by Catherine J. Rourke
Published March 14, 2010
With spring lurking just around the corner, it's time to start moving!
New research suggests that you can maintain optimum fitness in less than 15 minutes a day, without hitting the gym. Now you find clever ways to incorporate good habits in your daily life.
You're not alone in those reasons for skipping that yoga class. More than 64 percent of Americans report that they're just too tired at the end of a day on the workplace treadmill to start running on another one, or to contort their weary forms into pretzl poses on a yoga mat.
And who can blame them?
The good news is that you don't need a gym to justify your workout. Instead, get creative and start turning everyday lemons into exercise lemonade by using the stairs, the furthest parking space and even the TV.
Take these simple steps to get moving, improve your fitness level and feel better without even breaking a sweat!
Take the stairs. Skip the elevator and head for the stairs to keep your heart rate up and burn extra calories. No matter where you are, whether at the office or the mall, make making this a habit can zip your fitness level to higher ground.
Get a leg up . Whether you’re sitting on a train commuting to work or typing e-mails at your desk, it’s easy to squeeze in some extra thigh toning. Sit up straight so your knees align with your hips, and extend your right leg until your foot is level with your knee. Bring your leg back to sitting position and then repeat on the left side. Do 10 to 20 reps for each leg. No one will even notice what you're doing.
Raise a hand . Hold a heavy can or bottle in one arm and do 20 bicep curls, then repeat for the other arm. You can do this sitting in gridlock traffic, waiting in line on your lunch break, while you’re on a work call and when you're watching TV.
Have a ball. Your ergonomic chair at the office may feel comfy, but it’s also giving you weak abdominal muscles. Strengthen your core by sitting up straight on an exercise ball for just 15 minutes a day.
Strap on weights. Burn extra calories and tone your calves by wearing light ankle weights while you walk to work, the grocery store and anywhere you walk. Wear pants and no one will ever notice.
Reach for a DVD -- without the popcorn. Instead of a movie tonight, watch and follow a fun exercise DVD and follow along. With such a wide variety, from yoga to zumba, now you can get fit right in your own living room -- when it suits your schedule!
Get in the swim. There's nothing better than water to give you a good workout. Water provides resistance and works every muscle in the body. A fifteen-minute lap will do more for your body and mind than anything else.
Take a walk. Nature offers the cure-all for whatever ails us and moving those legs will move your mind and spirit to a better place too. For urban dwellers, a walk still offers a refreshing change of scenery and pace from the desk and couch to give metabolisms an extra boost.
Even if you're just watching TV, do some leg lifts with ankle weights or try some bicep curls with large containers. Every move you make and step you take will put you on the road to better health!
Catherine Rourke is the Observer's Health Sentinel and medical reporter.
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