Let’s get one thing straightened out from the get go.
Personal trainers and other fitness professionals are NOT always motivated to exercise. Sometimes I’d rather be at the dentist getting my teeth drilled than be at the gym.
All you want to do it sit down in a warm comfy chair with my favorite bag chips and the TV remote in my hand. Does this sound familiar?
You know all the health benefits of exercise. You know it will help you move better and look more awesome in the mirror BUT, you don’t care. You don’t feel like exercising and that’s that. Chair, chips and TV here I come.
But wait, before your hit the chair, please hear me out
Not every exercise session needs to be a CrossFit WOD. Yes, you heard right. Exercising till you drop is not the ONLY way. However, don’t say it to any CrossFitters. They might come at you with flaming pitchforks and you’d be better run.
So, when you don’t feel like ‘working out’ and being surrounded by a bunch of sweaty, noisy people admiring themselves in the mirror, remember this, just 10 minutes of exercise is enough for your health.
According to a study by British Journal of Sports Medicine, exercise done for a short amount of time, (10 minutes) can have a meaningful impact and could be enough to increase your lifespan. (1)
You’ve got 10 minutes for a better life before eating chips, don’t you? Here are some suggestions before you hit the chair and reach for the remote.
Due to the wonders of modern technology, you sit more and move less than our ancestors. Sitting and not moving for long periods can lead to tight hamstrings, hips and chest muscles and weakened glutes and upper back muscles.
Postural conditions such as rounded shoulders and lower cross syndrome are more common because of sitting too much.
These conditions are not a huge deal in the big scheme of things, but wouldn’t you rather have good posture and be a little more flexible? If so, consider incorporating the following stretches before you sit down.
Note- Stretching around bedtime is a great way to wind down before sleepy time.
Hip flexor stretch 1-2 minutes on each side
Doorway chest stretch 15 seconds 5-10 times on each side
Hamstring stretch 30-60 seconds on both legs
Lat stretch 30-60 seconds on each side
Don’t you feel better?
There are numerous health benefits to walking and there’s no need to rehash it all here. However, the hidden benefit of walking is it reinforces our natural human contra lateral (opposite arm opposite leg) pattern of movement.
Walking is a coordinated human movement that helps make other movements like jogging, sprinting and skipping easier. And it’s easy, simple and you can do it anywhere.
The contralateral act of walking also activates the left and right hemispheres of the brain which can help you think clearer. Furthermore, walking is great stress reliever because it stimulates the brain to release serotonin and endorphins, which help you feel better physically and mentally.
Please strap on a pair of shoes and go for a 10-minute walk before you hit the couch.
3. SELF MASSAGE
This can take many forms such as foam rolling, using your own hands or using golf, tennis or lacrosse ball. Think of it as a poor man’s massage. Getting a paid massage is more effective than other self-massage modalities but self-massage is cheaper and more accessible.
Any type of massage will help relieve muscular tension and bring healing blood flow to areas of your body. And when you combine massage with stretching, magic happens.
Your own hands
To straighten yourself out
4. GET ON THE FLOOR
You’ll literally have no excuse for this because it’s a very short distance from the couch to the floor. However, no crunching or planking involved here, just some gentle mobility exercises.
Because doing mobility exercises on the floor is easy, simple and will help you move better. This small-time investment will have a huge payoff for your general wellbeing and it may even burn a few calories.
Although the exercises here are a little strange, there’s nobody judging you, except maybe your house pets and who cares what they think.
The call of the comfy couch is strong and the motivation to exercise is sometimes weak. And rather than skipping exercise altogether, doing the 4 things mentioned previously, makes sure you still reap the health benefits of exercise without raising a sweat.
However, don’t stay away from the gym too long, it might miss you.