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All This and Coffee Too!

All This and Coffee Too!

Life is so full of things to do that it sometimes seems impossible to find time to exercise. But what if we thought about exercise a little more expansively — not just as trips to the gym with getting dressed, warming up, working out, cooling down, showering and so on. What if we also thought about getting exercise as finding ways to increase movement during the day WHILE we are doing all those important chores?

24 Front Kicks = 30 seconds

Wrinkling your eyebrows? Let me illustrate with something I do every day – making cappuccino for lunch.

I found myself getting really bored watching the second hand on the kitchen timer for 30 seconds while I ground my coffee. Then I figured out that it takes me approximately 30 seconds to do 12 high kicks with each leg. Voilà! I’ve invented a new coffee-grinding timer that gets my heart pumping faster. I put the coffee in the grinder, press down on the lid, and kick 12 times with my right leg, 12 times with my left leg, trying to kick as fast and high as possible. When I’m done, the coffee is ready to go in the machine.

While the milk steams, my balance improves

Steaming the milk used to be almost as boring as timing the coffee grinding. But now I’ve started doing single leg squats – not very deep – first with my right leg while I steam my milk, then with my left leg while I steam my husband’s milk. My doctor suggested this exercise to increase balance. I just stand on one leg and bend my knee as far as I can and still stay upright. So while my milk steams, my balance improves.

Sometimes I’ll switch to calf raises or stretches while the milk steams, just to get a little variety (and hit another leg on the solid exercise program).

Want more ideas like these?  See Exercise on Company Time on p. 192 and A Solid Exercise Program Has Four Legs on p. 200 of our book.

High kick courtesy of doctano
Microfoam courtesy of ahemler

  • Terrykosowick

    Great idea! (The front kicks) But, I would be concerned that, without some kind of warm up, I would throw my back out – which would clearly hinder any aditional exercise for a while.

  • That’s a great concern to have, Terry! Very glad that you open up this discussion!

    I would definitely recommend staying within your comfort zone in terms of range of motion when you are not warmed up. For some person, that may mean kicking at knee height. Kathryn, my co-author on the book and the author of this post, happens to have pretty flexible hamstrings, so she can comfortably go higher.

    And remember that kicking is just one idea. You may prefer to do calf raises, squats, neck stretches, hip rotations – whatever feels adequate to you.


MJ Shaar – in 20 seconds

MJ is one of the most sought-after experts blending positive psychology and health promotion. She spent over 15 years coaching, teaching, speaking, researching and testing smart health habits. Marie-Josée Shaar received her undergrad at McGill University in Organizational Behavior, followed by a Master of Applied Positive Psychology at University of Pennsylvania. She's certified as a Wellness Culture Coach, a Personal Trainer, and a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant.

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