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Get Fit On The Go

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We exist in a race, a marathon of things to do each and every day of our lives. Too bad not all these races involve physical prowess or maintaining fitness. At some point, we get so absorbed by deadlines and have-to’s that we neglect our own body.

In case you haven’t noticed, you’ve just turned 30 but you look 40 and retire-able! This busy lifestyle is often the culprit for double chins, expanding waistlines, and a variety of diseases like hypertension and diabetes. I’m not saying you should be knitting and fishing all day though. You can still be on the go while getting fit and doing your responsibilities.

Humans, especially women (sorry guys, but that’s what most researchers say) have the innate ability to multi-task. It means you can do a multitude of things all at the same time. For example, you can do the laundry while listening to the morning news and text-messaging. Or you can cook while talking on the phone and washing the dishes. Imagine if we could incorporate workouts and exercises into everyday routines! Wouldn’t that be great? It would be like multi-tasking, except that this time you will be getting positive results, a trimmer body and a healthier heart. Here are some e tips to get fit on the go!

  1. Need to shop for groceries? Here’s the deal. You may already know where the milk is or where the soap is located. Well, for a better workout at the supermarket, try to walk through all the aisles. That’s right, walk through each and every aisle and pick out the items that you need. Who knows? You might discover a new brand of cereal or a better bargain when you take the time to explore each aisle. Make sure those shoes are made for shopping, and lots and lots of walking!

  2. Done with the groceries? Next, drop the notion of using a cart to wheel your purchase through the parking lot. Instead, do some weightlifting by carrying the load yourself. As long as you don’t have close to ten bags of groceries, then you’re safe. But kidding aside, this advice will only work if you have possibly two to three bags that you can manage alone. If it is necessary to get a cart, then hold on to those two bags and give your other bags a ride.

  3. Household chores are great opportunities to get fit. Here are some of them:

    • Mow the lawn. Do this early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Spice it up by listening to some lively music. If you’re a sports maniac, then listen to a game on the radio so you’ll have something to get you through the entire ordeal. If it’s an unusually hot afternoon, have a glass of water or lemonade to cool down with. Hydration equals fitness. Fitness equals quality-life. All that and a well-manicured lawn!

    • Dusting and cleaning. The vacuum cleaner can be just as handy in thinning out fat. The to and fro motion you do while operating it almost seems like a little dance. Want some more inspiration? Turn the radio on and scan it for your favorite tunes!

    • Wash the dishes. Putting the dishes back in their shelves involves stretching. Maximize this activity and in no time at all, you will be more flexible. Remember, flexible muscles make it easier to do more intense exercise routines. It also saves you from having strains and sprains. So stretch it again!

    • Help your spouse do the laundry. Even if you’re a guy and your wife’s the home-maker, you will get a lot of benefit from a few extra movements now and then. Plus, it allows you to spend some quality time with your wife as well. Isn’t that sweet of you?

    • Gardening! Yup, that’s right. Water the petunias, weed the lawn, go ahead and do some squats while planting some more flowers in your front or backyard. When you water the plants, DO use a watering can, not a hose! It will give you a lot more to do because then you will be going back and forth refilling it again and again. And guess what? It saves your water supply too, it saves the earth and it saves you!

    • Baby-sit the kids. Now I know this may seem to be like no other household chore. But then again it involves a lot of work too, especially if you have toddlers or pre-schoolers. Kids during these ages have the tendency to explore the environment a lot. Believe me, you will be sweating like a swine while scouring the house for them and making sure they don’t get into any trouble. It is a good way to stretch your patience too! OOPs! What if you don’t have children of your own? Easy! You may have neighbors who have kids right? Why not do a good deed by offering to look after them when your neighbors have to run an errand? Or how about spending some time with your grandchildren? Running after them will make one heck of a workout. That’s for sure. If you have nieces and nephews, how about volunteering to host their birthday party or spending time with them in the park? It’s just a matter of widening your imagination for possibilities. Besides, family time is quality time. No minutes wasted! With the benefits of a healthy heart too!

    • Ironing clothes. That’s right, get rid of those wrinkled linens. Get your butt off the couch and tell your wife to have a break. A good idea? Why not bring the ironing board to the living room where you can iron while watching your favorite baseball game? Just as long as you don’t get anything burnt, OK? It will be a terrific workout for those flabby arms! So what are you waiting for?

    • Clean up the car. No, don’t ask the kids to do it. Don’t even think about a drive-through car wash. Get yourself a pail and some soap. Remember, say no to the hose! Then, begin another workout strategy by washing your car! In no time it will be shiny and polished and you have yourself to thank for it! And yes, those jeans aren’t as snug as they used to be, right? Way to go!

    • Wash the windows. Want to have a better view of the world while the world has a better view of a slimmer you? Get some wet towels and some soap and start polishing up those glass windows!

    • Scrub the bathroom floor. Ooh, this will be like a major workout. Believe me, you will be enjoying intense arm exercises while getting those bathroom tiles whiter and cleaner. The best part? You can have a long, luxurious shower right afterwards!

    • Rearrange your furniture. Are you bored of the way your whole living room looks? Why not transfer the piano to the other side or place the TV set at the center? This will be good for those sedentary days when you are bored and at home with a bag of chocolate chip cookies. Before you grab another bite, test your muscles and start pushing and pulling at furniture.

    • Give your automobile a rest. When you have to go somewhere, try using your bike instead, especially if it’s only a few blocks away. It will help you save on the gas while preserving your car for several more years. So save your car the wear and tear while saving your pocket and possibly your health.

    • When was the last time you played tag or hide and seek with the kids? Or even backyard football? When was the last time you spent the afternoon playing basketball with your sons or swimming with your spouse? Family time means spending a few hours to catch up with what is going on in their lives. Spend it wisely. Do something fun together.

    • Do you have some carpentry to do? Why don’t you try fixing the closet by yourself then? Instead of asking somebody else to do it, get some hands-on experience in repairing things in your home. As long as its not that complicated, why pay good money for jobs you can do on your own?

    • When you are on vacation with your family, be sure you do something active and enjoyable. Instead of a week in Las Vegas why not opt for a cottage near the beach instead? The ocean provides lots of activities that will get you off that sand castle. Try swimming, surfing, snorkeling and other water sports you can avail of. Here are other vacation ideas that will guarantee good bonding time with the family without killing your workout routine:

      • hiking (get a glimpse of nature’s beauty while enjoying lots of fresh air)

      • boating (nothing beats a good exercise for those biceps)

      • beach volleyball or Frisbee (if you feel you’ve had enough of the ocean, that is)

      • Stuck in China? Learn the basics of Tai Chi…

      • Going on a trip to Spain? Why not sample some ballroom dancing?

      • Heading for the Alps? Then get those skis ready and hit the slopes!

      • Touring Texas? Try horseback riding!

      • Scouring Asia? Seek some yoga classes or martial arts moves. You can incorporate these in your workouts.

      • Different cultures have different ideas to keep fit. When you visit a certain place, don’t just sample the local cuisine. Find some time to explore their practices with regards to fitness as well. If you’re bored with the treadmill at your gym, then by all means use your travels to appreciate other forms of physical activity that will get you a step higher in the fitness scale.

  4. Have you noticed how you spend several minutes to a few hours each day being stuck in a line of some sort to transact business or get something? Lining up can be the most tiresome, boring, time-consuming experience humanity has ever conjured. But then, it gives some order to a certain situation and is certainly better than fighting your way through a crowd, right? I’ve thought about the most common lines we find ourselves in everyday…

    • at the cafeteria to get lunch or dinner

    • at telephone booths to make a call

    • at the bank

    • being inside a long line of cars during traffic

    • waiting to get served in a restaurant

    • waiting for your turn in the doctor’s clinic or the dentist's

    • at the bus stop

    • at the post office

    • at the mall, to pay the cashier for your purchase

And the list goes on and on. Now what if you could use those valuable twenty minutes doing something useful? Here are some stretching exercises to ward off the stress… Oh, and a good, upbeat song can help you with this too…

  • The Shoulder Lift”- Lift your shoulders to the point where they level with your ears. Hold it. Then release the tension and drop your shoulders. All the while be sure you are inhaling and exhaling deeply. Take a deep breath while lifting your shoulders and exhale once you let them drop. No sweat right? Now, repeat the steps three more times. If you like, you can perform this exercise using alternate left shoulder, right shoulder and then both shoulders.

  • “The Neck Twister” – Now its time to get rid of the tension from your neck. Do this by pretending that somebody is asking you some questions. You can only nod to say “yes” or shake your head to say “no”. If you feel like amusing yourself, ask a couple of silly questions like “Is your math professor an idiot?” or “Do you think the granny in front of you is a bank robber”? You might find yourself smiling while you nod and shake that tension off your neck.

  • “Finger-pointing” – No, I’m not suggesting you go ahead and blame somebody for the long line or the delayed service at McDonald’s. This exercise will make your hands and fingers feel refreshed after a day of typing at the office.

    • First you need to stretch your right hand while pointing your fingers down towards the ground. Use the left hand to further stretch your fingers, one by one. After that, do the same steps with your left hand, with the right hand assisting you.

    • Next, stretch out your right hand in front of you, bend your wrist while pointing your fingers towards the sky. Then, use the other hand to stretch your fingers towards you. Do the same procedure with your other hand.

  • “Hug Yourself” – Put your left hand over your right shoulder and your right hand over your left shoulder. Breathe well. Inhale deeply, and exhale as you release the hug. It’s like comforting yourself while waiting for the long line to end! Mental note? I love myself! Oh and by the way, you might want to take time doing this. Hug all those flabby parts, because you are going to miss them once you start getting leaner! Aren’t you excited?

  • “Arm Stretch”- Put your right arm in front of you, as if pretending to punch that person in the line before you. Using your left hand, grab your outstretched arm, as if trying to stop yourself. Then pull your right hand across your chest. This will benefit your shoulders and back muscles. Hold this pose. Stop and slowly release the tension. Then, do it all over again with your left arm.

  • “Stand Tall” – Stretch out your arms as if you were reaching for the sky. Then, put your hands together and link the fingers of your hands. Turn your hands over so that your palms are facing skyward as well. Then lift your face towards the ceiling, tilt your head and arch your back! Feel all the tension fall off. Breathe slowly and gradually return to your previous position.

You will be so busy giving your body a much needed boost that before you know it, it’s your turn at the front of the line! Those powerful twenty minutes of stretching will get you through another errand, another deadline or another meeting without all the stress! So the next time you see that everlasting line in front of you, hold the urge to cuss and instead get ready for a body-building, mentally relaxing “waiting workout”.

5. Walk More. If you’re not a big fan of running marathons to add more years to your life then walking would be a better idea to get more blood pumping through your veins. I don’t mean those leisurely walks you take along the beach during a summer date. For walking to be an effective tool in getting a lean body you have to do it in a certain pace. It’s called brisk walking, a cross between a jog and a typical walk. This way you’re giving your legs a proper workout just by taking time out from the bus or the car. Here are some great tips you can use daily.

  • It’s your turn to walk the dog! Spend time with man’s best friend while you walk through the park or even hike towards the grocery store. If you don’t own a dog, then offer to walk your neighbor’s dog. Whatever you do, only make sure you’re not allergic to animal dander. Or else you’ll be sneezing and wheezing all the way to the Emergency Room.

  • If you walk home from school try going on a different route. Albeit a much longer one, it will give you additional minutes to sweat it out on the road. Besides, you might see interesting things along the way. You might discover a unique store, pass by historical landmarks or enjoy a scenic view. Things you would never have witnessed if you had taken the short and easy route home. Be certain though that you live in a safe neighborhood and that you aren’t going home late in the evening. In that case arriving at your house in one piece is much better than being five pounds thinner. Put your safety first before anything else.

  • If you take the bus every day, then I have just the tip. Get off a block or two away from your house or your office. Of course you need not try this if you’re already late. Wake up early, catch a bus and brisk-walk the remaining meters to your house, office or school. This way you have the privilege of enjoying a good walk before starting or ending your work day!

  • If you go to school with other kids on your block, you can enjoy the walk better if you have company. So go ahead and ask them to walk with you!

  • Have a walking partner. Be it your spouse or your best buddy. You can schedule your walks together and arrange it so that it doesn’t conflict with each of your own schedules. This way you won’t be tempted to skip your walking appointments because then you would be letting your partner down. It will improve the level of commitment you have for your fitness routine.

  • Invest in good walking shoes. The most prescribed are those with rubber soles. Comfort is the main concern you should take into consideration when you choose shoes.

  • Carry a bottle of water along with you at all times. When you are walking or jogging in warm weather, you might get dehydrated quickly. It’s important that you replenish all those lost fluids fast. Also, there are other fluids that contain electrolytes as well. Look into energy drinks because sometimes plain water will not be enough to replace electrolyte losses when you sweat it out under the sun. But do read the ingredients first - some of them are more filled with hype than with healthy ingredients.

  • Another tip for your safety would be to be careful to avoid a sunburn. This does not mean you have to use lotions that often contain harmful chemicals, and that block out vitamin D. Instead, cover yourself appropriately, and use sun blockers only as needed.

  • Before walking the dog, make sure your clothing is appropriate. No tight spandex shorts and high heels. Cotton sweats work best because they still allow your skin to breathe. Bring along a towel if you feel you will need one.

  • Buy a pedometer. It is a device that measures how many steps you have taken during your entire walk. When you see the number right in front of you, you get to appreciate the hard work you’ve put into your workout. It will motivate you to aim for more steps the next time around. You will witness your improvement every time you check your pedometer! Hurray!

  • Since your feet have been doing all the work to get you looking slim and sexy, there would be nothing nicer than splurging on a little surprise for your two exercise buddies. As a reward to yourself, treat your feet to a very well-deserved manicure or even a foot spa! It would be nice to see your feet get pampered after a long walk. You can almost feel your feet giggling with joy!

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