Your wedding is just a few months away, and you’re still hoping to take your gown down just one more size. But between wedding planning, social obligations, and a full-time job, you just don’t have time to hit the gym. Before you start pleading with your local alterations shop to include some steel reinforcements in the waistline, however, try a little multi-tasking and work out while you… work. Here are a few handy exercises you can include in your new, unobtrusive routine.
Watching TV: Upper Arms
How many times have you thought, “Should I go to the gym today? But I just got home from work. Traffic is awful. By the time I get dressed and drive over there, it’ll just be time to come home again. And anyway, Say Yes to the Dress is on…” Excuses, excuses. Well, procrastinate no more. Now you can be a couch potato and use your couch as ultra-cozy exercise equipment.
Scoot forward until your body is off the couch and your hands are braced against the front edge of the couch frame or front cushions. Your feet should be flat on the floor in front of you, about shoulder-width apart, with your buttocks pointed towards the floor. With the backs of your hands facing the ceiling, and your fingers pointed towards the television, slowly lower yourself down and back up again. Keep your stomach muscles firm for support. You should feel this exercise in the backs of your upper arms, keeping the dreaded “bat wings” at bay. Only lower yourself as far as your couch (and flexibility level) will allow; the important part is to sustain a very slow, controlled motion. Repeat until you’re tired, rest briefly, and do it again!
Brushing Your Teeth: Legs and Glutes
If you brush and floss regularly, that’s at least five minutes out of every day spent standing in front of the bathroom sink. Why not put that time to good use and tone your lower body? With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees slightly and clench your buttocks as tightly as you can for 10 seconds. Relax, and immediately repeat. Do as many sets as you can before it’s time to rinse.
If you have good balance, you can also try leg lifts. With one hand steadying yourself against the counter or towel rack, lift one leg straight out to the side until your foot is at hip-height. Slowly bring your leg around until it’s pointing straight behind you, and lower it to the floor, clenching your buttocks the whole time. Try lifting one leg as you brush your upper teeth and the other leg as you brush the lower ones. The best part? Timing your tooth hygiene to your exercises might result in a longer, more thorough brushing, and an even brighter smile on the big day—in addition to tighter glutes.
Sitting at Your Desk: Stomach and Thighs
If your workspace allows it, trade in your office chair for a yoga ball. Besides forcing you to be more mindful of your posture, these large, inflatable balls are great tools for a number of seated exercises.
With your feet apart and your toes touching the floor in front of you, squeeze your heels inward to apply pressure to the front of the yoga ball. Squeeze hard for 10 seconds and release. You should feel this exercise in the backs of your thighs (right where cellulite tends to accumulate). The great part about this exercise is that it happens under your desk and no one will be able to tell that you’re even doing it. As you type or make calls, you’ll be working double-time as your own personal trainer.
For extra-firm abs, roll your ball forward towards your desk as you lean back, reclining against an invisible backrest. Work from this position as long as you can before you have to sit up again, take a deep breath, and repeat. Remember to keep your abs tight, to avoid putting strain on your back. You’ll feel the results from this one almost immediately, and they’ll be worth any confused looks from your co-workers.
In the busy days leading up to a wedding, multi-tasking is your friend. The great thing about exercise is that it really is cumulative in nature. If you find many small ways to fit work-outs into your day, you’ll feel a pleasant soreness in your tired muscles at the end of each day without ever having to hit the gym. Tired muscles mean a toned silhouette later on! Combine these exercises with other healthy options like taking stairs instead of elevators, eating well, and walking instead of driving. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find the pounds sneaking away before you know it.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.