While health experts prescribe 30 minutes of cardio, four times a week, if you have a crazy schedule and are hard-pressed for time, there’s no need to lose out. Short burst fitness moves have been hailed every bit as effective. Here are ways to sneak exercise into your day and get recharged….
Skipping: All it takes is 10 minutes to get ship-shape with a jump rope, or skipping. It works on the core, arms and legs and experts say it can burn over 100 calories in a single 10-minute session, daily. Try this before your breakfast or cart a rope along to the office and do a short single-leg or double-leg session there. Use a rope that’s your size and remember, this can place some stress on the ankles and knees so do a few ankle rotations before starting out. If you suffer from chronic knee pain, consult a doctor first. Benefit: Reduces belly fat, builds endurance
Stairwell walk/run: Got no time for the gym? No sweat! Ditch the elevator and take the stairs. This is a great cardio workout and a calorie torcher too! Any aerobic activity lessens bad cholesterol, raises good cholesterol levels and boosts circulation, among things. And as the body uses effort to lift upwards, it helps engage more muscles, even tiny ones, in the leg. Did you know walking up 200 steps twice a day increases aerobic fitness levels by 17%? Try it today. Benefit: Increases circulation, cuts risk of heart attack by 25%
Stability ball: Several studies have been suggesting that you swap the office chair with a stability ball. It can repair bad posture because when you try and balance, the body is forced to automatically get into the correct one. This also engages the core and since you have to change your position often it does away with the damage caused by a chair when you tend to sit long hours in the same slouched position. Remember to keep the back straight when you try this one. Benefit: Alleviates back pain, builds the core
TRX: The resistance band regimen is one of the best workouts to reduce aches and muscular tightness in the neck, shoulder and upper back that arises out of long hours of sitting. The band is a portable tool and can be set up anywhere. Place it under your feet and holding each handle, lift the arms up to shoulder level and slowly release them back to the start. Or do a lunge with the band under the feet, while you hold each handle. What happens is the stretching that ensues increases blood flow and oxygen to your muscles and lessens pain, which in turn also reduces headaches. Benefit: Headache and stress reliever
In-office cycling: More corporates in the West are opening up to the idea of a ‘cycle-in office’ where you pedal push your way around the premises a la the movie, The Intern. As per a report, London is set to open such an office. Though it needs space, we hope it happens back home, too! If not, you can always cycle to work. The low-impact exercise can help ward off obesity, stroke and arthritis and builds muscle tone. Benefit: Better breathing and cardiovascular fitness, helps tone muscles
Pilates: Got a few minutes? Take out the heels and get onto the mat near you desk and try 8-10 minute sessions of curls, leg circles, leg stretches, side bends and the plank. Also use your abs to lift your legs overhead till they touch the ground and then and bring them back to the start. Benefit: Strengthens the core and busts tummy flab
Bicep curls: This is a good multi-tasking regimen. Take a dumbbell (choose a size that you are comfortable with) and try bicep curls while you’re on the phone or reading mails. Do these curls for 20 repetitions twice a day. If you don’t have a pair of weights, use a one-litre water bottle. It also works on the shoulder and back muscles. Benefit: Tones the muscles of the arms
Yoga stretches: Try neck stretches by tilting your head slowly toward one side of the shoulder. Hold the position and repeat for the other side. For those stuck at the desk, shoulder shrugs are also a must. Try and raise the shoulders as high as you can and rotate them forward and then backwards, 10 times throughout the day. Benefit: Tones the muscles of the arms and back
WHY YOU NEED TO MAKE TIME TO EXERCISE:
There are several benefits of exercising.
It prevents weight gain, reduces unhealthy triglycerides and boosts HDL or good cholesterol.
Being active also improves the quality of sleep and allows you to perform better at work.