“Checkout Line” Exercises
By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
How often do we find ourselves standing in a checkout line? Because we’re consumers, the answer is, “Probably, a lot”! As a result, statistics show the average American spends anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes, a week, waiting in checkout lines. While this can feel like a waste of time — it doesn’t have to be.
Certainly, I’m always excited when I can turn idle moments into opportunities for mini-workouts. For that reason, I don’t just stand passively in a checkout line. Instead, I practice simple exercises. Because the movements are so subtle, the people around me can’t tell I’m exercising.
In this blog post I’ll share one of my favorite checkout line exercises. It’s one we often integrate into Sit and Be Fit workouts because it is a gentle and effective way to strengthen your abs, glutes, and pelvic floor. Read on!
Begin with a 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 your hips.
- Lift the ribcage to give your lungs plenty of room to expand.
“Checkout Line” Exercise for strengthening the abdominals, glutes, and pelvic floor
- Gradually tighten the abdominal muscles first. Hold the contraction and likewise tighten the gluteal muscles. While continuing to tighten the abdominal and gluteal muscles, pull up on the muscles of the pelvic floor. Hold the contraction of these 3 muscle groups for as long as you can before releasing. Most importantly, don’t forget to breathe throughout the contraction.
- Inhale deeply to the count of 5 and allow your belly to expand like a balloon. Then exhale slowly to the count of 8-10. As you exhale, slowly contract (tighten) the abdominal muscles. Finally, release the contraction and take a normal breath.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 until it’s time to move forward in the checkout line.
- Once you’ve moved forward, start all over. Begin with the posture check followed by steps 1, 2, and 3 above.
Probably you will have greater success if you practice at home first. The body is wired to learn through muscle memory. Hence it doesn’t take long to train it. Consequently you can easily take what you’ve learned and put it to work passing time in the checkout line you can strengthen your abs, core and pelvic floor. Also, as an added benefit, the deep breathing will activate your parasympathetic nervous system . This means you will finish your shopping trip feeling relaxed.