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7 Exercise Opportunities You've Been Missing
by Anita Boser

Some days are so jam-packed that there doesn’t seem enough time to breathe, much less exercise. You may think that a day full of driving, meetings, errands, and work will get in the way of a workout. Actually, you can get 20 minutes of exercise even with an event-filled calendar—more if traffic is bad or if the meeting or soccer game has breaks in the action.

You can build your core strength with small, subtle movements throughout the day. As a matter of fact, many core muscles are less than an inch long, and they get neglected in the world where all movement is fast and large. Read on for seven exercise opportunities you’ve been missing.

Start with the Alarm

Start as soon as you wake up, between snooze alarms. Roll and stretch like a cat to motivate up your muscles and lubricate your joints. Keep everything slow and easy. Tune in to each part of your skeleton as you gently arch and twist. That’s five minutes of exercise already and a pleasant way to start the day!

Red Light Means Go for It

Don’t waste time at a stop light; instead exercise your abdomen and back muscles. Roll your pelvis forward and back a few times to loosen and strengthen your low back. Then sit as tall as you can, stabilize your hips by engaging your abs, and sway side to side. Search out the sticky spots in your spine and loosen them with movement. Depending on traffic and your commute, you can get ten minutes or more of exercise this way.

The Unchained Desk

If you sit at a desk for hours, your body needs activity to counteract stillness and repetitive motion. Stand up as often as possible, for example when you’re waiting on hold or when pondering the solution to a problem. (Standing literally gives you a different perspective and can bring new ideas to mind.) In addition, try one of the following exercises each time you change activities.

§ Hold on to the back of your chair and look over your shoulder toward your derriere. Look both ways five times and try to get the motion to encompass your entire spine.

§ Squat down. (Take off high-heeled shoes first.) Can you get your buttocks to your heels? How far down can you go with your heels on the ground? To stand back up, press your heels down into the floor and use your buttocks to take pressure of your knees.

§ Stand and walk around on your toes.

When you can’t stand up, reach your arms out to the side, wiggle your fingers and roll your shoulders.

Try to incorporate one minute of activity for every hour seated to relieve the repetitive strain of desk work.

Toss Your Weight Around In Line

We spend lot of time waiting every day. For children, at the store, for coffee, at the copy machine, for the bus, or at the gas pump. Use this valuable opportunity to stay moving, and no one will even notice that you’re exercising. Simply shift your weight from one leg to the other. Press down into one foot and feel the force travel up through your leg to your pelvis and low back. Then transfer your weight to the other foot. Alternate.

Standby Suggestions

Of course, you can build fitness into your day by taking the stairs rather than the elevator, walking up the escalator, and choosing a parking spot farther away or getting off the bus a stop early. Keep your energy moving at every opportunity.

In a Meeting – or on the Bleachers

Tiny movements get big results, because they engage the intrinsic muscles of your spine. Better yet, the smaller and less noticeable the movement, the more you activate your core and other often neglected muscles. Here’s how to exercise in a meeting without triggering your boss’s unwelcome attention.

§ The first step is to sit with both feet firmly on the ground. Roll your pelvis forward and back; then hold it in a position where it’s level. This gives you good posture and an aura of alertness.