Mind & Spirit

Errand energizers

Author: Canadian Living

Mind & Spirit

Errand energizers

Getting around town can be a perfect opportunity to accumulate exercise minutes if you look at errands as an opportunity to be active. Spark up your shopping, banking, and other necessary outings with extra spurts of physical activity that take just a few seconds to a few minutes each. All of these contribute towards making you an active person with energy to burn (literally!), a lively step, a healthy body, and a clear mind.

Curb your calves
Anytime you're walking and have to wait for a street light, do extra-slow calf raises: push up slowly onto your toes, and slowly release back down: 4 seconds up and 4 seconds down. Tighten your abs and buttocks to help you balance, so you don't have to grab a sign post.

Tight abs
Do isometric abdominal intervals anytime, anywhere you stand or sit. Contract your abs six times slowly (6-second rep), then six times quickly (2-second rep), then six times super-slowly (10-second rep), and repeat.

Subtle butt
Isometrically contract your gluteals—squeeze your rear end muscles—any time you're stuck waiting: in the post office line, at the dentist's office, wherever. You can do these sitting or standing, but if you're standing and wearing tight jeans and the person behind you winks or grins, you may be attracting more attention than you think. (Check this out in a full-length mirror at home before you take it on the road – it's not as subtle as it feels!)

Park and walk
Visiting a mall or shopping centre? Don't troll for the closest parking spot to the store where you're intending to shop. Instead, park in a space way at the far end of the parking lot or garage. Not only will you get more exercise getting to the store and back, but since most people like to park close, you'll have an easier time finding a spot and less chance of your car getting dinged by an impatient or careless driver.

Do not drive-thru
Give up drive-through windows. Park the car and walk into the bank, burning almost 5 times more calories than sitting in your car. Even better, park in some other bank's parking lot and walk to yours. You don't have to race walk – even a 2 MPH leisurely stroll burns 2.5 as many calories as sitting in your car. Of course, faster walking burns even more.

Shop 'til you drop
Park your car at your last errand, not your first, so you won't be tempted to drive from one spot to the next. Ask for shopping bags with handles for easy carrying, or bring your own mesh or canvas shopping bags. If you're half-way through your errands and already carrying plenty of packages, make a detour to your car, park the parcels, then jog to the next errand on your list. The more you walk, the more calories you burn (especially if you're carrying packages) and the more energized you feel.

Hoof, don't surf
Shopping online is convenient, but if you walk from shop to shop in the mall or canvas your favorite warehouse store for an hour, you'll burn 145 to 240 calories, depending on speed and how frequently you stop to window-shop or finger the merchandise – as opposed to 30 calories for clicking your way through the Web.

Excerpted from The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book: 300+ Quick and Easy Exercises You Can Do Whenever You Want! [http://www.joanprice.com/books/joan.htm] by Joan Price. Joan is a fitness expert, speaker, and author whose Web site, www.joanprice.com offers plenty of motivating exercise information and tools to help you reach your goals.

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Mind & Spirit

Errand energizers