Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2-Minute Mini Workouts - How to stay fit throughout the day

With the New Year a lot of us made the resolution to exercise more this year…to be healthier and fitter.  Part of this commitment requires you to set aside time for yourself every week, time to invest in your health and thus in your future.  But, it’s also about making fitness and exercise a part of your everyday life.

Sometimes we have a hard time working out as much as we want to (or need to).  That’s what this week is all about how to exercise while on the move.

Continuing on my mission to help you all stay fit, active and toned this year, this week’s exercises will help keep you on track even when you can’t get in that extra 1 hour workout session.   Sound good?  Well get ready for the “Toothbrush Workout”! 

Ah…don’t dismiss this funny sounding muscle toner...these little sessions will help keep your legs toned, your booties lifted and your core and arms strong.  And, when schedules get pushed to the max, as will inevitably happen at some point, every mini-workout session counts (research has recently shown that these little mini-workouts throughout the day actually can add up to a full workout, giving similar health and physical benefits). 

Add in these 2 minute mini-workouts, morning and night, along with the other mini-workout ideas below to make sure you will be looking and feeling your very best, even when you can’t workout 4 or 5 days a week.

“Toothbrush Workout
 Note:  This is much easier if you have one of those electric toothbrushes…added benefit, those are better for your teeth anyway.

Leg Lifts – Back, Side, and Front
Begin by pulling in your belly, lifting you chest, and flexing your legs .  While holding on to the sink, we are going to do 10-15 repetitions on each kick, on each leg.  Try to keep the lifting leg from touching the ground so that you work the stabilizing muscles in your legs and core.
Back:  Lift your right leg straight behind you until you feel your hamstrings and glutes activate.  Pause for 1 second at the top of the lift before returning to the start position. 
Side: Keeping your right leg straight, lift your leg to the side while keeping your knee facing forward (this will work the sides of your leg); Think of pressing your hip forward.  If you let your knee point toward the ceiling you will be working the front of your leg.  Pause for 1 second at the top of the lift before returning to the start position. 
Front:  Make sure your belly is in, chest lifted, legs flexed.  Slightly turn your toes out in order to work your inner thighs along with the front of your leg.  Slowly and with control, lift your leg up in front of you.  Again, pause for 1 second at the top of the lift before returning to the start position. 

Start with your feet wider than shoulder width, belly pulled in, chest up and open.  Remember the lower you go the wider your feet will need to be.  That said, make sure you aren’t doing the splits!  Your knees should be over your ankles, not inside of your foot width or past your toes!  Keeping this position, press your knees out and squat down and back up, keeping the motion smooth.  Go for at least 40-50 squats.

Modification:  Hold on to a hand weight and add an uppercut punch as you press up from your squat.  Do 20-25 on one side, then switch hands and repeat (yes, this is where the electric toothbrush is really handy).

Walk the stairs…easy enough!  You can alternate between taking stairs one at a time and two at a time.  Go as fast as you can go while still being safe with that toothbrush in your mouth.

More ideas:
Doing laundry?  Cooking?  Watching TV?  Try some of these 2 minute (or less) exercises ideas out.

  •        Need something upstairs or downstairs?  Take the stairs two to three times instead of just the once.
  •        Arm circles!  Jog in place while doing big arm circles to the side, overhead, and in front (Note: 

    you’re your arms pressing out and circle from the shoulder, not the elbow or wrist).
  •       Do the twist: Stand with your feet hip width apart, crunch your core, and twist side to side.
  •       Tricep dips using the sofa or chair (Note: Remember to keep your belly pulled in, chest up and open, and elbows pointing behind you.  Try to get your triceps parallel to the floor at a 90 degree angle).
  •      Counter push-ups…perfect to do in between stirring your dinner on the stove (Note: As always, keep your belly in and chest open.

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