The following is a guest post from Bryan Maltier, a personal finance blogger who focuses on saving, investing, credit/debt, real estate and career advice at Gajizmo.com.
We Need Recess
In addition to nap time, sometimes it feels like the only thing missing from grown-up life is recess. Not so much the need for leisure time (though more of that would be appreciated), but the desire to have a special time of the day designed for exercise and physical activity. Elementary schools have recess, middle and high schools have physical education, and universities have periods between classes. What does adult life have?
Most of us work hard at a desk or inside of an office/building at least 8 hours of the day, sit on our butts sans the occasional trip to the bathroom, and are likely exhausted afterwards. What a horrible feeling! I’ve been an athlete my entire life, currently work out 4-5 times a week, and I still need a cup of coffee to get me to the gym. It makes sense that many of us face the same challenges, whether it is finding the time or mustering up the energy and motivation to follow-through.
Quick Workout Ideas
So naturally, when I read about Crystal’s New Year’s resolution to maintain a light exercise regiment, I jumped at the opportunity to share a few easy workout methods that I’ve passed on to friends. The best thing about these quick workouts is that they get results and most of them can be applied anywhere – before showering in the mornings, while making your breakfast, at the office, during your lunch break, and any spare time later.
- 20 Jumping Jacks
- 20 Mountain Climbers
- 20 Squats
- 20 Lunges
- 20 High Knees
- 20 Standing Calf Raises
- 10 Single-leg Hops
- 20-Second Wall Sit
- 20 Crunches or Sit-ups
- 20 Pushups
- 20 Dips
- 20 Wall Pushups
- 5 Flights of Stairs
- 20-Second Plank
- 20-Second Side Plank
Needless to say, all these workouts don’t need to be performed in one session, especially if you are a beginner. Pick and choose 5 to 7 components you are comfortable with, and apply them on a daily basis for the first week, while progressively increasing the number of maneuvers thereafter.
Build Your Endurance
Exercising is part art and part science – the general scientific principles regarding health and fitness apply to everyone, but individuals need to start within their comfort zone and slowly challenge their bodies to build endurance and strength. If you can’t do 20 squats the first time, push yourself to do as many as you can and remember the number. The next day or week, hit that minimum number and try to add one more.
As John Lyons once said, “Look at frustration as a positive thing. It is the frustration that drives you to improve.”
No athlete or human was born with the perfect body or athleticism – even raw talent is sculpted through repetitive training. If you are unsatisfied with your body’s strength, develop the discipline to consistently work on it and you will eventually have what you want.
Don’t Forget Other Activities Either
Though I didn’t include it in the actual list, never underestimate the positive effects of stretching, flexing, and sports. First, I don’t have to explain the effectiveness of yoga – there is a reason professional athletes, including football players, partake in the discipline. Studies show that yoga improves musculo-skeletal and mental health, and thus even stretching your arms, legs, and back twice a day can make a huge difference in improving blood circulation and toning.
Furthermore, many individuals overlook the benefits of flexing. How do humans lift weights or engage in strength training? We are essentially flexing different muscles to perform certain movements, so why not flex your biceps and triceps, and tighten your glutes, calves, and quads while sitting at your desk or driving? You may not become a bodybuilder with this technique, but you will certainly burn calories.
Make It Fun
Some female friends of mine that have asked me to train them simply hate the idea of doing physical work. In cases like this, I take them out to have fun, such as bicycling on a breezy night, hiking on a trail, walking the dog, or a friendly game of tennis. Playing sports or enjoying an active hobby can be a great alternative that preoccupies your mind while enduring physical activity. Even something as simple as getting a few baseball outfield gloves and playing catch will make your time more social. A social activity allows conversation and playful banter to mask the physical nature of the endeavor.
Finally, I want to address Weight Watchers. Though I have never tried the program myself, from listening to and observing friends who gave it a try, it seems to be a good way to start the diet process and hold yourself accountable. If you aren’t sure about what to eat, the portions you should be consuming, or the proper daily balance, Weight Watchers can be a good start in terms of diet education and wellness. Maybe the social pressure of the weigh-ins can even motivate you to work harder. However, after a month or two, the positive re-enforcement and confidence built from eating right, seeing your weight go down, and feeling better about yourself will offer you the ability to leave the program but continue with the regiment.
If you are serious about improving your fitness in 2013, then give our easy, quick workouts a shot and let us know how you like them.
Crystal’s Comments: Thanks for the great exercise tips! 2013 is definitely the year Crystal finally gets off her butt. Anybody else making this their year of getting a bit more healthy – whether through diet, exercise, or both?