abs exercise while you are sitting. Move up to the edge of your chair and put your hands palms down on each side of the chair set by your hips. Take a deep inhale. As you exhale, bring your knees up off the floor and hold them up for 3 seconds – that’s all!
- If you drive to work, park in the back of the lot and walk farther. And if you are not on the first floor, walk up rather than take an elevator. Now, you may be on the 12th floor, so you obviously will not walk up 12 flights of stairs. But you could get off at the 10th floor and walk up two flights. Gradually, you could add another flight or two. Walking down flights of stairs is not so good, so be lazy and get on that elevator.
- And while you are in that elevator, do some heel lifts – that will work your calves and your butt both.
Part of your days and/or weekends will involve errands. As you drive to the mall or to the grocery store, don’t forget those crunches. But here are some other things to do.
- Just like at work, park at the back of the parking lot and walk – briskly.
- When you get into the mall, and you walk from store to store, do it faster.
- Push that grocery cart faster. You’ve seen people rushing through the aisles. Now you are going to become one of them.
Here comes the tough part, because you may not be used to some of these things.
- In the spring, summer and fall, mow your own lawn. You may have been paying someone to do this, but, heck, that could be $20-$30 a week back in your pocket.
- In the fall, rake your own leaves
- In the winter, shovel your own snow
- In all warm weather, wash your own car. The stretching will work a lot of muscles, and you can sock away the car wash money.
- When you go to the pool in the summer, don’t just get in the water to cool off from your tanning and socializing. Every 45-60 minutes, hop in and swim just one lap. Swimming is considered the perfect exercise, because it works every muscle in your body.
Some Final Thoughts
- Here’s what medical professionals now say, and this should make you happy. Twenty minutes of vigorous activity 3 times a week is the same as 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 times a week. And both schedules will keep you fit. Now think about these numbers:
- If you sleep 7 hours a day, work 8 hours a day, spend an hour commuting and 1 ½ hours for meals, you have 7 ½ hours left, on the weekdays. On the weekends, you obviously have even more time. Suppose you wash your car on Saturday, or mow the lawn, or rake leaves. You only need to find 4 others times when you can get the equivalent of 30 minutes in – while you sit on the couch, while you cook or clean, while you commute or sit at your desk, or while you run your errands. 30 X 5 = 150 minutes.
- For the first week or two, try to keep track of the amount of time you spend doing any of the things on the list above. I am willing to bet that you will actually have more than the recommended 150 minutes.
As you see your neighbors leave for the gym; as you see them with their earbuds and headbands, you can just wave and say “hello,” knowing that the little things you are doing for fitness are just fine. It’s those little things that make you smile.