Healthy Aging Tips from Sit and Be Fit's Mary Ann Wilson RN
Sit and Be Fit TV host, Mary Ann Wilson RN

“Checkout Line” Exercises

By Mary Ann Wilson, RN

Shopping is something we all do as a part of life. Regardless of how organized a shopper you are, statistics show you probably spend anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes a week standing in a checkout line. On the surface this may seem like wasted time. But go a little deeper and the experience becomes a golden opportunity to fit an, easy, mini-exercise session into your busy schedule!

In the Sit and Be Fit “Checkout Line Exercises” blog series we’ve put together some simple, effective, exercises you can use every time you find yourself waiting in a checkout line, or anywhere else for that matter. (To access links to the entire series, click here). In this post we will focus on an easy way to strengthen your abdominals, gluteals and pelvic floor. Read on!

Posture Check

•Distribute your weight equally on the bottom of both feet.
•Soften your knees.
•Stretch your lower back by tipping the tailbone under.
•Adjust your shoulders and head so they’re aligned with the hips. The ribcage should be lifted – giving your lungs plenty of room to expand and breathe.

“Checkout Line” Exercises for strengthening abdominals, glutes, and the pelvic floor

  1. Gradually tighten the abdominal muscles first, then the gluteal muscles, then pull up on the muscles of the pelvic floor. Hold the contraction of these 3 muscle groups, at the same time, for as long as you can. Don’t forget to breathe!
  2. Release the contractions and inhale deeply to the count of 5 allowing your belly to expand like a balloon. Exhale slowly to the count of 8-10. As you exhale, slowly contract (tighten) the abdominal muscles. Release the contraction and take a normal breath.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until it’s time to move forward in the checkout line.
  4. Once you’ve moved forward, start all over. Begin with the Posture Check followed by the “Checkout Line” Exercises for strengthening abdominals, glutes and the pelvic floor.

Why not devote the minutes you spend waiting in the checkout line to this exercise?  Practice at home first so you can memorize the steps.  The movements are so subtle that nobody around you will even be aware you’re exercising. And, as an added benefit, the deep breathing will activate your parasympathetic nervous system so you can finish your shopping trip feeling relaxed and in a great frame of mind!

See you at the supermarket!

Other everyday exercise ideas from our blog library:

Telephone Exercises

Exercises to Get Off the Floor

Exercising at Your Desk

Exercise Tips for Travelers

Exercises For the Holidays

Mary Ann’s Energizer Workout

Jump-Start Your Day

Recommended Sit and Be Fit workouts for improving functional fitness:

Sit and Be Fit Chair Exercise Basics

Sit and Be Fit Season 12

Sit and Be Fit Season 13

Sit and Be Fit Season 14

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