The average UK commute time today is around 55 minutes and that goes up to 73 minutes for those of you who work in London. The stress, delays, boredom and lack of control over your journey mean that with every passing minute your personal happiness decreases and your anxiety levels spike.
How many minutes a day do you spend exercising? Exercise reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes 2 and high blood pressure increasing your life expectancy, resilience and mental well being. Why not use some of that stressful commute time for exercise.
Reduce the stress and strain of your train commute with these five simple exercises:
- Posture. Whilst you’re waiting for your train be sure to stand with good posture. Imagine a balloon on a string attached to the back of the top of your head. The role of the balloon is to gently lift the weight of your head up off your body. This releases your spine from the compression of gravity and allows your body to decompress and lengthen without straining.
- Calf raises. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, arms hanging straight beneath your shoulders. Rise up on your toes and then slowly return to the starting position. If you’re doing it right you’ll feel tension in the muscles at the back of your lower leg. One set of 12 – 15 reps each morning is adequate. For the best results keep your back and knees straight and the movements slow and controlled.
- Stand up. You’ll most likely be sitting down all day so why not stand on the train? Don’t forget to clench those deep stomach muscles during braking or turning to improve your core stability.
- Breathe. Activate your body’s natural relaxation response with deep breathing. Deep abdominal breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which promotes a state of calmness reducing anxiety and stress. As you breathe in imagine you’re inhaling calm and peace and as you exhale release all those feelings of unease and tension.
- Commuter crunch. If you’re feeling brave or you’re on an empty mid day train try the classic commuter crunch. Sitting with your feet hip width apart, and flat on the floor, keep your shoulders and neck relaxed and contract those lower abdominal muscles. Imagine your belly button is moving back and upward into the small of your back. Hold that lower abdominal contraction and engage your upper abs. Gently round your lower back and move your ribcage down toward your hips. Breathing normally, hold the contraction for 8-10 seconds and then return to a neutral sitting position. Repeat 8-12 times.
Long working hours are the most common reason for lack of exercise but you can overcome that by incorporating exercise into your daily train commute.
Exercise doesn’t always have to be about getting hot and sweaty – it can be subtle and relaxing too.
© Extravitality 2015