You may’ve heard the following exercise phrases before.
“Go hard or go home.”
“No pain, no gain.”
“Pain is a weakness leaving the body.”
“Sweat is fat crying.”
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
If your goal is to get stronger, lose weight or build muscle, exercise will be somewhat intense, uncomfortable and you’ll feel sore at times. But that’s okay because lifting weights isn’t meant to tickle.
However, not all exercise has to be balls to the wall. There are benefits to less intense, easier exercise that include
- Reducing stress
- Aiding recovery
- Increasing mindfulness
- Improving flexibility and mobility
And when you have no time, no motivation or you need a change of pace from your regular routine, engaging in some easy exercise could be just the ticket. Use the following exercises if that sounds like you.
Due to the wonders of modern technology, you sit more and move less than your ancestors. Sitting and not moving for long periods over time 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 have become more prevalent because of this.
These conditions are not a huge deal in the big scheme of things, but wouldn’t you rather have good posture?
If so, consider incorporating the following stretches into your daily routine.
Hip flexor stretch 1 minute on each side
Doorway chest stretch 15 seconds 5- 10 times on each side
Hamstring stretch 30-60 seconds on both legs
2. Mobility work
I’m a mobility guy because the human body was made to move. Mobility allows you to squat, deadlift, push and pull like a champion. Furthermore, having good mobility helps you move well and often without pain or restrictions.
There are few other reasons why mobility is important, including
- Mobility- it’s one of the original foundations of youth along with hypertrophy
- Injury prevention- an unrestricted joint that can go through its full range of motion is a happy joint.
- Becoming stronger– if your hip mobility is limiting your squat or deadlift then you’re not strengthening all parts of the movement.
Mobility exercise is uncomplicated and can be done anywhere at any time and small-time investments will have a huge payoff for your general wellbeing. Although there are a multitude of mobility exercises, these are the one I use for my clients on a regular basis.
Rocking ankle mobilization- 8 reps on both legs
Leg swings- 10 reps on both legs
Hip mobility series
Seated extensions 10- 15 reps
Back to the wall shoulder flexion- 10 reps
Every day, weather permitting, I take my dogs for a walk. It’s great exercise for them and me and all it requires is a pair of shoes and some open space. It couldn’t be any easier.
There are numerous benefits of walking and there’s no need to rehash it all here. However, the hidden benefit of walking is that it reinforces our natural human contra lateral (opposite arm opposite leg) pattern of movement.
Walking is coordinated human movement that helps make other movements like jogging, sprinting and skipping easier .
Furthermore, walking is a use it or lose it scenario. Ever see elderly people shuffle their feet in fear of falling forward? Or ride around on a motorized cart? I rest my case.
The contralateral act of walking also activates the left and right hemispheres of your brain which can help you think clearer and reduce stress. Doesn’t all of this sound good?
Then strap on a pair of shoes and go for a walk.
This can take many forms such as foam rolling, using your own hands or using golf, tennis or lacrosse ball. And depending on who you talk too, self-massage is either better than sliced bread or a complete waste of time.
That leaves plenty of middle ground to explore.
You should think of this as a poor man’s massage. Having hands on you with the massage therapist is more effective than other self-massage modalities. However, 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. Consider using the exercises below as part of your easy exercise routine.
Foam rolling hamstrings
Self-massage using your hands
There are going to be times in your life when you’re tired, stressed and have a to do list as long as your arm and that’s where easier exercise comes in. Now you’ll have to find a different excuse not to exercise.