“Commutercising” to make better use of your day and improve your health
Many of us have busy lives and sometimes it’s difficult to get to the gym to do that 30 to 45 minute workout. The good news is that we don’t have to go to the gym to get a reasonable routine completed. We can workout by going about our daily business from home, the office or even while sitting in the car. Here are some simple tips to get that workout completed while doing simple tasks.
I will be going over some of these simple workouts in my new series Exercise Anywhere on youtube. Here are some simple “commutercises” that you do while seated in a car, bus, subway train or while waiting for your ride.
** Note that I do note recommend that you do these while driving, since it could constitute distracted driving. However, if you are waiting for someone in the parking lot while stationary or even before starting a trip or after ending a trip, if you are a passenger in a car, bus or subway these simple commutercise are a good addition to your daily routine.
Commuter’s Sit Up
Do a “commuter’s sit up” Tighten your tummy by pulling in your stomach muscles and tighten for five seconds. It’s equivalent to one sit up, but you can do it while sitting in your car.
Jeff Daubs is a personal trainer who recommends a simple but very effective commutercise “Place your hands against the roof or your car, push up with your arms and squeeze your abs at the same time,” he says. “Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat as many times as possible. The dual action of pressing up with the arms and shoulders and squeezing the core creates a static hold that serves to strengthen the arms, shoulders, back, and core all at the same time.” He suggests lifting one or both legs off the floor to engage your core even more.
When waiting for your flight, taking that Uber to and from work, or going out for night, get more value out of your time by doing some simple exercises. Jennifer Liaw, Senior Principal Physiotherapist,Department of Physiotherapy at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the Sing Health group recommends the following:
• Turn the neck to one side, hold for five seconds. Repeat on the other side. Repeat two to five times as required.
• Sit straight, look forward and tilt your head to one side (ear to shoulder). You should feel the stretch on the side of the neck. Hold for five seconds. Repeat on the other side. Repeat two to five times as required.
• Sit upright and look down all the way (chin to chest) until you feel the stretch on the back of your head and your neck region. Hold for five seconds. Repeat two to five times as required.
• Sitting straight, rotate your trunk to one side. Hold for five seconds. Repeat on the other side.
• From a normal sitting position in the car, slowly roll your bottom (forward) away from the seat so as to form an arch in the small of your back. Hold for five seconds and slowly roll your back flat against the seat. Repeat this process two to five times as required. This helps to mobilise your back, especially if you are unable to sit for long periods due to backache or stiffness.
• To relieve pressure off the buttocks, shift body weight to the right and lift the left buttock off the seat. Hold for five seconds and lower the left buttock. Repeat on the other side. Repeat two to five times as required.
• Lean forward and put both hands to the back. Pull shoulders to the back and hold for five seconds. Repeat two to five times as required.
Note that Ms. Liaw suggests that these commutercises are easy and safe for most people. It is normal to feel some stretching in the muscles and soft tissues while doing these exercises. She also warns Do not overstretch and stop the exercise if you experience pain.
If you have pre-existing neck, back or spinal problems, or if you are in doubt about whether you can perform certain exercises, do ask a professional. Besides a doctor, you can also check with a physiotherapist.
There are many ways to get your daily workout routine completed without that trip to the gym. These are just a few of simple exercises that you can do on the train, bus, plane or while ubering around.
Irina Marchenkova (CHIC Irina)