When most people think of exercising, they think of going to the gym for a workout, lifting weights in the garage, or spending at least 20 minutes on whatever exercise machine you happen to have in your house. But exercise doesn’t have to be that intense, planned for, or time consuming. It can be spontaneous, quick and easy. Sort of like quickie sex, but instead of a brief unplanned sexual encounter, you have an Impromptu Exercise Moment or IEM.
There are many times throughout the day when you find yourself stuck with nothing to do for a few moments. Take advantage of these otherwise wasted moments to do a little impromptu exercise. It doesn’t have to be something that you would do in a “real” workout. Any energetic movement counts as exercise; pacing briskly back and forth, skipping merrily around the room, even just swinging your arms around and rolling your shoulders. Anything that works your muscles even a little bit counts.
Just move! It doesn’t matter how you move, just move in some way, any way that uses a little more of your energy than just sitting or standing there does. Of course, you can also do “real” or more challenging exercises if you want to.
Even if you only do these energetic movements or exercises for a few short moments, it’s still a step towards a healthier, more physically fit life. Think of it as quickie-cising.
An easy way to start taking advantage of IEM’s is while you are watching tv. Every time a commercial comes on, stand up and do something. You can start small, simply walk a lap or two around whatever room you are in. If you feel a little more energetic, dance and/or wriggle around like a crazy person for a few moments. If you are more ambitious, try doing a few squats, lunges or even a couple of sit ups. You don’t even have to get off the couch. Instead, lay down flat on your back and do some leg lifts or scissor kicks. If you can scissor kick for the length of an entire commercial break, that’s a pretty decent little workout.
Another good time to utilize IEM’s is when you’re in your kitchen cooking. Say you’re waiting for the microwave to ding, or the water to boil, or whatever, and you have nothing to do for a few moments. Instead of just standing there, pace back and forth, jog in place, do a few side-step lunges, maybe do a couple of wall push ups. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something that is more energetic than simply standing there.
If you know that in certain rooms, you frequently have IEM’s, you can add a bit of variety to your quickie-cising by storing small dumbbells or resistance bands where you can grab and use them easily. Do a few quick bicep curls or tricep extensions or any other exercise you like, then toss the equipment back under the coffee table or wherever.
You don’t even have to be at home to take advantage of IEM’s. If you have a little privacy at work, you can do a few push ups on your desk, or any of several other exercises that you can do in your office. If you don’t have privacy, but have understanding co-workers, you can still engage in few quickie-cises if you simply explain what you are doing beforehand, and make sure that you are not disturbing anyone. Who knows? You might start a healthy new trend in your workplace.
You may not burn many calories during each of these mini-workouts, but every little bit helps, and they do add up. If you watch two hours of tv, with an average of five commercial breaks per hour, and you do something energetic during every break, you will have done the equivalent of a normal 20 minute workout in bits and pieces. You might not get all the aerobic benefits that you would get if you exercised for 20 minutes straight, but you still get many of the other benefits of a full workout.
However, burning a few calories is not the only benefit to be had from taking advantage of these IEM’s. You are also changing the way you think about exercising. You are training yourself to move your body more frequently and more energetically. You are gradually developing the habit of exercising.
Many people feel intimidated at the thought of starting a “real” exercise program that involves long structured workouts. However, the thought of these tiny little quickie-cises done during IEM’s should not be intimidating. No matter what shape you are in, you can move energetically for just a couple of minutes at a time. Over time, doing these impromptu quickie-cises can help to ease you into thinking about, and working towards doing longer, more strenuous exercise programs.
Even if you are already pretty fit, taking advantage of Impromptu Exercise Moments can help keep you healthy and improve your fitness even more. So, the next time you find yourself standing or sitting around waiting for something to happen, instead of just standing/sitting there pointlessly, get up and do something energetic. What have you got to lose?
Some other good exercises to do during IEM’s: