How To Turn Your Commute Into A Workout:
Is there an opportunity to cram a little exercise into your commute time? Believe it or not there is and it allows you to help fulfill the government suggested quota of 150 minutes of exercise per week to improve or maintain your health.
Start off With A Walk
If you live within walking distance of your job, of course it’s a no-brainer to map out your walk route, perhaps adding some twist and turns for variety. There is a line between a walk to improve your heart and get some exercise in, and a full-blown power walk that ends in a puddle of sweat. For work purposes, focus on the former; understanding that you can increase calories burned by reducing the time it takes to make the walk, or adding twist and turns to extend the route. Note that an average one-mile walk should take between 14 and 16 minutes.
Try Riding A Bicycle
If you’re close enough to bicycle (no interstates or highways to contend with), a five-mile commute will take around thirty minutes on a bicycle, which will equal about an hour of aerobic exercise. If you travel to and from work, it’s thirty minutes over the suggested amount of exercise that is recommended per day.
Exercises You Can Do In The Car
If you rely on your car to get to work, don’t despair because below are some exercise opportunities to try!
1. Side Twist
This exercise can be done in your seat while driving or riding along as a passenger. This workout focuses on the core and will help you tone your abs during the commute. Sit upright and begin to tighten your abdominal area while keeping both feet on the ground and facing forward. Start by twisting the upper body slightly to the left and then slightly to the right. This motion should be done as slowly as possible while continuing to face forward. This workout can be done by keeping track of repetitions or by time intervals. The important part of this exercise is to make sure that the abdominal muscles are contracted throughout the workout. Side twist may not give a perfect six-pack, but it will help shape and tone the core.
2. Grip Squeeze
This workout is great because of the small amount of movement that it requires. The grip, which can be purchased at a local sporting goods store, is a workout device that’s used for strengthening the forearms and comes in different styles and tensions. Squeeze the handgrip with the right hand and then alternate to the left. Make sure to keep a track of how many repetitions are being done with each hand.
3. Steering Wheel Isometrics
While stopped at a light, using power from your core, grip the wheel at opposite ends and push your hands toward each other for 3 seconds as if you are crushing the wheel. Rest and then grip the wheel and pull your hands away from each other for 3 seconds. Repeat 10 times, or until you are no longer stopped. You can repeat the exercise at each stoplight or until your muscles are tired.
4. Knee Raises
These are great to do at a stop light or even at your desk. The benefit of this exercise is that it’s fairly easy to do as well as a great way to strengthen the quads while sitting down. Start with both feet on the floor at shoulder width apart. Raise each knee slowly alternating for the period the car is still.
5. Short Bicep Curl
Because of the limited space in a car, short bicep curls are a great way to get an upper body workout in. Using a lightweight, rubber dumbbell (3 or 5 pound to start), start with the weight in one hand and your arm slightly bent. Keep your elbow stationary and move the weight towards your body until your forearm is in a vertical position. Hold this vertical position for at least one second and then slowly bring the weight down. This exercise can be done for ten repetitions on each arm. The range of motion at which the curl can be done will vary with the size of the car. The bicep muscle can also be tightened with the weight held outward for an isometric exercise if space is limited.
6. Steering wheel push-ups.
Place your hands at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock on the steering wheel. Flex the entire length of your arms. Pull yourself toward the wheel for 3 seconds, and push yourself away from the wheel for 3 seconds. Rest after 1 repetition and then repeat 10 times, till the light changes or until you have muscle fatigue.
Creative Ways To Burn Calories On The Train, Subway, or Bus
And for those who travel by mass transit bus, train or subway, you have a few options. If you sit all day at work, stand for half or all of your bus or train commute. Studies have shown that we burn more calories in a sedentary position by standing compared with sitting. A core opportunity is to hold on to a handrail and flex your deep stomach muscles to gain stability through braking or turning.
While waiting for the bus or train, try calf raises, slowly lifting your heels off the ground and holding that position for 10 seconds. Do isometric exercises. Imagine you need to flex every single muscle in your body. Begin by wiggling your toes and then flex each muscle one at a time for 3 seconds, until you reach your arms, neck and top of your head.
Another exercise to consider is the “commuter crunch.” While seated, tuck in your pelvis and engage your lower abdominal muscles. Then, engage your upper abs and move your ribcage slightly toward your hips. Hold for 10 seconds and rest for 3 seconds, but breathe through the entire exercise. Repeat 8 to 12 times or until your muscles start to become tired. Car commuters can do this when they are stopped in traffic or at a long light, while train, bus or airplane commuters can do this whenever it is comfortable.
Take the stairs when possible. Never ride the elevator for one floor. If you suffer from knee pain, always take the stairs up but take the elevator down. Implement exercises while you wait for your ride or bus.
Whether you’re driving, riding, walking or biking, there is a workout waiting for you. Give it a try and feel a sense of accomplishment by the time you get to work!