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The Anywhere Gym

by on April 2, 2013

I’ve got a piece of equipment in mind that’s perfect for some quick exercise wherever you go. It’s convenient and easy to take with you, and no one is going to look at it funny… well, probably not, until you start using it.

I’m thinking about body weight exercises, the wide variety of motions you can do to work your muscles and get moving without any equipment required.

Many of us sit in our offices at desks staring at computers for hours at a time. Or perhaps we stand at a cash register or an appointed location for extended periods. We’ve all probably heard the advice that you should get up and move around in order to get blood flowing and resist a sedentary lifestyle, but good advice is only useful if we follow through.

It’s not difficult, but it takes willpower. If you have a private office or room, you don’t even need to worry about the looks you might get.

Here are some of my favorite options:

Push-ups – I’m in the military, so of course push-ups become a part of life. I have to pass a fitness test every 6 to 12 months, and push-ups are one of the four components. It’s a fairly quick motion, so it only takes a minute to knock out a bunch and get some muscles working. There are plenty of modifications as well, for beginners and for the advanced athletes (i.e. not me). Drop to your knees after you can’t maintain good form, and knock out a few extra. Or lower your body about halfway, and hold that position for a few seconds. You’ll tear muscles down to build them up stronger.

Planks – Many exercise regulars love to bang out a bunch of sit-ups or crunches to work out the abs. But we don’t all focus on full core strength, so the lower back sometimes remains weak in comparison to its six-pack counterpart. Planks give you a chance to strengthen your whole core, and it’s maybe a little less ridiculous to watch. My current record is 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Can you beat that?

Lunges – You can get your legs moving a bit without having to go anywhere. You’re just stepping forward with one leg, dropping your knee to just above the floor, and returning to the original position. Repeat with the other leg. You can do this anywhere.

Squats – This will work your legs out as well as that perpetual problem area, the bum. It looks a little crazy acting like you’re sitting down in an invisible chair, so you might get some funny looks. The burst of energy and the overall health you get out of staying active is more than worth it.

Wall Sit – Put your back up against a wall and then “sit” so that your upper legs are parallel to the ground and your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Stay there as long as you can. It won’t be long, I promise! You can also do these in short sets… maybe a tabata with 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off, or 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. Time flies when your muscles are quivering and burning!

Crunches / Sit-ups – I said I’d list my favorites. I’m lying. I hate these. But they’re also another part of that fitness component, so there you have it. The only issue with these is getting down on the ground wherever you’re at. (Ok, there’s also the part where you have to do them.)

There are plenty of other options. Jumping jacks are fine if you have room to wave around. High knees might be good if running in place isn’t going to make too much noise or attract too much attention. You can do some mountain climbers, or burpees, as long as you have that freedom to move about.

You can also take advantage of the stairs. Why go to the gym and get on a stair climbing machine when you probably have a flight of stairs nearby? You don’t have to rush at full speed and start sweating like you’re at the gym – the idea is simply to get some movement and bloodflow so your body doesn’t remain still for hours on end.

These are also some great ideas for those times when you can’t get to your favorite gym or exercise activity.

After all, this is the one piece of gym equipment you can’t possibly be without!

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From → Get Moving

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