The Lazy Woman's Guide to Working Out

I will never really understand those people who love to work out. Don't get me wrong, I like being active - biking, dancing, hiking, playing games - but I can't bring myself to set aside valuable chunks of tv watching time just to go jogging, or do some kind of crazy exercise that involves giant rubber bands and a lot of falling over.

On the other hand, I have a desk job and I do a lot of sitting while I'm at home, and being that sedentary is just not good for you. Instead of trying to do a set workout for a set amount of time ("It's abs day!" "It's legs day!" "It's cake day, fuck this workout nonsense."), I thought I would try to just add in a few minutes of exercise in here and there a few times a day.

There are a couple of different ways I've been working exercise into my day lately. Some of them are really simple ones - taking the long way around when I go to the bathroom, or getting off the train one stop early and walking the extra two blocks to get to work. There's a chin up bar over my closet door, and I'll do a pullup or two any time I pass it. I really like to dance, so when I'm watching tv and a catchy theme song comes on, I just get up and boogie for a little bit. (Cowboy Bebop is the best theme song ever for this. I'm always out of breath and ready to collapse back on the couch when it ends.)


Another way I'm using my tv watching habits to spur myself to exercise is something that I think I first read about in an old issue of YM magazine, so you've probably heard the same hoary old piece of advice yourself plenty of times - doing a commercial length workout. The commercial slots on Hulu are a little shorter than the ones on cable, but it's still surprising how much of a burn you feel doing crunches or planks for 30 seconds or a minute at a time. I mostly stick to stuff that I learned in gym class for this, like the aforementioned planks and crunches, as well as pushups, leg lifts, squats, lunges, and crab walking.

Some days I'll do more, some days less, but since there's no pressure to do it (which tends to just make me resent things), I've been pretty consistent about doing it every day.

It doesn't feel like much when I'm doing it, but it's surprisingly effective. In the six weeks since I started, I've gone from being able to do two pull-ups with a jumping start to being able to do five with a jumping start, or one from a hanging position (don't laugh, that's really hard). I've lost about an inch and a half off of my waist, and my arms and legs are visibly more toned.

Here is a photo of Neighbordog, since everyone loves her. 

Here is a photo of Neighbordog, since everyone loves her. 

Of course, I've been making other minor changes as well. Everyone gets a little bit of bloat around the holidays from all the rich foods and sweets, so going back to my normal diet - lots of veggies, lean proteins, and good fats - has certainly played a part.

Do you guys work out? Is this something that you would try, or do you prefer something a little more traditional, like going to the gym?