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Exercise Bytes:
How to Get Active No Matter Where You Are - Page 2

Keep in mind that this list of exercise bytes is by no means comprehensive. Once you become used to fitting activity into your busy day, you'll come up with ideas on your own.

(Article continued below.)

At work:

  • Use breaks to take a brisk walk. And we don't mean walk to the lunchroom where that box of donuts is sitting. If the weather's nice, go outside; if it's rainy or cold, stick to the corridors of the office building, or a nearby enclosed area.
  • Find reasons to do more walking. Choose a parking space that is as far as possible from your office. Instead of calling or emailing your co-workers, walk to their offices and talk to them in person. Use a restroom that's farther away from your office.
  • Do chair squats. Go to sit in your chair, without using your hands, and just before you touch the seat, power yourself up again with your leg muscles. Make sure you're balanced evenly on both legs and that your knees don't overshoot your toes. (If your chair has rollers, use common sense and be careful!)
  • There are loads of exercises you can do at your desk if you've got a pair of dumbbells and an exercise band. For your upper body, there are biceps and triceps curls, lateral raises for your shoulders and the Stretch Band Chest Press. If you have enough room and privacy, and you're wearing shoes that won't slip on the floor, you can do push-ups with your hands on the edge of your desk. For the lower body, you can do Straight Leg Extensions. As a matter of fact, you can find a whole series of office exercises from About.com's Paige Waehner. You can also find a list of exercises, many of which can be adapted to your office, from the American Council on Exercise.
  • Remember to stretch! Any time you use your body, whether your fingers are flying on the computer or you've just completed a triceps curl, you need to stretch. Your body will also be less stiff from sitting all day if you take time to stretch your legs and back. The Mayo Clinic has a slide show of office stretches.

At home:

  • Ditch the TV and get moving. If you just can't give up the tube, then set up an exercise mat on the floor in front of your television and do some exercises. How about working on your abs? Both crunches and the plank are perfect in-front-of-the-TV exercises. Want to get your glutes involved? Try the plank with one leg raised straight out, toe flexed, then lower and raise the other leg. While you're down there, do some push ups too, either on your toes or on your knees.
  • On the phone? Do some wall squats. Stand on a step and do calf raises. Those who chat up a storm can use a phone headset to leave their arms free for some quick biceps or triceps exercises.
  • Doing the dishes? Tighten up your glutes and slowly kick one leg back (keep it straight, foot flexed). After a few repetitions, do the same with other leg. When you're done with the dishes, hold onto the counter lightly just for balance, legs wide apart and knees in line with your toes, and do some pliés.
  • And if you've got one of those stability balls, great! Watch TV sitting on it. And while you're there, do some leg lifts, upper body exercises or a few crunches. If you have wood floors and some room, or some pavement outside and a couple of minutes, you can use your ball to get in some quick cardio — dribble your stability ball like you're a basketball player. Jump up and down as the big ball bounces around. Perhaps it sounds silly, but it's loads of fun and it'll leave you breathless and smiling.
  • Here's another way to get in quick cardio: jump rope for a few minutes. Jumping rope is one of those cardio exercises that is effective in short spurts. Half jumping jacks are also good — they're jumping jacks, only you raise your arms no higher than your shoulders.
  • Got ten minutes? Take a brisk walk. Bring a friend or family member along and have a chat while you're walking.

Out and about:

  • Opt for parking spaces that are farther away from your destination.
  • When walking, do it briskly. Pretend you live in New York City and it's rush hour — that's a good pace that'll raise your heart rate.
  • Are you in line? Then do a few calf raises while you're waiting. This is another area where you can practice good posture. Those in line with you won't be any wiser!

Granted, none of these suggestions can replace a good exercise program. But when you're time-crunched and you're lucky to fit in a moment or two of exercise, these little exercise bytes go a long way to keep you thinking actively.

Back to the Beginning >> Exercise Bytes — Yes, You Do Have Time for Exercise!

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