If you find it hard to squeeze in a workout or make it to the gym after a long day at the office, you might want to take advantage of your morning commute and maximize your activity level.
When it comes down to it, every bit of effort counts when you’re looking to burn calories and stay in shape. And you can actually make a difference by working in a few bouts of energy in unexpected moments during the day.
Whether you’re in a car, walking, biking, or on the train, there are ways to make your morning trek worth your while. Here’s how to turn your commute into a mini-workout that can rev you up for the hours ahead.
1 On The Bike
Set that alarm a little earlier so you don’t need to sprint to the office. Then, spare a few moments to work on reverse pedaling, which is more challenging and provides greater calorie burn, says chiropractor Dr. Rubina Tahir, DC. “This keeps yours legs engaged and muscles firing,” she explains.
Also, try putting little to no weight on the handlebars. “This will challenge your core muscles, burning more calories and will keep your arms cut,” she says. As for your calorie burn, “it depends on the speed you are going, but the average person can burn an extra 15-30 calories during a 30-minute interval.”
Sarah Joy Jespersen, founder of Trumi, recommends leaning forward and keeping your elbows in. “You will activate your triceps and keep your arms in a constant state of flexion,” she says. “If you don’t care to look like a professional and want to up the ante a bit, you can slowly lift and lower your upper body in this position and it will simulate a dip, too.”
You can do some interval work, too. “Get your butt up out of the seat: Do 1-minute intervals of peddling in this position as many times as you can during your commute,” she says. “Butt off the seat for 1 minute will burn 11.3 extra calories, and if you do three 1-minute intervals on your commute, it’s an extra 33.9 calories,” Tahir says.
You can also focus on standing and getting that resistance up. “For your lower body, keep your bike at as high a resistance as you can and potentially stand if it’s possible,” Jespersen says. “Think about both parts of your pedal stroke, the push and pull. If you really work to activate in the push and pull, your quads, glutes, and hamstrings will fire at twice the rate of an easy seated pedal.”
Increasing resistance and standing will torch calories, too. “A 150-pound (68kg) male will burn 7 calories per minute at low intensity, but pumping up the resistance will burn 12 calories per minute. Almost a full double down on calorie burn,” she adds.
By Isadora Baum