If, like most of us, you’re having trouble finding time for strengthening exercises in your busy daily schedule, consider trying out a quick lunch hour workout. Not only will it help to keep you slim and trim, squeezing in a little exercise can help to beat those late afternoon slumps and keep you alert, focused, and productive for the rest of your day. Whether you have a gym close by or not, fitting in a little fitness is easier than you think. The key is short bursts of high intensity workouts.
At the Gym
Warm up your muscles by power walking to your gym instead of meandering. If your gym is too far for you to walk, park far away from the entrance and power walk to the door. Do ten to sixteen minutes on a cardio machine at variable speeds, one minute at a high speed, then one minute at a lower one. Next, spend five minutes on the cable machine, performing eight to ten reps for each of the five exercises. The amount of weight should be high enough that the last couple of reps are difficult to do. Finally, do two sets of crunches, ten or twelve reps each, on an exercise ball.
At the Office
If waiting for machines are a problem at your gym, that could slow down your workout, but there are exercises you can do that won’t require a wait. These can also be done at the office if you have some dumbbells and an exercise ball. Lie face down on a bench (or the floor in an office) so that your pelvis sits on one end and legs are in a “V” shape. Holding onto other end of bench for stability, lift legs so they’re even with your body, then move them together, back apart, and lower again. Repeat fifteen times. Roll over onto your back so that the top of your head is even with the edge of bench. With dumbbells in each hand, extend arms and legs towards ceiling. Bend elbows to a ninety-degree angle at sides and lower legs to a forty-five degree angle from floor, then return to starting position. Repeat fifteen times.
Now, place your back against a wall, dumbbells in hand, arms at sides, feet about two feet from the wall. Bend knees and squat until thighs and calves are at a ninety-degree angle. Lift arms in front of you, palms facing each other, then lower them back down. Repeat fifteen times. Stand up, back still against the wall, and move feet back to normal standing position. Still holding dumbbells and keeping elbows against the wall, place arms in front of you, out to the sides as much as possible, and lower weights to your thighs. Raise to starting position and repeat fifteen times.
Next, stand away from the wall and place your hands on your hips. Place the sole of one foot on the opposite leg’s inner thigh, hold for a second, then move the raised foot out to a side lunge, keeping opposite leg straight. Immediately return to starting position. Repeat ten times for each leg. Then sit on the floor with your back against an exercise ball. Bend your knees and cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Putting your arms out to sides for stability, roll back onto the ball until your back is a straight line between knee and shoulders, then return to sitting. Repeat ten times for each leg.