6 Unexpected Exercise Opportunities

Featured Article, Fitness, Workout Plans
on April 2, 2012
Pace While on the Phone

You know you should exercise, but between work, kids and home, finding time seems impossible. Why not take advantage of snippets of time you do have? Standing in line a the supermarket, running errands and even commuting to work all offer hidden opportunities to get fit. In fact, three 10-minute bouts of exercise produce the same health benefits as 30 minutes of continuous exercise, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Try these on-the-go moves to tighten and tone when time is of the essence.

1. Supermarket butt-toner

Waiting in line at the grocery store or at the DMV offers ample opportunity for a stealth butt-firming maneuver. Stand with good posture and with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Now imagine you're trying to crack a walnut by tightening your glutes together. Hold for three and relax. Repeat 15 times … or until the line starts moving.

2. Red light tummy-flattener

Stuck in traffic? Take out your stress with this ab-tightening toner: With your hands on the steering wheel at 10:00 and 2:00 or (if you're at a dead standstill) on your thighs, exhale as you tighen your abs. Imagine that you are drawing in your belly button towards your spine. Hold for a count of three; repeat 10 times.

3. Office chest-booster

You don't have to be able to perform push-ups to benefit from this modified version. Stand in facing your desk approximately two or so feet away; lean in (legs straight) and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the desk, arms straight. Bend your elbows as you lower your upper body towards the desk. Pause when you nearly touch, and push back to starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 times.


4. Errand-running cardio jaunt

This works particularly well if you're running into the mall for an errand. The outside perimeter of a large mall parking lot is often close to a quarter mile. Briskly walking from your car and back racks up a half-mile mini workout. For shorter errands, pick up the pace: A brisk walk burns 300 calories an hour or more.

5. Take a stand while on the phone

Think of a ringing phone as your cue to stand and walk around. No need to buy a treadmill desk, just walk around the office on calls and double your calorie burn. Sitting burns 87 calories an hour vs. 134 calories standing, according to ACSM.

6. Take the stairs

You've heard this before, but how often do you do it? Walking up stairs throughout the day burns nearly three times the calories of standing on the elevator: 334 calories per hour for a 140-lb. woman. Even 10 minutes of stair climbing burns 56 calories—more if you're carrying a heavy bag or box of papers.