How to Incorporate Simple Exercises into Your Daily Life
Even the most devoted gym goer has the occasional day when she’s just not feeling it. Sometimes hours of sitting at a desk or performing another sedentary activity can take your motivation for exercise away. After all, the law of inertia says an object in motion stays in motion, and an object at rest stays at rest. This physics law applies to people who are otherwise inclined to go to the gym for a full body workout, too. The best way to avoid this sedentary slump is to stay in motion! Do not slip too far into rest.
There are lots of benefits to staying active throughout the day. One of the most important: you’ll maintain the energy and motivation you need to get through the Curves front door. Most of success is showing up, and nowhere is that truer than at a gym designed for women, like Curves.
Plus, by doing smaller, shorter bursts of activity, you’ll fit exercise into your busiest days. The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends you do a total of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. This equals an average of about 30 minutes per day, at least five days a week.1 You can break these chunks down even further with 10-minute bouts throughout the day.2 After all, with everything we women do, a 30-minute gym workout isn’t always feasible. Sometimes we must engage in a home workout for women and/or break our exercise routine into smaller chunks.
Good news is, results of a recent British study show doing shorter, more intense bouts of exercise may help you lose more weight.3
So, with all that in mind, here are some examples of simple exercises for women to keep your body in motion and ready for your workout routine:
Get movement in when you can.
An easy solution to more exercise for women: Whenever you have the option to walk, do it! This is called incidental exercise, and it helps you get more activity into your day and stay motivated to do your full body workout with Curves. Park far away from your office, grocery store, or wherever you are out and about. You’ll start your morning with a nice little stroll. During the day, choose stairs over elevators whenever you can, and seize every opportunity to move. Take your child or grandchild for a walk, make an extra jaunt around the block when you get the mail, or hit the pavement instead of the café for your lunch break.4
Use your own body as resistance, wherever you are.
Be it on your living room rug, hotel room, or office floor, there are some exercises that can keep you perky and nimble in between your workout program for women at Curves. Here are some effective body weight exercises you can do pretty much any time, any place.
Pushups: To do a pushup, start in the push-up position with your arms straight, butt clenched, and abs braced. Slowly lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, keeping your elbows close to your body. Once your chest hits the floor or your arms reach a 90-degree angle, pause and then push back up to the starting position. Complete as many as you can without sacrificing your form. If you find traditional pushups too challenging, start by doing them against a wall. Or, perform them with your knees on the floor.5
Side/back lunge: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step one leg out to the side, bending that knee at 90 degrees so that your knee is directly over your toes. Lower your butt back and down, while keeping your other leg as straight as possible. Push off with your bent leg and return to the standing position. Next, step straight back with the same leg you lunged to the side with, bending both of your knees to 90 degrees, front knee over your toes. Push off the floor with your back leg and return to the starting position. Complete 10 reps for one set and then repeat on the opposite side. Do two sets.5
Forearm plank: Place your forearms on the floor with your elbows aligned below your shoulders and your arms parallel to the body about shoulder-width apart. Close your hands into fists. Push your toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilize the bottom half of your body. Be careful not to lock your knees. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at the floor, about a foot in front of your hands. Your head should be in line with your spine. Be sure to keep your hips in alignment with your spine. Hold this position for 20 seconds to start. As you get more comfortable, hold the plank as long as possible without sacrificing your form.5
Plank: Kneel on the floor placing your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Extend your legs directly behind you. Remain on the balls of your feet while keeping them hip-distance apart. Engage your core and fix your gaze between your hands to maintain a neutral spine. Hold this position for 20 seconds to start. As you get stronger, hold the plank as long as possible while maintaining solid form.
Perform stretches throughout the day.
Regular stretching is good for injury prevention, enhanced performance during your whole body workout, stress relief, joint protection, and improved blood flow.6 To stay flexible, perform these stretches for women:
Cobra: The cobra pose is a great stretch for the muscles in your chest and abdomen.7 It also helps strengthen the muscles around your spine.8 To perform a cobra stretch, lie on your stomach with your hands by your sides directly under your shoulders and your hands facing forward. Extend your legs behind you and flex your ankles so your toes point away from your body. As you exhale, press your hips into the floor and pull your chest away from the ground while keeping your hips stable. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, the gently relax and lower body back to rest.5
Downward facing dog: To do a downward dog, start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Spread your fingers wide apart and press firmly through your knuckles and palms, distributing your weight evenly across your hands. Tuck your toes and lift your butt toward the ceiling as you extend your legs, without locking your knees. Bring your body into the shape of an upside-down V.5
Shoulder shrug: A shoulder shrug is a great stretch for women that can be done waiting in line at the grocery store, at your desk, anywhere really. This motion will help release tension in your neck and shoulders. To perform a shoulder shrug, inhale and shrug your shoulders at the same time, lifting them as high as your ears. Hold for a few seconds, then release and drop. Repeat three times.9
When you can’t be at Curves, by doing exercises at home, at the office or on the go, you will keep up your conditioning and maintain the energy level you need to get the most of your full body workout.