In these trying economic times, it is easy to forget about making yourself happy while pursuing financial security and a stronger financial base. I fell into that trap myself; my job became so important to me that I stopped spending time working out and exercising to focus entirely on my career.
The results of my own neglect were obvious in my waistline (which expanded), on the scale (which registered forty pounds heavier than high school), and in my everyday activities (which became harder than before).
Now, I have gotten back into a routine which has helped me shed the unwanted pounds while lowering my stress levels and making me feel better about myself overall. Despite the long hours at work, making an effort to do some sort of daily physical activity has paid dividends. Here are a few things I do, in short amounts of time, to keep myself in better shape.
1) Make multiple trips around the house even when you don’t need to. My morning starts out with a trip downstairs to throw any laundry I have into a basket. I then bring the laundry back upstairs, then go back downstairs to clean the cat litterbox.
Then I go back upstairs to start my breakfast. While my bread is being toasted, I go back downstairs to check the sump pump. Do you get the trend? Right away in the morning, I have already taken three trips up and down the stairs. This is a small but significant step in starting the day off with exercise and getting the heart beating and blood flowing.
2) When I come home for lunch, I grab my resistance band. This isn’t a good time for a hard workout, especially if you sit in a cubicle next to other people when you return to work. So, I grab a resistance band and do twenty reps with each arm, just enough to make my muscles burn a little.
The best part about this workout is that it can be done in less than five minutes, and it doesn’t even require you to change out of your work clothes. Be sure when you lift, your muscles are warmed up and you do not strain yourself. The best exercise is to secure one end of the band on a heavy object, such as a couch, and stand five to seven feet away. Holding your elbow close to your hip, slowly pull the band towards your shoulder. Go back down to hip height, and that is one rep.
3) After work, a quick ab workout relieves stress. After I have changed, I like to do a quick workout before I eat. Usually, this consists of forty ab crunches, and then other exercises that work my core. This is less than a five minute workout, but it serves two purposes. First and foremost, ab workouts can help to burn a lot of calories in a short period of time. For another added benefit, it helps remind you right before dinner just how difficult those calories are to take off once they have been put on.
With just those few small steps, the weight slowly but surely began melting off my body. Now, I am back down to a better weight, closer to what I was in high school and college. Following simple steps, requiring relatively little time, you can improve your health as well.
Jack Grunpe is an avid sports fan and former college baseball player. He enjoys staying in shape and working out.