3 Simple Ways To Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

Kegel

Let’s cut to the chase: If you’re a woman, a weakened pelvic floor is just part of the deal as you age. There’s virtually nothing you can do to avoid it, and it has myriad causes: everything from giving birth to a lifetime of coughing.

No, really.

You don’t have to accept it, though. Having leaner, meaner pelvic muscles can improve your sex life and make you less likely to pee a little when your partner tells a joke or your grandson shows you his slick, toddler dance moves. Here are three ways to start strengthening your pelvic floor muscles today.

Kegels

Kegel exercise are basically the gold standard when it comes to regaining pelvic muscle strength. If you gave birth — and had a decent nurse or birthing coach — you were probably advised to start doing these while you were pregnant, as well as to keep them up after you delivered your little bundle of joy... and for the rest of your life.

If Kegel exercise managed to fall off your to-do list, here's quick refresher on how to do them. It's all a matter of contracting and releasing your pelvic muscles. Not sure what those muscles are? No problem (and you’re not alone). Here’s how to pinpoint the muscle group you're targeting: The next time you urinate, stop midstream. Those muscles you used to stop are the same muscles you need to strengthen.

Once you know what you need to flex, you can do your Kegels virtually anywhere. Tighten your pelvic muscles for five seconds (as if you were stopping an imaginary stream). Release and repeat. Shoot for three sets of 10 reps each day. If you have a step tracker or smart watch that prompts you to get up and move periodically, you might get into the habit of doing a set of Kegels before you take a walk around the office or living room. And if you just can’t seem to get them right, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for advice.

Side Steps

Kegels may be effective, but they aren’t for everyone. They also aren’t the only way to strengthen your pelvic floor. Sidestepping exercises can also work the same muscles. Here’s how to do them:

  1. Stand up straight, feet situated shoulders’ width apart.

  2. Squat with your thighs parallel to the floor, or as close to that as you can get. (It gets easier with practice.)

  3. Step to the right, then return your foot to the middle.

  4. Step to the left, then return your foot to the middle.

  5. Repeat for 20 total side steps (or 10 on each foot).

Side steps are a great exercise to squeeze in when you’re already up and taking a break from your desk. Personally, I like to do a set first thing in the morning to help get the blood flowing. Since I started incorporated pelvic muscles exercises into my daily routine, I've noticed that it's helping other parts of my body, too. My back aches a little bit less, for example, and so does my temperamental left hip.


DON’T go to the dentist 🛑
You do not need to shell out thousands of dollars, just to keep your teeth clean and healthy. In fact, you never need to set foot in a dentist office ever again. Instead, there’s a new home remedy that’s taken the world by storm, and… All you have to do is mix together these dirt-cheap ingredients!


Yoga

If you need another reason to start that yoga practice you've been putting off, here it is. Experts agree that regular yoga sessions are a good way to bolster your pelvic muscles (among many other muscles). Bear in mind that certain poses are more, shall we say, "pelvic-intensive" than others, such as the knees-to-chest and child's poses.

If you fear an accident when you sneeze or laugh at a good joke, you’re not alone. From Beyoncé to Meryl Streep, virtually every adult woman starts to at some point. It’s just another glamorous aspect of womanhood. If you’d like to do it less, however, it’s never too late — or too early, for that matter — to start paying attention to your pelvic floor muscles.

Understanding Your Pelvic Floor: The Most Important Area You Aren’t Paying Attention To

It is easy to take the human body for granted. People assume that because every body part functions correctly today, it will keep performing tomorrow, but that is not always the case. The body is a delicate and intricate biological machine, and as with any piece of machinery, it requires maintenance and upkeep.

In recent years, people have been discussing the importance of maintaining strength in the pelvic floor. The term references the muscles in the lower abdomen and is interconnected with the pelvis and sexual organs. This article will discuss the importance of these muscles, potential risks and the doctors specializing in the pelvic floor.

The Significance of the Pelvic Floor

While it is referred to as the pelvic floor, the muscles making up this area resemble more of a hammock or bowl than a floor. These muscles work in tandem with the deep abdominal, back and diaphragm muscles to support and stabilize your spine. This muscle group is also essential to bowel function, urination, sexual function, pregnancy and delivery, and physical function.

Unfortunately, because of the area of these muscles and the sensitivity against public discussion, many people suffer from symptoms of pelvic floor failure for years, believing that there is nothing that can be done. Some people even feel that a weakened pelvic floor is a natural part of aging, but that is not entirely accurate, and there are exercises you can perform to strengthen this muscle group.

Identifying the Pelvic Floor

A fundamental exercise for strengthening the pelvic floor is the Kegel exercise, which requires the squeezing of the pelvic floor muscles. However, to perform the exercise, you need to identify the muscles and feel the contraction.

Locating the pelvic floor muscles is easy but should be done in private because it requires places one or two fingers in the vagina and squeezing around them. After the initial exercise, you will no longer need your fingers because you can perform the exercise through feeling alone.

The feeling is often described as the sensation of lifting the pelvic floor up and in. Think of the feeling like you are trying to pull something up, but do not hold your breath and avoid tensing surrounding muscles, like the buttocks or abdomen.


DON’T go to the dentist 🛑
You do not need to shell out thousands of dollars, just to keep your teeth clean and healthy. In fact, you never need to set foot in a dentist office ever again. Instead, there’s a new home remedy that’s taken the world by storm, and… All you have to do is mix together these dirt-cheap ingredients!


Pelvic Floor Failure

A weakened pelvic floor can lead to significant problems, like leakage from the anus or uncontrolled urination. You may also experience frequent and hurried trips to the bathroom. Some symptoms will improve on their own, but others may not. If you are experiencing difficulty that is affecting your life, go to a doctor.

Preventing Problems

A healthy diet and an active lifestyle will reduce the risk of pelvic floor failure. Even a modest amount of weight loss, 5% to 10%, can significantly reduce the risk of pelvic floor failure in those overweight.

Pelvic Floor Specialists

If you are experiencing problems associated with your pelvic floor, then you should see a specialist. A urogynecologist is a specialist in female pelvic floor problems. Men can schedule an appointment with their urologist.

People tend to ignore their bodies, taking them for granted, but the pelvic floor is a crucial component of bodily functions and shouldn't be overlooked. If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more, keep reading the Smarter Science of Slim.

How To Find the Right Personal Trainer for You

If you have trouble staying motivated or designing an exercise routine that gives you results, expert trainers can help eliminate these obstacles. How can you choose the right personal trainer for your needs? Look for these eight essentials:

1. Credentials

Fitness may not be rocket science, but personal trainers should be certified. Depending on whether you’re focused on health, weight training or sports, look for certification from The American Council on Exercise (ACE), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) or National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

2. Focus

Find a personal trainer that focuses on the type of activity you need help with. If your goals are to build sleek muscles, look for a weight trainer. Do you want to run a marathon? There are trainers who specialize in running. For overall health or weight loss, you can even find certified trainers who are also registered dieticians.


DON’T go to the dentist 🛑
You do not need to shell out thousands of dollars, just to keep your teeth clean and healthy. In fact, you never need to set foot in a dentist office ever again. Instead, there’s a new home remedy that’s taken the world by storm, and… All you have to do is mix together these dirt-cheap ingredients!


3. Professionalism

It’s a good thing to find someone friendly and energetic, but there are always lines that shouldn’t be crossed. If a personal trainer says or does something that makes you feel uncomfortable, choose a different option. A great sign of trustworthy exercise professionals is that they ask you about any preexisting conditions you have or medication you take before designing your exercise routine.

4. Insurance

Even the best doctors have malpractice insurance to cover unforeseen accidents. In the same way, you should only work with personal trainers who carry liability insurance.

5. Schedule

Before signing up, make sure the trainer’s availability lines up with your schedule. Not all trainers are willing to give you classes in the evenings or on the weekend (though many do). Professionals who adapt to your schedule make it easier for you to maximize weight loss every week.

6. Reputation/Experience

The best trainers have real experience under their (beautifully slim) belts. Real professionals should have a great reputation for delivering results, not just telling clients what they want to hear. Check online for reviews from other customers. Any trainer should have a page on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter that you can look at.

7. Personality

It may seem like a small thing, but your trainer’s personality is actually one of the most important things. Certain types of individuals simply click with your own outlook on life, which makes them especially effective at motivating you. Like a great doctor, these trainers feel like friends you trust. Whether you need some military-esque tough love or an encouraging voice by your side, there’s a professional that fits out there somewhere.

8. Price

Last but not least is your exercise budget. It’s common for trainers to charge upwards of $50–$100 an hour or more. What if you can’t afford the cost? Before giving up an ideal trainer that fits you well, ask about discounts. Sometimes, you can save money with a six-month or annual exercise plan. Other times, the solution is to take a group class with friends.

Hiring a trainer can give you important advantages with your weight loss goals. Exercise professionals know how to motivate you, how to keep you safe during workouts and how to give you long-term goals that really work. That way, you don’t just lose weight, you learn the keys to keeping it off.

7 Reasons To Try Spinning

When I was younger, “spinning” was called “riding a bike.” It was fun, for the most part, and a good way to look for trouble with my girlfriends or, much later, look at autumn leaves with my husband. Today, spinning classes are all the rage, and the type of bike riding you do looks nothing like those sun-dappled daytrips to gaze at fall foliage. Instead, riders pedal together indoors on a fleet of stationary bikes under the motivational leadership of an instructor. Some classes feature pulse-pounding pop music; other keeps the lights low. No matter the atmosphere, spinning is a fun, high-energy way to stay healthy.

1. It’s Low-Impact

With all the music and words of encouragement, spinning classes may be high-octane but, unlike running or dancing, spinning itself is not a high-impact activity. Instead, it’s gentle on your joints, which makes it an excellent type of exercise for older riders or those bouncing back from injury. With spinning, the chances of a stress fracture or torn ligament are virtually nonexistent.

2. It’s Not Boring

Unless you have an iPad and a Netflix subscription at your disposal, putting in an hour on the treadmill can be a real snoozefest. Whether you’re walking or running, you’re also unlikely to vary your pace. In spin class, your instructor will have you changing your pace and your resistance throughout the entire workout. This variety is great for your muscles and a sly way to keep you from getting burned out.


DON’T go to the dentist 🛑
You do not need to shell out thousands of dollars, just to keep your teeth clean and healthy. In fact, you never need to set foot in a dentist office ever again. Instead, there’s a new home remedy that’s taken the world by storm, and… All you have to do is mix together these dirt-cheap ingredients!


3. It Burns a Ton of Calories

How’s this for a statistic? An hour-long spin class typically burns about twice the calories of other exercise classes. What’s more, all of that variety described above makes it a HIIT workout, i.e., a session that combines high-intensity bursts of activity with lower-intensity recovery movements. HIIT workouts cause your body to keep burning calories and blasting away the fat long after you’ve left the gym.

4. You Can Pick Your Own Pace

Just because your instructor cranks up the pace or the resistance, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same. With spinning, you can ride at a level of challenge that works for you. (P.S. No one else will be able to tell what resistance your bike is set to.)

Similarly, if you have any mobility issues, you can adapt your workout to fit your needs. If you have a bad back like me, for example, you can stay seated throughout the class instead of standing up when prompted.

5. Weather Can’t Cancel Your Class

Walking is great exercise. When rain, snow or sleet are part of the forecast, however, your motivation to lace up your shoes and don 19 layers of warm clothing may wane. In some cases, such as those involving ice, it may be downright dangerous to walk, jog or break out your trusty Schwinn. Since spinning takes place indoors, you can rest assured that a downpour will never cancel your workout plans.

6. It’s Good for Your Whole Body

Think spinning’s just good for your legs? Think again. It’s also a fabulous workout for your core and your cardiovascular system. A spinning class really gets your blood pumping, which can lower your chance of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.

7. It’s a Group Effort

My favorite part of attending spin class is the community spirit. Sure, your instructor will motivate you throughout your ride, but so will your classmates. You’re all in this together. If you often find yourself in need of encouragement when you sweat, spinning is an excellent choice. I’ve made lifelong friends from spin class.

Don’t let the fear of a group class or a lack of cycling experience stop you from spinning. Your local gym likely has spinning classes for all ages and levels of experience — and a bike with your name on it!

What Causes My Leg Pain?

Have you been experiencing unexpected leg pain recently? Leg pain can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know what the underlying cause of you discomfort could be. Here are some common conditions that can cause leg pain, as well as some things you can do about it.

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps are those sudden jolts of pain that I call “charley horses.”  They can affect any part of the leg, but tend to occur more often in the lower part. If you’ve ever been woken from a deep sleep by a muscle cramp, you know how awful they can be. When the pain strikes, it usually happens very quickly and often gets worse before it gets better. The pain can be debilitating.

Muscle cramps often occur when your muscles are dehydrated or very tired. If you’re prone to leg cramps, make sure you’re getting enough water every day. You may also want to use a foam roller after working out to help relax your muscles.

Tendinitis

Pain in your lower calf (near your heel) may be an indication of tendinitis. This injury is fairly common in active people or older people and can cause the Achilles tendon to swell or tear. This type of injury often occurs after overworking the calf muscle or after taking a lot of stairs because you’re trying to prove to your grandkids that you’re tougher than you look.

Unfortunately, tendinitis can be slow to heal, so it’s important not to get impatient and injure yourself again. Apply ice to the area to relieve swelling and talk to your doctor if your pain is severe and you think you may have a tear. You may be able to relieve the pain with medication, or you may need surgery to repair the torn tendon.


DON’T go to the dentist 🛑
You do not need to shell out thousands of dollars, just to keep your teeth clean and healthy. In fact, you never need to set foot in a dentist office ever again. Instead, there’s a new home remedy that’s taken the world by storm, and… All you have to do is mix together these dirt-cheap ingredients!


Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are very common, and they usually don’t cause much discomfort. I have them all over and they don’t always bother me. However, in some cases, varicose veins can cause a dull ache in the legs, especially after physical activity or after standing for long periods of time.

I have found that support stockings help relieve my pain. I also try to alternate frequently between sitting and standing. Wiggling your feet and legs regularly may also help prevent some of the discomfort varicose veins can cause. If your veins are very painful, make an appointment with your doctor. He can recommend treatments that will help.

Sciatica and Narrowed Spinal Canal

If you have sciatica, a herniated disc or a narrowed spinal canal, you could experience pain all the way down in your legs. Here are some of the common symptoms of these back conditions:

  • Tingling

  • Numbness

  • Cramps or leg pain while standing or sitting

  • Weakness

  • Pain in the leg, hip, and lower back

Resting may help relieve some of the pain, but this is a problem for which you’ll likely need professional care. Physical therapy may help relieve the symptoms, as well as other treatments recommended by your doctor. He or she can also prescribe medication to help you deal with the pain from sciatica or narrowed spinal canal.

Blood Clots

Sometimes as you get more “mature,” your blood can become thicker and get clumped up in your veins. When this happens, it forms a clot. A clot that forms in a deep vein is called a deep vein thrombosis, and it’s more likely to occur when you are inactive for long periods of time, if you smoke, or if you’re overweight. If you think you have a blood clot, visit your doctor or the emergency room immediately.

These are just a few of the more common causes of leg pain. Hopefully you’ve learned some things about what could be causing your pain and how you can treat it.

6 Exercises You Can Do Sitting in a Chair

If you think you need a gym membership, a rack of dumbbells or the stamina you had 30 years ago to get a workout in, think again. If you can sit, you can get fit. Try these six seated exercises the next time you’re behind your desk at work or on your couch binge-watching “The Crown.”

1. Arm Circles

They may look a little silly, but arm circles are a great workout for your arms. They use your arms themselves — plus a little gravity — for resistance, so you can do them virtually anywhere.

Sit up straight and extend your arms to each side like you would while crossing a balance beam or pretending to be an airplane for your grandson. Move your arms in small circles like you’re polishing the rim of a coffee cup with your fingertips. Continue “polishing” until you feel the burn, then do your circles backward.

2. Punches

These are a personal favorite. Channeling your inner Sugar Ray Leonard for a quick air-boxing session provides an excellent workout for your upper body. It targets not only your arms but also your back, shoulders and core.

Start by throwing 20 punches in front of you, exhaling as you hit your imaginary target. Take a breather, and then repeat five times.

3. Soup-Can Press

You don’t have to use cans of soup to do this overhead press, but it’s my preferred method. You can hold whatever you want, including nothing at all.

Hold your cans up to your ears. Your elbows should be bent, with your upper arms parallel to the ground. Slowly extend the cans above your head, straightening your arms completely, then bring them back down slowly. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps.

4. Marching

Were you in marching band in high school? If you’re like me, you have fond memories of band trips and football games, and you have less-fond memories of marching through town in a sweaty polyester uniform. With seated marches, you can put your legs through their paces, literally, without having to remember how to play the theme from “Love Story.”

Here’s how to do it: Put your hands on either side of your chair for support (or on either side of you if you’re on the couch). Keeping your tummy tucked in tight, bring your right foot off the ground as high as you can, knee bent. Bring it back down, keeping your core muscles contracted, and repeat with your left foot. Do three sets of 15 reps on each leg, and if all that core tightening is too tough, try leaning backward a bit.

5. Ankle Stretches

Another personal favorite, these stretches both boost your ankle flexibility and reduce your risk of blood clots.

Sit up straight and hold on to your chair for support. Lift your leg off the floor so that it’s parallel to the ground. Point your toes away from you and hold, then point them back toward you and hold.

That’s it! I usually do three sets of 10 reps, but as with all of these exercises, do what feels right for you and your experience level.

6. Leg Extensions

Leg extensions are like squats without all the, well, squatting. Sit up straight and once again brace yourself by holding onto the sides of your chair. Your feet should be flat on the floor or, even better, dangling above the floor.

Next, contract your glutes (yes, your rear end) and straighten both of your legs out in front of you, as parallel to the ground as you can get. Hold that position for three seconds, and then lower your legs slowly. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps.

Staying active is fundamental to longevity. You know the old saying: “If you don’t move it, you’ll lose it.” Keep your joints and muscles active by adding these seated exercises to your regular routine.

5 Home Workouts Without Equipment to Lose Weight

When most people think of exercise, they immediately imagine a gym with loads of equipment. While a gym is nice every once in a while, it is not necessary (thank goodness) for exercise. With the current health crisis, many establishments are not even open, so it is best to discover new ways of exercising without equipment.

Those who love to go to the gym and are used to working out with fancy equipment may balk at the idea of an equipment-free workout, but there are plenty of people who refuse to use equipment in their routines. The simple fact is that your body weight often provides enough resistance to help build and maintain muscle, especially when you combine it with a nutritious diet. Therefore, to prepare for your pandemic workout routine, consider the following.

1. Cardio

A treadmill is not necessary for cardio, and neither is a bicycle. Heck, you do not even need to run to get your heart pumping. Instead of burdening yourself with the thought of running, consider going for a brisk walk. You can even take a stroll and experience the benefits of the cardio activity, as long as you are committing to a long enough trek. Most professional trainers recommend taking at least 10,000 steps per day, which is around a four to five-mile walk.

2. Strength Training

As you get older, strength training is both essential and potentially risky. However, you can eliminate much of the risk by relying on your body weight rather than dumbbells. Some excellent strength training exercises are squats, lunges and pushups. You can also try planks and hip raises if you are capable of getting down on the floor. If you cannot get down on the floor, try doing pushups against a wall. You can also use a chair to perform squats.

3. Yoga

Yoga is extremely popular, and it has many significant health benefits. For one, it helps a person relieve stress and anxiety, which is terrific for psychological health. However, on the more practical side, yoga is a practice of balance and flexibility.

As people age, their flexibility and balance become more restricted, leading to accidents, like slips and falls. To reduce the safety risks of aging, incorporating a healthy activity like yoga into a daily or regular routine is an excellent idea.

4. Core

Core strength is also vitally important as people age because it relates to posture. There are several exercises you can perform without equipment to aid in core development. For example, sit-ups tend to be the go-to option for building abdominal muscles but using the plank exercise is another excellent tool. Performing a plank exercise, which is essentially holding your body in the pushup position, helps build core, back, leg, arm and shoulder strength. It is a whole-body exercise.

5. Legs

If you wish to build your leg muscles, then consider using your stairs or performing lunges and squats. You can also perform knee lifts to strengthen your thigh muscles.

As you can see, a gym is not necessary for an exercise routine. If you are interested in more helpful exercise or health-related tips, then continue reading the Smarter Science of Slim.

Healthy Changes To Make Today

If you’re like me, it seems like it was only yesterday that you were a 20-something who could eat whatever she wanted, stay up until the wee hours of the morning and take a flight of stairs like it was nothing. Today, it's considerably harder to feel energetic, fresh and ready to scale heights. As you age, staying healthy seems like it’s always just outside your grasp. The thing is, it’s actually right in front of you: You just have to take it!

Whether you want to lose 30 pounds, have more energy for your grandkids or not have to take a breather after hiking to balcony-level seats, there are plenty of small changes you can start making today to feel better. Here are two of the most important.

Get Your Beauty Rest

I can’t overstate the importance of a good night’s sleep. When you’re tucked in tight and dreaming, your body is repairing, rebuilding and rejuvenating itself from head to toe.

As an adult, you need at least seven hours of beauty sleep each night. That's beauty not just for your complexion but also for your brain. When you fall short of those 7 hours, your body and mind rebel. In addition to feeling groggy and slow, inadequate sleep can lead to a variety of health issues, no matter how fit you are. For example, the risk of both heart attack and stroke increase for adults who don’t get enough sleep.

If, despite your best intentions, falling asleep is an issue for you, there are several ways to make trundling off to dreamland easier:

  • Get into the routine of going to bed at roughly the same time every night. Set an alarm on your phone if you have to.

  • Keep screens out of your bedroom. The light given off by many electronic devices is a one-way ticket to Insomnia Town, Population: You.

  • Try a sleep app. It seems like every day there’s a new app designed to help you fall asleep. I’m partial to the Sleep Stories on the Calm app.

Make Eliminating Stress a Priority

As women, we’re often expected to take care of everybody else. We’re mothers, daughters, best friends and CEOs. We run companies and households. We cook. We clean. We — well, you get the drift. The majority of women are subjected to an incredible number of stressors. Meanwhile, as caretakers, we may feel guilty if we take a moment to look after ourselves.

That line of thinking needs to stop. Over time, constant stress can lead to an array of health problems, including depression, ulcers, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, IBS and migraines. It also increases your likelihood of obesity.

If reading the above paragraph stressed you out, don’t worry. Small changes can yield big, healthy results. Making as little as 10-15 minutes per day to relax and have fun can put a huge dent in your stress levels. Those 10 minutes don’t have to be spent in silent meditation, either. For me, taking a break often entails one or more of the following:

  • Reading a magazine (the more celebrity gossip, the better)

  • Going for a walk

  • Watching an episode of “comfort food” TV

  • Listening to music

  • A hot bath, heavy on the rosemary oil

  • A glass of wine, preferably red

  • Playing a quick game or two on my iPad

If nothing else, check in with yourself often and take a few deep breaths. Self-care should be a priority in your life, not an indulgence.

Getting plenty of sleep and taking time each day to de-stress are just two of many small modifications you can make to improve your overall health. Even better, they’re two changes you can make today.

How To Use Household Items as Exercise Equipment

Whether you have no interest in joining a gym or simply haven't been there in a while, you're probably looking for ways to get in a good workout at home. Sure, you could buy a bunch of equipment and create a home gym, but maybe you're short on space or don't want to make that kind of commitment yet. The solution: work out at home using random household items to supplement your moves. At some point, you'll likely get bored with your simple, no-equipment routine, and you'll want to add a little bit of resistance. When you find yourself in that place, don't run out and buy the latest workout gadget. Instead, here are a few common household-items-turned-workout-props to get you started.

Chair as Barre

Let's start with a classic from every exercise video ever: using a dining room chair to hold onto while doing barre work. The trick here is to be sure and use a sturdy chair that won't topple easily and won't slide out from under you when you need it most. Try placing the chair against the wall for added stability. Once you're sure it won't move, you can use it as a support for mountain climbers, triceps dips, and modified planks, too.

Broom as Barbell

Your broom will only hold so much weight, and you don't want to try to lift too much without a spotter anyway, so think of this a lightweight bar, at best. To use it: Fill a pair of sneakers with heavy items, such as cans, and try to make the weight equal. Then slide them onto the broom handle by the ties. Be sure they're double-knotted so they won't come undone during your workout. You can also use a broom or long dowel without added weight to keep your hands in position for lat pulldowns.

Canned Food as Dumbells

This is another oldie-but-goodie. Don't have any dumbells? Just use cans from your pantry! It's an excellent option because you can use different sizes to give you different weights. However, be sure you can grip the cans well. If they're too big to hold, you'll risk dropping them on your toes, which, as you can imagine, is no fun at all.

Water Jug as Kettle Ball

Using a gallon jug to add some resistance to your home workout is pure genius. It's got a nifty, built-in handle that prevents you from easily dropping it, it weighs just under 10 pounds when full, and you can drink the water afterward. When choosing a container to use this way, be sure it's either factory-sealed or has a screw-on cap, not one that easily pops off. You don't want to deal with a gallon of water on the floor mid-workout. The best way to use this household item in your exercise routine is to substitute it anywhere you would typically use a kettle ball. If you're up for it, you could also use one in each hand to add resistance to bodyweight exercises.

Being stuck at home can quickly get old, but there's no reason to let your health slip because of it. Keep that body moving and mind engaged with whatever you happen to have on hand.

How to Work in 30 Minutes of Cardio During Your Busy Day

Many adults report that they have very little time for themselves during the day. Whether your job, children or community responsibilities take up most of your day, it’s important to make sure you take time for your health as well. Regular exercise is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for older individuals who need to keep a close eye on their physical health.  The good news is that working out doesn’t have to take up a huge chunk of your day. In fact, there I use a few simple hacks to make sure I get at least 30 minutes of cardio, no matter what my schedule is like. I can help you do it, too!

The Importance of Regular Cardio

No matter how full your schedule may be, regular cardio is essential for your health. Performing cardio not only raises your cardiorespiratory endurance, but it also helps lower blood sugar and regulate insulin levels. In short, performing just 30 minutes of cardio each day can help you live a healthier, more energetic lifestyle well into your senior years. Plus, it will help you keep extra pounds at bay.

Tips for Fitting Cardio Into Your Busiest Days

Now that you know how important cardiovascular activity is, you may be wondering “but how am I supposed to fit 30 minutes of exercise into my day?” Don’t worry, I’m here to help you with that. Here are a few things I do now or have done in the past to sneak cardio into my busiest days.

  • Ride your bike to work. This one is not only highly effective, but it’s also fun. Of course, it’s not a valid option for everyone, but if you work close by, riding your bike to work and back each day is an excellent way to squeeze some cardio in.

  • Take a walk during your lunch break. If you have an hour-long lunch break, why not use half of it to take a walk? Take advantage of nearby walking trails or just take a brisk stroll around the block. You’ll still have plenty of time to eat, and you’ll likely find that your walk energizes you so you can be productive the rest of the day.

  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Taking the stairs at work won’t give you 30 minutes of cardio, but it may give you anywhere from 1-5 minutes. If you do it several times per day, you could receive up to 15 minutes of cardio exercise by just taking the stairs. That means you’ll only need to figure out how to squeeze in another 15 minutes of cardio throughout your day. That’s doable for practically anyone!

  • Schedule your workouts and commit to them. In the grand scheme of things, how important is your physical health? The answer is “extremely!” That’s why you should never put yourself on the back burner. If you’re not getting enough exercise to stay healthy and happy, start scheduling it into your calendar. Give your workout the same importance you give professional meetings, and don’t break your cardio appointments.

  • Keep your workout clothes nearby at all times. Opportunities for short bursts of activity can come up at any time, but you won’t be able to take advantage of them if you aren’t prepared. Keep a gym bag of workout clothes nearby at all times, so you can go for a quick jog or bike ride if a meeting is canceled unexpectedly or if a friend invites you for a last-minute run.

The truth is, it’s easy to come up with excuses not to take care of your body. Believe me, I know! But if you keep these little tips in mind, you can get 30 minutes of cardio in without even realizing it.