After a long day at the office, if you’re like most people you just want to flop on the couch with some mindless television and de-stress. Bring out the Ben amp; Jerries if necessary! The last thing you want to think of is throwing on your work out clothes and tax your already tired muscles. Can’t you just work out without actually having to, you wonder?
Actually, you can. Throughout your normal work day, you could have already completed 30 minutes of aerobic activity plus a complete strength work out by the time you’ve left the office. Consider these tips for a complete no-brainer office work out:
Morning: 15-20 minutes of cardio + abs, core
When the alarm goes off, go ahead and hit the snooze button. No, really. Take the whole nine minutes. While lying in your half-sleep haze, clench your stomach muscles for thirty seconds. Then relax for ten. Repeat twenty times, or until your alarm reminds you to get up. Not only will you feel more awake when you rise, you’ll have just done a mini abdominal work out without even getting out of bed.
Set your morning routine to music. Invest in a shower radio and keep it playing while you get ready for work. This will set your mood and put naturally you in motion. The dancing you just can’t help but do as you throw on your outfit adds a five-minute work out to your day without disrupting your routine…at least not in a bad way.
Unfortunately, after your Broadway show of a morning, you probably don’t have time to do anything but grab breakfast (which you really should!) and run. Use this need for speed to your advantage! Picking up the pace as you go throughout your day boosts your metabolism and helps you burns more calories. Park your car at the back of the lot even if you’re late, then charge to the office as fast as you can. The sense of urgency may give you a heart attack, but after running up the stairs and flying to your desk, you’ll have added 10 minutes of legitimate Cardio. You can easily add five more minutes of exercise just by keeping up the sense of urgency. And don’t forget to keep the tunes going, even if only in your head! This makes the quickness feel rhythmic, and you’ll naturally move faster all day.
While sitting at your desk, you can sneak in some extra strength exercises even as you do work. Your office may laugh if you throw out your leather swivel chair for a stability ball – but sitting on the colorful sphere may be the best complete work out for your core you can get. It forces you to keep straight posture and improve your balance, while tining your gluts and thighs without you even thinking about it. If you’re night quite ready to forgo the comforts of a normal chair and a low profile, try sitting an inch or so above the seat for thirty seconds at a time, working your gluts and hamstring muscles.
Lunch: 10 minutes Cardio + quads
Your lunch break provides a golden opportunity to sneak in minutes of Cardio, whether you bring a brown bag or head out on the town. Whatever you do, get in 10 minutes of walking – even if you have to take a few extra hallways to the fridge if you stay in. When you’re waiting in line for your skinless chicken on rye with organic humus spread (or let’s face it, sometimes greasy meat lover’s New York-style pizza), add a five minute quad work out standing on one foot. Yes, it sounds silly, but your toned legs will thank you kindly after a few weeks. Stand for thirty seconds on your left leg then switch for thirty. You don’t have to hike up the loose foot like a Dalmatian. Just a few inches inconspicuously off the ground should do the trick. You can also do this as you wait for your leftovers to heat up in the microwave.
Afternoon: 5 minutes of Cardio + arms, calves, abs
Back in the office, you probably feel a little lethargic from lunch. Get up and move! Make a conscious effort to stand up and walk around when doing any activity that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a computer. Taking every opportunity to move about can easily add five more minutes of activity to simply sitting at your desk. Go ahead and time yourself to ensure a full five minutes, starting your watch everytime you jump up and pace then stopping the clock when you sit. While on a conference call, use your desk to throw in some dips. Yes, you’ll probably look funny. But your arms will be toned. While you’re at it, work your calves by holding some heavy books and doing toe raises. (Simply raise your heals to stand on the balls of your feet, then lower your them until they nearly, but not quite touch the ground.) Three sets of ten is a good place to start. When the office gets used to seeing you bounce with a dictionary, go ahead and move up to five.
Evening: Veg and Rejuvenate
Now when you arrive home, you can relax in front of the tube (after you’ve fixed dinner, done the dishes, cleaned the house and helped the kids with their homework) knowing that you’ve already completed a full work out. Sure, you’re not about to run a marathon, but on a busy schedule, you can seamlessly add fitness to your routine.