The holidays are past us now, and there are quite a few of us that have determined it’s in our best interest to push away the extra servings and desserts, along with all the holiday treats we have been indulging in, and get back to our pre-holiday fitness regimes. For some of us, fitness and healthy eating wasn’t at the forefront of our intentions at any time throughout the prior year, so we have set resolutions to get fit and healthy in 2013.
Regardless of motives or past history, having intentions to get fit and healthy are always worthwhile and we owe it to ourselves to give ourselves the best chance possible to succeed.
One area that some of us fall short on, especially in the colder winter months, is a regular exercise regime. We often start out pushing ourselves to go the gym every morning, or walk to work every day, or attend yoga or Pilates every day of the week, or to go running or biking every day during lunch. These are great intentions but for many of us, the reality of running a household and holding down a job, or attending classes or raising a family will interfere with our plans. Then, too often, we find ourselves sitting on the sofa after a difficult and long day berating ourselves for missing a workout.
To compensate for missed workouts, it is very helpful to just increase activity as much as possible throughout the day. Simple measures like parking at the end of a parking lot rather than searching for that closest spot and taking the stairs rather than the elevator when possible help us use our muscles, enforce our bone structure, burn calories and increase overall fitness.
When doing chores around the house, do them with enthusiasm and be mindful of your muscles and their movements. Engage your muscles in creative ways like tightening your thighs mindfully when squatting and standing, and being aware of the core muscles too. Just keeping your stomach muscles firm and your back straight actually increases fitness and muscle strength over time. When sweeping or vacuuming, take the time to get down under the couch and chairs. That extra movement will do you good and the furniture too!
And guess what, you can even work your muscles during your down time. Next time you are relaxing on the sofa, try a few of these easy moves to give your muscles a little extra toning. LTo work the thighs and core, sit on the couch with straight posture and extend your legs straight in front of you. Place hands along your thighs palm down in a relaxed pose. Now, lift your straightened legs up and hold. If you can, pull your legs in towards your chest, hold, and then straighten back out again. If you are not able to do this move, try it with just one leg at a time until your strength increases. Do a couple sets of 8-12 reps of this move every time you sit down on that sofa to relax for the evening. You can also work arms and shoulders easily from a sitting position with small, hand-held weights. Do a regular series of overhead presses, curls, and seated flies from the comfort of your couch or recliner, every time you settle in for that regular show you can’t miss on television, and watch your arms and shoulders respond with greater strength and flexibility.
Fitness takes effort, but if we are mindful throughout the day we can fit in many such mini-workouts that augment our regular fitness regimes. Here’s to great health in 2013!