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Category Archives: Activities of Daily Living

The IHFA’s Official Five Minute Dynamic Warm Up for Physical Activity

As discussed in our blog Components of a Workout, we recommend completing a Dynamic Warm Up prior to structured exercise or before participating in other forms of physical activity. The IHFA’s Official Five Minute Dynamic Warm Up for Physical Activity includes completing 10 different calisthenic type exercises for 30 seconds each, working the major muscle groups of the body while preparing it for movement in multiple planes of motion. Let’s get started!

1) Jumping Jacks: Complete traditional Jumping Jacks. Your arms and legs both move through the frontal plane (also known as the coronal plane), an imaginary plane that divides the body into ventral and dorsal (front and back) sections.

Alternatives: A low-impact alternative to Jumping Jacks could include a) completing the Jacks (AKA Frontal Plane Arm Swings) followed by a set of Hip Abductions/Adductions for each leg independently or b) Lateral Step Jacks – complete a Jack (the arm movement) while taking a lateral step outward with one leg, alternating legs every other repetition.

2) Push Ups: Complete a traditional Push Up, or for alternatives you can modify your stance position using various progressions. See our blog Anyone Can Do A Push Up! for several suggestions for increasing or decreasing the difficulty of the Push Up exercise.

3) Body Weight Squats: Complete traditional body weight squats, or for an easier alternative simply sit into and out of a chair or from a bench to complete this portion of the Dynamic Warm Up.

4) Transverse Plane Arm Swings: Swing your arms along the transverse plane (also called the horizontal plane, axial plane, or transaxial plane), an imaginary plane that divides the body into superior and inferior (top and bottom) sections. As you swing back and behind you, rotate your palms so they face upward and the thumbs face backward; then rotate them the opposite direction as you swing your arms forward, criss-crossing your arms in front of you each repetition.

5) Body Weight 45 Degree Lunges: Step forward and outward 45 degrees in front of you, alternating legs each repetition.

Alternative: If lunges bother your knees or you find them too challenging, you can complete a 45 Degree Step Up instead, stepping up and laterally onto a bench in front of you, again alternating legs each repetition.

6) Sagittal Plane Arms Swings & Calf Raises: Swing your arms in the Sagittal plane, an imaginary line dividing the body into right and left halves. As your come forward and upward with your arms, alternate criss-crossing your arms while making a fist with the hand in front and stretching out the fingers of the hand in back at the top end of the swing. Also, add a calf raise at the end of the swing reaching as far toward the sky as possible.

7) Alternating Butt Kickers: Simply walk or run in place, kicking your butt with the back of your heels.

8) Push Up Plank Shoulder Touch: From a starting Push Up position, widen your foot stance to increase your base of support, and then touch your left shoulder with your right hand, alternating with a left hand touch to the right shoulder every other repetition. Just like the Push Up progressions, you can make this easier or more difficult depending on the height of the surface (i.e. counter top, bench, floor) where you place your hands. With this movement, aim to maintain your body position without moving through the legs, hips or torso as you touch your shoulders.

9) Alternating Knee Ups: From a standing position, lift one leg and pull and cradle the knee into your chest. Alternate legs every other repetition.

10) Shoulder Shrugs: Tense your shoulders up to your ears, hold for a split-second, then completely relax your arms down to your sides.

15 Ways to Increase Physical Activity During Your Day.

Written by Jonathan Glick; BS-ESS, CPT-ACE.

1. Park the the back lot or as far as possible away from the entrance in the building you work at. If you find a “designated” spot that is always open you can make this a habit. For instance, at the college I teach at I park by the “J pole” or the next available spot (further away). It’s now ingrained in me as a positive habit and I don’t often think twice about it.

2. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. You can make exceptions, such as only walking the first 5, or 10 flights of stairs; or start with only walking up the stairs, or only using the stairs. When necessary, commit to something you’ll stick with, rather than trying the “all or nothing” approach.

3. Instead of emailing or phoning an associate that works in your building, deliver a message to them personally. Not only do you get more steps and thus more physical activity, it gets you out of your chair for a welcome break; plus you and your associate will benefit from open, in-person communication and it could help your work relationships.

4. Eat lunch on the “go.” Instead of eating your lunch sitting down, think about taking a walking lunch. No need to incorporate power walks but there are many foods easily edible while doing a short walk around the office, park or mall on your lunch break; and it’s definitely better than sitting!!

5. Microwave Push Ups. Warming up your morning coffee? Heating up last nights leftovers? Challenge yourself to complete as many counter top push ups as you can while the microwave is going. You can also do other exercises that require only your body weight, such as squats or lunges, or go all out with some Burpees!

6. Never just wait, ever again! You may find yourself completing tasks in which you have no choice but to wait. Just like the the microwave Push Ups, you can use down time, or “N.E.T.” time (No Extra Time) to complete a few exercises – heel raises while standing in line, lunges while waiting for that download to finish, Paper Ream Arm Curls in the office waiting for copies to finish, or even a whole-body workout while you’re working on laundry!

7. Get out of the car! At the bank, fast food place (gasp! but you’re getting a salad..) or other locations you typically go through a drive through. You body will love you for getting out and stretching those legs!

8. Take the Heavy Bag. Are you in school or remember when? All those text books sure got heavy. But now to increase your fitness you can carry them on purpose. Add some weight via books or other means to your gym bag, suitcase (if possible) or briefcase. The extra weight = extra calories, plus you can use your bags and cases for weight when you’re completing some on-the-go exercises like mentioned in idea # 6. Don’t forget to keep your posture more properly aligned by double strapping back packs!

9. Shovel snow from your neighbor’s sidewalk. Good deeds ALWAYS come with benefits, and extra physical activity and caloric expenditure is just one of them that comes from helping out your neighbor in this way. You don’t have to stop with snow shoveling, as raking leaves, gardening, planting flowers, or mowing lawns are also great alternatives.

10. Use a manual can opener. Yes, you read that right. The more often we do things manually, the longer we will be able to do things, manually or otherwise! It’s not time or age that plays the most critical factor in our dependency as we grow older, but lack of movement or the simply act of doing. Think about how by completing such simple tasks using manual tools rather than power tools you can not only increase physical activity but start creating the right mindset for lifelong wellness as well.

killtv11. KILL YOUR TV! OK, this is tough one right, but if you’re not going to go all out… there are alternatives to help increase your activity while you watch TV. The obvious solution is working out while doing so, even if its something simple as riding a stationary bike. Or how about instead of channel surfing with the remote you simply get up to change the channel rather than using a remote? WARNING: You may find yourself doing other things you enjoy (reading, gardening, and working out!) after you got up 74 times because there wasn’t anything worth watching on!

12. You don’t have to get rid of your TV, really. But if you can find time to watch television, you certainly can also find the time to workout – even if you don’t decrease the amount of time you watch TV. Here’s another no-extra-time idea: the Commercial Sprint & Stretch! Here’s how to do it: While you’re watching TV, as soon as a commercial comes on you run out your door and sprint down the street 4, 5, 6 or even 10 houses in length; then jog or walk back to your house. You don’t have to stop there, you can fit in other activities while the commercials on. A few sets of strength training for instance; or just stretch during commercials as well. Since the typical commercial is 30 seconds you can even use them as a timer for when to switch to a new stretch.

13. Run to the store. Literally. Of course you can walk, bike, roller blade or even skateboard! Since most errands are within an easy bike ride from home, you can consider using non-motorized vehicles on short trips. What is within a 10 minute walk or bike ride from your home? Consider this or another time or distance length, and commit to doing it anytime the weather is nice enough outside to do so.

14. Cook your own meals. Another small item but can add up your daily movement and activity over time. Not only are cooked meals typically more healthy, tasty and less expensive (added benefits!), it surely takes more personal physical activity to make a meal yourself rather than going out or ordering in.

15. Open up your own door! Just like elevators and escalators, there’s a time, place and need for automatic doors, but unless it’s necessity for you, consider going through doors you have to push or pull open yourself. When you start purposefully thinking, and doing these kinds of activities in the name of physical activity, you can truly change your mindset about your physical capabilities and willingness to EASILY add physical activity your your daily routine, even without structured exercise!

My Electric Powered Snow Shovel.

A snow storm rolled into town today, and I decided it was a timely opportunity to try out a new electric powered snow shovel I recently received as a Christmas gift. After about 10 minutes, I can tell you that it was both the first time and the last time I will use it! Although it was a nice and thoughtful gift, I’d rather use what I am already blessed with: two arms and legs, a healthy heart, and a strong back! Did you know that a 150 person burns an average of over 100 calories shoveling snow for a mere 15 minutes?

Now, I’m not advocating that you have to shovel snow with a regular shovel, but remember that this and other physical activities of daily living can contribute significantly to your daily caloric expenditure goals. Just from this one activity alone, shoveling snow 15-20 times per year over 40 years is the equivalent of burning 20 pounds of body fat! Over the next week, ask yourself what activities of daily living will you consider doing to increase your daily caloric expenditure, whether it be taking the stairs, walking to the grocery store, or even shoveling snow.

Until next time, ENJOY!

IHFA QUICK TIP – Three extra flights of stairs each day.

A person who walks an extra 3 flights of stairs every day starting when they are age 25 burns the equivalent of over 40 pounds of body fat by the time they are age 65.

Here’s the math:

3 flights of stairs = 10 calories burned (average person). This is also about 3/10 a mile for the average person. Note: Factors vary based on body weight and speed of movement.

So, the average person would burn an extra 10 calories every day, 365 days per year which is a total of 3650 extra calories per year; 146,000 extra calories over a course of 40 years.

There are 3500 calories in one pound of body fat. 146,000 calories / 3500 calories per 1 pound of body fat = 41.70 pounds of fat!

What can you do to burn an extra 10 calories every day?

IHFA QUICK TIP – Shoe & Sock Balance Exercise

Here’s a great idea to add activity to your daily routine: when putting your socks and shoes on each day, try it standing up! Balance on one foot while putting a sock on the other. From there you can simply progress to putting on your shoes and even tying your laces while balancing on one leg.