Plain and simple, the modern workday just doesn’t allow for optimal exercise time. Working 40+ hours weekly, dealing with traffic or public transportation and juggling family activities and personal responsibilities at home rarely leave more than an hour or two per week for exercise. And, even that would not be enough to substantiate great health and a major change for most.
So, we can’t just give up on health and exercise, but instead, we need to be even more dedicated to Plan B. What does Plan B look like? Plan B is a series of five simple, quick exercises that reach the high-priority checklist items (like heart health, cancer prevention, and metabolism) without breaking the bank, timewise. You won’t have to devote hours each week to get these second-tier results, and you don’t even need a gym membership. Just focus and remember that something is far better than nothing:
#1. Stretch During Phone Calls:
Absolutely everyone ends up on the phone at some point of the day – usually for several minutes at a time. What do we do during that time? We sit, we hunch over, we drink coffee laced with artificial chemicals…. We make bad decisions and figure out that the phone call is the focus. The next time you take a call, stretch whichever muscle feels tight. Low back felt tight on the drive into work? Loosen it up while you’re on the phone. Dress suits and work clothes won’t impede your progress much, and you won’t get sweaty doing it.
#2. Take Greater Strides:
Walking is often overrated, at best, because the intensity is generally too low to burn many calories or improve heart health. However, with bigger, faster strides, that can change pretty quickly – turning a simple walk into a small but beneficial workout. Run a little test the next time you can spare a minute: Walk casually for 30 seconds, and then very briskly for another 30 seconds. Use big, powerful strides for that last 30 seconds and evaluate the difference you feel. It’s tremendous, and this won’t cost you time – it’ll save you time!
#3. Commit To Stair Climbing Daily
It is a little too cliché to say “take the stairs instead of the elevator”, so I’ll stay away from that one. What I will encourage is to take the stairs multiple times in a row when you don’t have to. Here’s all you do: Whether at home or at work, you reach the top or bottom of the stairs and you’re heading into wherever you’re headed… Got a minute? Do them again. Maybe even again. This seriously won’t take more than a few extra minutes, and chances are you had a few minutes to spare anyway. Just think how much better off you’ll be with an extra five or ten minutes per day of stair-climber time.
#4. Jumping Jacks
Most attempts at fitness take place in the “Sagittal Plane”, meaning that the movements are forward and backward. Jogging, walking, stair-climbing, etc all move this way. Jumping jacks, however, are a great form of cardiovascular exercise that targets heart health. They increase overall fitness by using a wide variety of muscles, and of course, they are not another “sagittal plane” exercise. Here, fitness takes place in the frontal plane, involving lateral movements. This variety is important for your joints and mobility and will target unique muscles as well. Be sure to cool down after you finish this one, though, because no matter who you are, jumping jacks are a powerful workout! The recovery is important here, even if you only do these for a short time. Cool down gradually from faster to slower, then walk for a bit, and then put on a good pair of compression socks to help reduce swelling and enhance circulation.
#5. Perform A Plank
Finally, there is a reason why personal trainers love having their clients perform planks: They’re great at stabilizing your pelvis and low back, and they promote much healthier posture and balance. These are all huge deficits when evaluating the health of the average American. You also don’t need to count repetitions or look at a stop-watch. Just do them for as long as you can, let your body tremble a bit, and then come back to them later. They’re a quick, sweatless workout that can be done anywhere you have a floor.
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