Did you know that the average commute time in the US is 45 minutes each day one way to work? If you think about it, that 45 minute period could be spent more productively if you tried to add easy exercises to your commute. Of course, you’re not going to be able to do all of the following exercises in your car while driving. However, you can do most of them while commuting on the bus, train or subway to work. One main caveat is that you can’t be self-conscious about how you look to others. Who cares, really…right? It’s about your health. Who knows, you may even start an exercise revolution on your commute into work! Consider some of the following 6 exercises to add to your daily routine as you commute to work each morning.
See Also: How to Work Out During a Lunch Break
1. Strengthening Your Core
If you want to get your body into balance and become more agile, one way you can do that is to strengthen your core. You can work on strengthening your core in your car. Of course, make sure you only do this in the car when you’re at a stoplight. Letting go of the steering wheel is not a good idea unless you’re channeling Knight Rider and driving a new and improved version of KITT.
For this exercise, you need to squeeze your abs while you are providing resistance to your core by pressing your hands into the roof of your car. Squeeze your arm muscles as well so you can work on toning your triceps and biceps. You only need to hold this position for 15 seconds or less and can then repeat several times if you are still stopped at the light. Remember to keep your core muscles tightened while you are holding this pose. If you are ambitious, you can raise both your legs up at the same time to create even further tightening of your core. Just remember to put the car in park and put your break on if you lift up your legs.
2. Arm Strengthening
As someone who once worked with a trainer at LA Fitness, I know the benefits and pain of doing arm strengthening exercises. However, if you want to get toned arms, you can do these exercises during your morning commute. This may not be feasible on the bus, train or subway, depending on how crowded it is around you. After all, you don’t want to accidentally slap someone in the face, start a riot and then get thrown off the bus, having to walk 10 blocks to work.
Of course, then you’d definitely get a workout by walking, but that’s not the point of this article. We’re talking about “sitting” exercises. If you’re in the car, open your driver’s side window and hold both arms out to the side. Your arms should be straight and palms facing up, then turn them palm side down. You may chuckle now like I did to my trainer. However, doing 40 – 50 repetitions will cause you pain sure enough, but you’ll start to tone your arms.
3. Calf Raises
If you’re looking to tone your legs and build some sculpted calf muscles, try to do calf raises during your commute. Of course, this would only work on the bus, subway or train if you’re standing up. However, you can also do these calf raises while waiting at the bus stop or on the subway or train platform. Simply rise up on your toes and hold for a few seconds. Finding the proper balance may take some time, but you can aim for completing 75 – 100 repetitions each morning.
You may get some raised eyebrows, but that doesn’t matter as long as the right people start noticing your legs as you pass by your office crush or meet up with your boyfriend for a romantic dinner date. Then all those crazy looks you got will have paid off. Besides, what else do you have to do while standing around waiting for the bus, train or subway to arrive?
4. Laughing and Singing
You may not necessarily consider laughing and singing exercises. However, in my book, anything that can burn calories qualifies as exercise. Singing burns up to 136 calories in one hour, and that can be a fun way to add some “exercise” into your daily commute. You may not be able to sing at the top of your lungs while on the bus, train or subway. However, if you are driving your own car, have fun and sing to your heart’s content and burn calories on your way to work. If you carpool, this singing event can become like a musical number on Glee.
Did you know that when you laugh or giggle, for approximately 20 minutes, you burn up to 67 calories? So, you may not actually laugh for 20 minutes straight, unless you are starting to go insane and losing your mind. However, you can listen to your favorite comedian on your commute to the office and start to burn those calories while you enjoy the ride and laugh your way into work.
5. Tummy Crunches
As mentioned in step one, having a strong core will help you be more agile. It can also help you get a flatter stomach and start to develop those six pack abs. This core exercise cannot be done in the car unless you’re not driving and are part of a carpool. While, in the seated position, you need to push your hands into the seat and then raise your knees up to your chest. You may not be able to lift your thighs high off the seat at first; especially if your core is not that strong. However, any type of exercise you do is important and is one step in the right direction. After all, you can’t expect to become Jillian Michaels overnight! As you raise your knees to your chest, hold your core tight and keep this position for up to five seconds. Do about 20 repetitions. You might spark some interesting conversations on your daily commute.
6. Seated Twist
You can do the seated twist in your car, but again, this exercise needs to be done while in park with your break on and stopped at a light. Safety always comes first! It can also be done on the bus, train or subway. This exercise is also done in the seated position, and your feet must be flat on the floor.
Sit up tall with your back a bit forward from the seat. You don’t want to be seated against the chair. You should sit straight for a moment and take in deep breaths and then exhale, relaxing your core. Time your breathing to pull your belly into your core as you twist to the left. Your right hand should reach across you to the left and touch your palm to the seat. If you cannot reach down to the seat, simply place your hand on the armrest which is higher. Then repeat this step by twisting to the other side as well.
See Also: The 5 Minute Office Workout
The endorphins released by your body, react to receptors in your brain, triggering a feeling of happiness. That is why any type of exercise makes you feel more upbeat and happy. Taking the time to do these exercises during your morning commute will begin to help you improve muscle tone and get you to the office in a happier mood, ready to complete a productive work day.
Have you ever tried to exercise on your morning commute?