If you find it hard to squeeze in a workout or make it to the gym after a long day at the office, you might want to take advantage of your morning commute and maximize your activity level.
When it comes down to it, every bit of effort counts when you’re looking to burn calories and stay in shape. And you can actually make a difference by working in a few bouts of energy in unexpected moments during the day.
Whether you’re in a car, walking, biking, or on the train, there are ways to make your morning trek worth your while. Here’s how to turn your commute into a mini-workout that can rev you up for the hours ahead.
Set that alarm a little earlier so you don’t need to sprint to the office. Then, spare a few moments to work on reverse pedaling, which is more challenging and provides greater calorie burn, says chiropractor Dr. Rubina Tahir, DC. “This keeps yours legs engaged and muscles firing,” she explains.
Also, try putting little to no weight on the handlebars. “This will challenge your core muscles, burning more calories and will keep your arms cut,” she says. As for your calorie burn, “it depends on the speed you are going, but the average person can burn an extra 15-30 calories during a 30-minute interval.”
Sarah Joy Jespersen, founder of Trumi, recommends leaning forward and keeping your elbows in. “You will activate your triceps and keep your arms in a constant state of flexion,” she says. “If you don’t care to look like a professional and want to up the ante a bit, you can slowly lift and lower your upper body in this position and it will simulate a dip, too.”
You can do some interval work, too. “Get your butt up out of the seat: Do 1-minute intervals of pedaling in this position as many times as you can during your commute,” she says. “Butt off the seat for 1 minute will burn 11.3 extra calories, and if you do three 1-minute intervals on your commute, it’s an extra 33.9 calories,” Tahir says.
You can also focus on standing and getting that resistance up. “For your lower body, keep your bike at as high a resistance as you can and potentially stand if it’s possible,” Jespersen says. “Think about both parts of your pedal stroke, the push and pull. If you really work to activate in the push and pull, your quads, glutes, and hamstrings will fire at twice the rate of an easy seated pedal.”
Increasing resistance and standing will torch calories, too. “A 150-pound male will burn 7 calories per minute at low intensity, but pumping up the resistance will burn 12 calories per minute. Almost a full double down on calorie burn,” she adds.
Either ditch the elevator, or get to the office a bit early to put your belongings down and head to the staircase.
“Step up and squat, and repeat with the entire staircase,” says Tahir. Here, you’re coming to a full step up on each stair, with both legs planted, and then actively engaging those glute muscles for a good squeeze before stepping up to the next step.
“Repeat three times, or time the activity for 10 minutes,” she recommends. If you spend the extra 10 minutes as suggested on the staircase, you can torch between 130-260 calories.
What’s more, you can also wear ankle weights on your way to work or when performing this stair case exercise. “Adding weight will burn more calories per mile: 5-8 more per mile per every 10 pounds added,” she explains.
You can also do lunges on the staircase to really activate those leg muscles. “Slow down your pace and take every other stair or every third, sinking down into a lunge position before stepping to the next. The slower the movement, the more muscles you’ll activate,” says Jespersen.
“Try to carry your bag on your back if possible,” she adds. “If not, switch shoulders at each floor or halfway up. If you can get your whole heel on the stair, push through the heel to activate your glutes and try not to push off with your bottom leg calf.”
If you do this regularly, it’ll pay off. “Lifting and lowering your body in slow controlled motion is reported to bring about greater muscle gain and more calorie burn, because you take momentum out of the equation,” Jespersen says. “A 150 pound male burns around 10 calories per flight of stairs.”
Getty ImagesManuel Breva Colmeiro
Seems odd to imagine that you can actually get a workout when seated in a car, right? Well, there are a few moves you can do on your bum that can burn some calories and improve muscle tone.
“Wear arm weights and keep both hands on the wheel: This is the safest exercise in the car that won’t distract you,” Tahir says. “The idea is that there is increased resistance and a heavier load for the arms the entire duration of your commute. This type of endurance condition will increase the number of calories you burn, and will continue to burn through out the day.”
How many calories, exactly? “It depends on the commute, but [it could be] 10-30 extra calories—and keep in mind you are conditioning and increasing muscle composition,” she says.
You can also do pelvic tilts while driving. Tahir suggests doing 3 sets of 15 reps, with a 2-minute break in between.
Make that subway ride a little more bearable by keeping yourself busy with a workout. First off, don’t sit. Give that seat up to someone else.
“Do calf raises, time each set for one minute, relax for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times,” says Tahir. “If the subway/train is not that packed, I do chair squats. Squat, let your butt touch the chair and come up right away. I do 12 reps and 3 sets,” she says.
You can also stand on one leg and squat about 3 inches down, trying to hold for one-minute intervals. “This one is great if the train is packed and you want to do something very subtle,” she says. “You engage all your leg and butt muscles and will begin to feel it towards the end of one minute. Time it for one minute, relax for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times. There’s a potential for 30 calories burned per leg.
Getty ImagesKlaus Vedfelt
Not too long a commute? You can still get in some exercises during your short walk to the office. “Add 1 minute of lunging; they don’t need to be deep lunges, even half the depth or ¼ of the depth of a full lunge is good,” Tahir says. “This is the way to activate more muscles to burn more calories.” Plus, it’s easy to do lunges in work attire. You could burn up to 75 calories here.
You can also do side steps for 1 minute, and then walk backward for 30 seconds. If you are waiting at a crosswalk, use your bag or briefcase to do bicep curls. “Depending on the weight, you can do one arm at a time, or use both together [for] 12 reps, 3 sets,” she says. “Use the same bag or brief case to do a shoulder press up over your head.”
Plus, if there are stairs on the street, use them. “If I see stairs, I will go up and down them and try to find three staircases on my way to work,” she says.
For the side steps, you’ll burn about 35 calories a minute, and for the walking backwards part, it could be 3-5 calories for 30 seconds. For bicep exercises with shoulder press, it could be up to 10 calories for the 3sets—same calorie burn goes for the three flights of stairs.
Source: Read Full Article