Micro Workouts That can Be Done (Almost) Anywhere
Use micro-workouts to amp up your routine
Looking for a way to meet your New Year's resolution or ease into a routine? Micro-workouts are mini exercises or small actions that can be done at almost anytime and anyplace, whether you are brushing your teeth, waiting in line, browsing at the store, or working at a desk, and while it doesn't compensate for a full, pulse-pounding workout, it will help burn some extra calories and tone areas of the body that may have gone ignored. Whether you are looking to tone your tush, shrink your bat wings, strengthen your calves, or just get the blood pumping, micro-workouts are a great way to augment your fitness routine!
The Tush Clench
1. The Tush Clench
The Tush Clench can be done while sitting or standing. Simply clench and hold the glutes for 5 seconds and release. Repeat. Keep your legs relaxed to avoid straining your hamstrings. The Tush Clench is great for when you are sitting for extended periods of time watching television or working in an office or standing while picking out your wardrobe or brushing your teeth, and can be combined with other micro-workouts for higher impact.
2. Hip Circles
Hip Circles work the hips, but also work the abs and lower back to help develop and maintain curves. Simply stand straight with a little gap between your feet. With your knees slightly bent and hands on hips, start rotating your hips as if using an invisible hula hoop; stick your hip out to the left, move it around to the front, the right, stick out your butt, and then back to the left like a pelvic clock. After 5 revolutions, switch directions. A variation of this is simply swinging your hips from side to side or front to back to concentrate on different muscles.
3. Calf Raises
For Calf Raises stand with your feet hip-width apart and a slight bend to your knees. Slowly lift your heels off the floor, pressing the balls of your feet into the ground. Hold the pose, and then slowly and with control, bring your heals back down. Repeat. Pulses can be added when your heals are lifted, but they need to be controlled and not bouncing to reduce the risk of injury. To modify this for Seated Calf Raises, sit with your core straight. Press on your thighs to add pressure. Press the balls of your feet into the ground to raise your knees and thighs. Hold for 5 seconds, and then release. Repeat. Amp things up by adding weights or by standing like a flamingo and using just one leg and using a wall or chair back for balance.
Squats are a big go-to for many fitness fanatics with good reason, working not just the booty, but also the calves, thighs, and core. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and push your hips back, keeping your focus forward and shoulders straight. Variations include hands on hips or arms raising to chest level in front of you. An advanced version is performed with one leg stretched forward or raised while squatting.
5. Arm Circles
Arm Circles work best when you are standing but can be done while sitting. With spine straight, start with your arms raised from your sides parallel to the floor. Keeping your palms open, rotate your arms forward in controlled circles. Do 10 circles, and then switch directions to rotate backward. Repeat.
Let's put it all together!
Combining these mini exercises with daily activities will help increase energy, burn extra calories, and tone while not taking over your day. Let's put these activities together for a couple of example micro-workouts!
- While sitting and watching television or working at a desk, sit with your spine straight. Place your feet flat on the floor with your thighs parallel to the floor. Place your palms on your thighs toward your knees, clench your tush, and perform Calf Raises. Return to neutral, releasing your muscles. Loosen up by twisting your torso, turning your head and shoulders to the left and then to the right. Return to neutral. Lift your arms and perform arm circles.
- While standing to get ready for the day (brushing teeth, combing hair, etc), start with Calf Raises with tush clenched. Continue with Hip Circles. Do a set of squats and wrap up with some arm circles.
© 2018 Liz Woodward