For better or for worse, the work-from-home trend isn’t going away any time soon, and more and more workers are logging on remotely. While it can be more convenient and comfortable, there are some pretty clear drawbacks to working from the couch. The grim downsides of a sedentary lifestyle, which can double the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, are well known and on the rise.
Physical activity is the greatest antidote, but getting active doesn’t always mean running marathons. Knock exercise off your to-do list with these five simple ideas for after-work activities, all with little or no equipment required.
The key to any exercise plan is consistency. Find a buddy who’s willing to join you for exercise, support, and accountability. Cue up the perfect playlist or audiobook and you’ll be ready to roll in no time.
Most importantly, remember to take it easy on yourself. It’s OK to start small, the key is simply to do it. You can up the ante as time goes on, but take care not to injure yourself. Further, don’t give up or get down on yourself because you missed a day or didn’t accomplish a goal. Get back in the groove the next day, continue to set reasonable goals, and reward yourself when you hit a milestone.
Once you’re in the right headspace, it’s time to get to work. Here are five straightforward after-work exercises anyone can do. As always, consult your physician before starting any exercise program, especially if you have a history of injuries or any condition that might make physical activity risky.
- Go (outside) for a walk: There are benefits to both walking and being outside, so you kill two birds with stone here. A half-hour of brisk walking can burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 calories, while sunlight promotes vitamin D production, a major player in the body, protecting against heart attacks, osteoporosis, and even cancer.
- Stretching: it’s not just for warming up: Stretching is more than a pre or post-workout activity. Light stretching can improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of injury. It is especially important for those who spend some or all of their day sitting, which can leave certain muscle groups unnaturally tight. The hamstrings are particularly susceptible to this kind of extreme tightness. Stretch them out by sitting on the floor with your legs in front of you, reach down your legs as far as you can, and hold this position for thirty seconds before slowly releasing. Feel free to build a full routine based on your own unique needs, and check with a physical therapist or health care provider if you need extra help.
- Punch back against stress: Sometimes after a long workday, we just need to vent our frustrations. What better way than shadow boxing? Boxing and kickboxing are well known for providing an intense cardio benefit, but you don’t need a competition-size ring to reap the benefits. Try a one-two punch—stand with feet at hip-width, then punch forward and slightly across your body with your right hand. Retract your arm and do it again with the left hand. Repeat twenty times on each side. If this feels too easy, hold a small weight or soup can for an additional challenge.
- Leg lift: When it comes to weight training, the upper body and core often get the lion’s share of the attention. Your whole body needs attention though, so don’t neglect the lower body, especially if you’ve been living a sedentary lifestyle. In particular, exercising the hips increases strength and flexibility in an area that’s vulnerable to pain and injury. There are many hip exercises, but the leg left is one of the simplest and most effective. Find a comfortable place to lie on your side, straighten your legs, and lift the top leg straight up in the air. Aim for three sets of ten repetitions on each side.
- Ball out: The core is one of the first muscle groups that suffer from a sedentary lifestyle, and a weakening core often leads to an aching lower back. Basic equipment like hand weights is a great investment that will challenge your core beyond the basic bodyweight sit up. To strengthen your core, pick up a stability ball, also known as a yoga ball, and lie down with your back on the ball. Put your hands behind your head, lift your right leg, bend the knee, and twist your body to touch your left elbow to the right knee. Lower your leg and repeat on the other side; this completes one rep. Shoot for ten reps total, and increase as you become more comfortable.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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