During the course of a day, you may or may not realize there are opportunities abound to grab a few reps of exercise to work your body. There are a variety of choices you can make to burn an extra calorie and activate your muscles for better long-term benefits. Of course it’s all about seizing the moment. I wouldn’t suggest to drop and do 10 push-ups in the middle of a meeting, or to jog around the parking lot in 95 degree weather in your suit (sweat, sticky clothes the rest of the day, and maybe even smell).
Here are some suggestions based on the various things I may do during the course of any given day to “add-on” to my regular healthy lifestyle routine. Some I may need to be in a more casual dress just in case I do sweat a bit. Any many of these I may repeat, and the number of reps isn’t fixed. These probably seem obvious to some, but it’s a matter of actually doing them instead of thinking about it. Just keep in mind that if you do exercise regularly, you don’t want to overwork a particular muscle group. For instance, if today was “ab day”, I may not do any extra ab work today or tomorrow (rest is vital for muscle recovery).
Don’t look for that parking space close to the entrance at the mall/store – just park and walk.
Drop and do those 10 push-ups in your office. Vary the type – narrow, wide, sphinx, etc.
You can squeeze in a few ab routines during the day – crunches, plank for a minute, leg raises, oblique raises, etc.
Do 30 squats and 30 lunges (each leg) – make it more interesting and grab something around you that weighs a few pounds (or is just plain heavy).
Do a wall squat for 60 seconds.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator. If I’m going up several floors, I might jog up skipping a step.
Another stair routine – I’ll walk up stairs squatting down with each step to better engage the leg muscles.
Take a 10 minute walk during a break or at lunch. Walk at a faster pace to increase your heart rate.
I have a mini cycle under my desk – I may “bike” for 5 minutes while on the computer. I even saw a fitness band exerciser that attaches to an office chair.
Press your hands together and apply pressure to engage the chest muscles – hold for 30 seconds. Vary the position – in front of you, over your head, etc.
The above does not replace or act as a regular exercise routine, it augments it. But it’s these little movements and “extras” you can incorporate into your daily routine to help stay fit, have some fun, all which continually make you think of being active.
I’m going to go against the grain a bit on “Motivation Monday”. Motivation Monday, a common motivational approach to getting people to get into a habit of working out, eating healthier, or in general to break bad trends. Like a New Years resolution, I feel with many people, Motivation Monday is almost like a fad start to something, which is why you hear about so many people falling off their resolution band wagons. If you focus on a start of a week approach, you’ve compartmentalized your focus to a week, and may find yourself fighting to stay on track for the rest of the week. It can become cyclical, every Monday picking yourself up for the previous week where you slid a bit.
Try looking at your overall health and nutritional goals as a life experience, not bound by a calendar, or a scale, or any other mental restriction. Being healthy is something you should strive for everyday, for life (thus the term Healthy Lifestyle). Dedicating yourself to anything, whether it be your health, or your work, or anything else, requires some tough mental work to be successful. The key is to continue to train yourself mentally with your approach, until that magical moment in time when whatever you are working at flips from being a chore to being a regular part of your daily routine. It took me over 5 years of continually working at this approach with regards to my health, but it’s been now 20 years where exercising (and more recently smart nutrition) has become something I barely have to think about anymore. It’s almost as if I’m on auto pilot, and that’s because I understood that the healthy lifestyle has no end point (well, until the ultimate end point of my life). I will sound repetitive, but my mantra is if you live the healthy lifestyle, your body will follow.
If you’re looking for motivation and inspiration to get yourself out of a rut, or to lose some weight, or just to generally feel better, try to look at the bigger picture. Sit back and take a more patient approach, and begin to piece together your healthy lifestyle one day at a time. Don’t be discouraged if a date on a calendar passes and you didn’t reach a weight you set for yourself (that’s just a number). The key is to be able to look in the rear view mirror and see that you continue to push yourself each day to exercise and eat healthy. There will be blips. Your chart of progress will probably look like the stock market (ups and downs), but over a length of time as long as the trend is up, that’s all that really matters.
I always have Hummus in the house. I use it as a dip when snacking on carrots and other vegetables, or as a spread on sandwiches. I was almost out of Hummus, and I remembered I had purchased some garbanzo beans a while back. So I asked my wife if she knew how to make Hummus – a stupid question to ask the manager of a high school kitchen 🙂 . She made it, and I like it better than any store bought one I’ve ever had. Looks like from now on only homemade Hummus in my household.
Here is her recipe:
2 cans garbanzo beans (chick peas)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon peanut butter, I use PB2 powder (dry)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder.
You need a really good mixer or food processor to blend the ingredients. We have the HealthMaster Elite blender which makes the Hummus nice and smooth (we also have a Ninja blender, but the HealthMaster does a far better job of blending smooth). Refrigerate right away. Lasts in refrigerator for up to 1 1/2 weeks. Delicious on sandwiches or as dip. And just like the Sabra or Joseph’s brands found in a supermarket, you can add things like roasted red pepper, garlic, etc. to change the flavor profile.
Call me the “wing it” cook. I don’t follow recipe books, nor do I watch cooking shows to learn. One day I probably will (and should) do the aforementioned in order to get a true understanding of seasonings and various cooking methods in order to take my healthy food preparation to a whole new level.
The other night for dinner I didn’t feel like cooking one of my standard 3-course meals (fish/meat/chicken; sweet potato/rice; vegetables). So I opened up the freezer and refrigerator and winged it by just grabbing some “stuff”.
Honey Grain Bagel – untoasted
Turkey (I cook whole turkeys and freeze the meat)
Sprinkling of the Hormel real bacon bits
Fresh basil from the garden (I take no credit – my wife does 100% of the vegetable and herb garden)
For the spreads – Tzatziki (mayo replacement), garlic hummus, spicy mustard
Side of steamed asparagus topped with parmesan cheese
Simple to whip up, and it was tasty & filling.
You end up with some unique tastes when you just whip things together without over thinking the preparation process.