No one doubts that exercise is important. Using and moving our body is essential to all of our lives, especially if you sit at a desk for a good part of the day. All too often, the responsibilities of work, family and friends get in the way of our best intentions when it comes to working out.
So, why not get your exercise wherever and whenever you can? Take you daily commute, for instance. If you ride the bus or train, there are many things you can do while waiting for, and taking, your trip. The options are a little more limited if you're driving, but even then you can work on posture and strength with our first tip.
Here are five different exercises you can do while you're on your way to the office:
1. Pelvic floor strengthening
This exercise works for standing or sitting, so you can do these while driving to work if that is how you commute. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, are the classic way to build tone at the base of the pelvis. Strength in this area of the body serves us in many ways, including digestion, posture, continence and even your sex life. Doing pelvic floor exercises can also help you develop better posture, because your pelvis has to be properly aligned to execute them correctly. When you engage the pelvic floor successfully, you'll feel your tailbone at the base of the spine move slightly forward and you will also feel a gentle engagement of the lower abdominal muscles as well.If you don’t feel the abdominal muscles, your pelvis isn’t aligned correctly for the exercise.
2. Standing balance
Balance on one foot for 30 seconds at a time. If you have good posture, which means that your skeleton is well aligned, your body will hardly waver with one foot off of the ground. You also have a few options if you want some variety. Balance on one foot and bring the lifted knee up toward your waist; or go in the opposite direction and bring the lifted heel back toward your butt. Standing balances improve the muscles of both the leg on the ground and the one in the air, and your abdominal muscles also work to stabilize the spine.
3. Inner thigh sqeeze
Almost everyone could use some more tone in the inner thighs, as the inner and outer legs are a classic area of imbalance in the body. Depending on whether you have a purse, briefcase or backpack, place it between your inner thighs, with your feet as wide apart as the object between your legs, and squeeze. You can combine this with the pelvic floor work to make sure you're properly aligned as you engage against whatever you carry to work.
4. Heels up
When you lift the heels up and balance on the balls of the feet, work the outer shins towards each other, trying to make them parallel. The inner foot and ankle might try to roll out to the side when the heels come up off the floor. Don’t let them.
5. Door squat
If you have a door to lean on, step your feet about 12 to 18 inches away from the bottom and put your trunk flat against the door. Try to keep a small arch in your lower back and a similar arch in the neck with your head lined up directly above your pelvis. Lower your hips about a foot, keeping your feet hip distance apart and parallel, with the knees tracked directly over the ankles. You can also do this with your bag between the thighs and using the feeling of a successful pelvic floor lift to know if you are properly aligned.
While it would be nice for everyone to have an hour or more to exercise every day, if that isn't going to happen it's a great idea to make the most of your commute. Do your body a favor by using it a bit on your way work!