Welcome to Embody Results!

Welcome to Embody Results!
Healthy Lifestyle Consulting

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Do you have time to exercise?

"I just don't have time!"

This is probably the Number 1 reason people have for not exercising. I know it was one of my top two. It sounds like a valid argument, too. I mean, once you've explained to someone how much you are expected to squeeze into the already-not-enough hours in a day, how could they tell you to do more, right?!?
If you're like me, you're busy more than you're not. When I was a single mom, I spent a long time, working long hours (sometimes at two jobs). When my kids were with me, I spent every moment that I wasn't working or commuting with them. When they were with their dad, I worked even longer hours, ran my errands, did my shopping and house hunting, and basically kept myself as busy as possible to try and not feel my kids' absence.
I've had people tell me that with a full time job, being a full time student, and having a full time family, they enjoy an hour-long workout every morning. 

Just kidding! I know that some people just seem to have way more on their plates and still manage to do more than the rest of us. They either have more help, better time management, or they're just not as hard on themselves when things aren't perfect... or all three.

For those of us who don't feel like we have the time to add a workout into our days, I have a solution! Instead of finding an hour to fit in a 30 minute workout and then 30 minutes of getting ready for and/or getting to work, school, or whatever, use some of the minutes you already have hanging out in your day.

No matter who you are or what you do, there are some things that you just can't claim you don't do. At some point throughout your day you sit, you stand, and you go to the bathroom. What if I told you that you can do a few exercises while you're doing those things and end up squeezing an entire circuit workout into your day? Believe it or not, you totally can!

A few squats here, a few twists there, and you'll improve your muscle tone and your stamina in as little as a few days. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are at least seven benefits to being more active:
  1. Control weight
  2. Combat illness
  3. Improve mood
  4. Boost energy
  5. Promotes better sleep
  6. Improved sex life
  7. It's fun and (sometimes) a social activity

Who wouldn't want all that? So here is my guide to Quick & Simple Fitness that can be squeezed into your day in bite-sized pieces:

I started with the squats in the bathroom and after the first time, I instantly felt the burn. I didn't remember every single time at first. Some days it was just once or twice. But I gotta say that I felt it! I also gotta say that after the third time, it didn't burn like the first couple. It started getting easier THAT quickly.

As with any exercises, start slowly and don't hurt yourself. Watch your form. Perform each movement deliberately and don't bounce or rush. Whenever possible, take a deep breath in with one movement and do a forceful exhale with the next. You might be surprised at how much deep breaths help with your workout and your metal health.

Squats: Keep your knees from going over your toes by putting your tush down and keeping your feet flat on the floor. As you squat, put your arms out in front of you (like the little picture) and as you stand up, let your arms down at your sides. Before you move into the next squat, you can add a little micro movement to give the squat a little kick. As you stand up from your squat and release your arms, push them behind you and give your shoulder blades a quick squeeze as you clench your bum. Then back into the next squat.

Push Outs: If it's easier for you to do push ups, have at it! If you're in a setting where "drop and give me 20" is not exactly appropriate, push outs are a great substitute. Like push ups, push outs use your body weight and gravity to work your upper body and core muscles. Wall push outs: stand straight facing the wall and stretch your arms out in front of you, palms to floor. You want to be far enough from the wall for the tips of your middle fingers to touch the wall without leaning. Without moving your feet, lean toward the wall so your palms are flat against it. Engage your core (or suck in your gut) and then lean into the wall until you're almost touching your nose to it, keeping your back as straight as possible. Try it with your arms tightly by your sides or with loose elbows and feel the difference. Counter push outs: basically the same, except your feet will be further behind you and your arms will be down instead of straight out. Engage (suck in) and lean into the counter then push yourself away from it.

Torso Twists: There are so many ways to do this! Twists are phenomenal for strengthening your core, protecting your spine, and trimming your waistline. Above, I listed a good way to ensure good form and complete full twists. You could also hold something heavy such as a weight or a large can of beans for added resistance. You could also use a resistance band. Another option that feels less "twisty" is punching. You get more out of this one when standing, but you can do it sitting as well. Keep your hips facing forward and try to keep your shoulders facing forward as well. Engage (suck in) and punch forward with one hand and then the other. It's not a blatant twist but if you keep doing it, you'll feel it in your core. There's also the Russian twist where you sit on the floor or your chair, lift your legs together and, while clasping your hands or holding a weight, twist from side to side, touching your hand or weight to the floor or chair with each movement.

Leg Lifts: Sit up straight in your chair or on your couch or even on the floor and stretch one leg out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Lift it up as high as is comfortable, ensuring your thigh is off the chair (couch or floor). Return to parallel and continue to 25 reps. If parallel isn't comfortable for you, bend your knees slightly. As an alternative, you can pedal your feet, making sure you lift your legs as high as comfortable and making large circles as you pedal. (Note: If you keep your legs parallel, how you hold your feel will work different muscles so I recommend alternating. Pointed toes work your inner thighs and quads while a flexed foot stretches the calf and hamstring.)

Stretches: Stretching is so important and, when done properly, benefits your mental health as well as your physical health. Do not bounce while stretching. (Ask me about Yoga!) I can't say enough about pigeon pose and shoulder rolls. They are quite possibly my favorite of all stretches. Maybe it's because I carry a lot of tension in my hips and shoulders. If you can get on the floor and do the "real" pigeon, PLEASE DO IT. You won't regret making this a regular part of your day. Whether you spend a lot of time on your feet or a lot of time on your keester, you need pigeon. (See below for an instructional video on proper form.) If you're doing a chair pigeon, sit up straight and keep your left foot flat on the floor. bring your right ankle onto your left knee so your legs are perpendicular. Hold that pose for a minimum of 30 seconds. Holding a stretch for 2 minutes is the best way to get the most out of it. Release and repeat on the other side. Shoulder rolls are one of the best ways to alleviate neck and shoulder tension. Sitting or standing straight and tall, let your arms hang, unengaged, by your sides. Begin by pushing your shoulders forward, then raise them up toward your ears, then push them back, and finally down to the starting point. Try this square approach a few times to make sure you're hitting each point for the fullest stretch. Breathe in deeply as you go forward and up, then exhale like you're blowing out a stubborn candle as you go back and down. Turn the square into large, almost dramatic, circles and keep breathing. Do this as long as you hold your chair pigeons.

So there you have it! 5 simple ways to add fitness into your busy days! Try it and let me know how it works for you. Please share your experiences and suggestions in the comments below or feel free to reach out to me directly.

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