It’s liberating to know that anywhere can be our personal exercise studio. That includes our morning mode of transportation.
Often we’re so pressed for time a conventional workout may not be possible on any given day. Yet conventional workouts aren’t the only way to get fit. Every step counts as movement and every opportunity we get to add a few strengthening exercises into our day can be fully taken advantage of. They all count as exercises that get us one step closer to our best health.
The average office commute can take anywhere from 30 minutes to almost an hour depending on where we go. At peak “go to work” times we may already be standing on packed trains, subways or buses, so why not turn it into a positive experience and take advantage of this perfect opportunity to do a few quick exercises that increase our strength, enhance our flexibility and focus on balance.
The best part is these exercises are so discrete they’re virtually invisible to fellow commuters. Give it a try:
Discrete Leg Raise:
This exercise strengthens the small stabilizer muscles in charge of keeping our body steady and balanced. begin to feel the burn along the legs or even the ankles. Warning Ladies: It is advisable to wear flats instead of heels if possible.
- Stand instead of sit.
- Hold on to a bar or loop
- Keep your knees together. Bend one knee lifting your foot discreetly one inch off of the ground.
- Keep your hips level and your torso tall.
- This action becomes more challenging as transport comes to a stop.
- Keep your leg up for two stops, then switch.
Much like the picture below, this exercise looks like nothing more than a casual “hang out” while waiting for our ride. It looks just as discrete without leaning on anything too. In fact, isn’t this a common stance these days considered “sexy” by the “selfie generation” that teaches us that this is the optimal position to look graceful for photos?
The Commuter’s Stretch is actually known as an illiotibial band stretch. This stretch may relieve knee or hip pain and increases mobility. Not to mention stretches of all kinds just feel great when we do them.
- Stand tall belly to spine. Hold on to a bar or loop. You can even do this one while waiting for your mode of transportation on the platform or bus stop.
- Cross your right leg over left. Both feet flat on the floor squeeze your gluteus muscles (your posterior).
- Keep your hips square. Subtly lean towards the right.
- Count to 10. Repeat on the other leg.
Abs are one of the top muscles we’re constantly focused on working. As more exciting research surfaces we know that standard crunches aren’t the only way to tone the midsection. This exercise is a perfect example. It focuses on the internal core that pulls your midsection in and flattens the stomach. Best of all it creates overall core strength which alleviates back pain.
- Stand tall. Belly relaxed.
- As you exhale tense the stomach as though you’ve just let out a deep cough.
- Hold the contraction for 10 seconds then relax.
- Repeat 6 times.
Women, we all know the kegel right? The exercise that promises to enhance orgasms and reduce problems of incontinence due to weak pelvic floor muscles caused by child birth (or some think age). Yet there’s one very important problem when many discuss the standard kegel exercise. We’re often taught to contract the pelvic floor and pretend we’re stopping a urination flow, but then what? Our pelvic floor muscles work in two directions to hold our urine in and to push urine (and babies) out. Control of both the hold and push out are equally as important to create a strong pelvic floor we have maximal control over. Especially if you plan on having another baby in the future (which requires quite a push!) you should definitely add in the Elevator Kegels to your standard kegel routine.
- Slowly contract the pelvic floor muscles that stop you from urinating as if your pelvic floor muscles were in an elevator ascending one floor at a time.
- Hold for 10 seconds. Don’t relax completely.
- Let go of the contraction in stages. As if your pelvic floor muscles were an elevator slowly descending one floor at a time until you reach the bottom level.
- Push out very slightly.
- Repeat 6 times
Repeat this circuit until you’ve reached your destination.