How to turn everyday activities into exercises
There are plenty of ideas for how to exercise during everyday activities and it's not possible to cover them all but this article will hopefully get you thinking of ideas and doing some things differently in your day.
- While brushing teeth, do you stand over the basin hunched over? Why not stand up tall, think of your posture, relax your shoulders, keep your head back and then do heel raises.
- When you're waiting for someone or something there are plenty of easy exercises in standing you can choose from. Heel lifts (hamstring curls), heel raises, press-ups against a wall, squats, side leg-lifts and the list goes on. Do something other than sit - it takes just as long!
- In wind and rain, focus on keeping your face and shoulders relaxed when outside. It's a good exercise in relaxation and tensing your face and shoulders doesn't actually help the rain feel more comfortable!
- When walking up stairs, put the foot flat on the step and push up with your calf. You can really get the calf muscles working up stairs if you do it properly.
- When on the phone at home, why not sit unsupported against a wall for 30 seconds here and there. You'll switch on the quads and the glutes and because of chatting you'll learn to keep the breathing independant of the leg effort.
- When standing in line you can subtly practice single leg balance. No one will notice and you'll be improving strength and co-ordination of many forgotten muscles in the legs and hips. (Keep hips level - don't let the supporting hip stick out to the side or the unsupported hip drop towards the floor). You only need to lift the other leg a fraction of a millimetre off the floor.
- Every time you stand up, smoothly FULLY straighten the knees and hold the contraction in the quads for a second or two. Stand up tall, then get moving. So many people only stand up 90% of the way when they go from sitting to standing.
- When you're walking, make an effort to walk slightly faster than comfortable and focus on good (but not forced) stride length. Make sure you are not carrying bags awkwardly.