There are a great many of us out there who live thirty plus minutes away from work, so we're always looking for ways to exercise while commuting. Whether you take the bus, underground, car, or jet pack, there are some great ways to get in a bit of exercise while commuting. Simple changes can be the difference between you and those weight loss goals. Here are a few quick and effective ways to exercise while commuting.
1. Park Farther Away
I know, I know, this has been one of the staple ways to exercise while commuting, or shopping, or anything else for years. Well, it is true. Parking farther away from your destination has been time tested to get our hearts working that little bit extra and will help keep joints healthy - even with that impending eight hour sit fest. If you use a parking garage, try parking on the second floor or a higher level for some extra work. Over time, that climb up those stairs can have some gravity defying effects on our posteriors.
Biking is a great way to travel fast and get a workout. This is especially true if you live within fifteen minutes of work and parking is sparse. One of my closest friends and I did a test in college: she took her bike to school and I took my car. If we left our house at the same time, she almost always got to class before me since she did not have to worry about parking or walking very far. An extra perk was that she did not have to stress about getting to the gym that day since her commute was her workout!
3. Choose to Stand
If your commute includes a long train ride or a portion of time in a subway, standing is a great variation on the usual. People who sit for long periods of time have a higher chance of getting blood clots, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. By standing, we are helping more blood get to vital organs and reducing the risk of all those unwanted health concerns. If you would really like to kick up the health-o-meter, try getting a standing desk at work. Standing desks will help increase flexibility, tone muscles, burn more calories, and reduce water retention in joints.
4. Chair Exercises
There are, literally, tons of chair exercise and almost all of them can be done in a car, on a plane, a bus, train, subway, or anywhere else with a seat. To work your oblique abdominals, try lifting your right hip off the seat, hold, then lower down. Alternating from side to side for a few minutes a day can help sculpt those Victoria’s Secret abs we are all after. Another great chair workout is the reverse squat- instead of squatting down, sit at the edge of your chair and lift your feet off the ground. This little guy is a great lower abs exercise!
5. Calf Raises
The best thing about calf raises is the more you are carrying, the better they are . Try doing some calf raises while you are waiting in that coffee line or on the subway. A few calf raises will go a long way towards giving you the lower legs of a Brazilian model. This is also one of the only exercises that can be done in heels, there really are no excuses to not be doing these!
6. Take the Stairs
Most of us work in an office that is at least one floor off the ground. If this includes you, try opting for the stairs on the way up. Climbing stairs is great for the tush and can get a pretty good cardio workout going. If you work higher up than you would prefer trekking, try getting off a few floors early and working your way up to an increased climb.
7. Sit up Straight
When we sit straight up with our shoulders back, we are engaging our trapezius (back) muscles and our core. This is a great way to tone your torso while driving to work or sitting at your desk. You can start by sitting straight for fifteen to thirty minutes at a time and work your way up to an hour or a whole day. Having better posture will help with bone, ligament, and muscle structure as well!
8. Isometric Exercises
Isometric exercises are the contraction of muscles without moving the joints. They are great for toning, muscle control, and travel since the whole point is not to move. Start at your base by engaging all the muscles in your toes, then feet, calves, upper legs, and so on for 3-5 seconds at a time. Once you get to the tip top, work your way back down. Try doing this up/down pattern 3-5 times.
9. Walk to Work
If you are in the city or work close to where you live, walking a few days a week could be a great way to get some vitamin D and exercise in at the same time. For those who have a commute that is a bit too long for walking, try parking a block or two away from work and walking from there... It’s a little like parking farther away, but a bit more extreme!
10. Steering Wheel Push-Ups
Don’t think I forgot about all those who drive for their commute. Steering wheel push-ups are great for those minutes where you are stuck at a red light. Place your hands at 10 and 2 o’clock and engage all of your arm muscles. Pull yourself towards your steering wheel for three counts, then push-away. These are so handy for arms that you just might find yourself wishing the light was red for a little bit longer.
There are so many great exercises that can be done sitting in a car or standing on a bus. Anything that can get your muscles working in new ways and start your heart pumping is a way better option than just sitting around. What are some of your favorite ways to multitask your workout?