Hi, I'm Casey, and I do not work out. And, frankly, I think people who “love” working out are lying anyway... at least that's what I tell myself as I order Seamless and add expensive clothing items to an online shopping cart I have no intention of checking out. I have come to accept that I'm not the person who has it in me get up at 5 am to ride a bike going nowhere. I like yoga, but not enough to schedule my life around it. IMHO, gyms are gross and pointless (unless there's a pool) and running on my own just seems like a very sweaty way to listen to music. Realistically, I'm just the kind of girl who's looking for exercises to do while sitting down.
FOR THE RECORD: I DO LOVE WORKOUT CLOTHES. And I am tired of feeling like a fraud wearing them to do my daily errands, like going out to eat and walking to and from the mailbox.
So here I sit, eating a bag of Lays potato chips, in my expensive gym clothes, on my couch, finishing GLOW. I'm hooked on GLOW. It happens to us all. We start a show on Netflix and then can think of nothing else until said show is finished. I once spent two weeks in my house because of Friday Night Lights. I barely even ate or slept, choosing instead to sit on my couch, crying and imagining a life where I am Mrs. Tim Riggins. ('Twas a good life. An honest life.)
I guess what I'm trying to say is it's clear I have plenty of free time I could be using to work out, but spending said free time that way just doesn't sound as good as watching lady wrestlers, while licking salty chip remnants off my fingertips because I don't even want to get off the couch to get a paper towel. (I'm probably out of paper towels anyway.)
Where does that leave me? Sitting on my ass in comfort is where. But there are a few small things that I do whilst vegging that are my kind of “workout.” And, for those of you who don't believe me, Nike Master Trainer and author of LIFTED Holly Rilinger backs me up, "Any movement is better than no movement. Even contracting muscles while you're sitting is beneficial (these are called isometric holds)."
So, for all my lazy ladies out there who can't even, I hear you, and I'm with you. These are for us: the exercises you don't have to get off your couch to do. These are workouts you can even manage while you're six episodes deep into a show where women exercising is half the plot.
The Classic Full-Body Stretch Out
Stretching is obviously important so I would't want to skip this step. I also don't want your roommate to think that just because you're doing weird movements on the couch, you aren't watching the TV. So stretch out and take up the whole damn couch. This is you time.
Plus your roommate talks too much and you are watching your stories. So drape your body over the whole thing and reach your heels out as far as you can while reaching your arms up over your head. This feels incredible and also says, “I am in control of the living room for a while.”
When people in your life tell you stretching is not enough, tell them what you read in the Harvard Health Letter, "Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way." Now, you don't want to be weak and unable to extend all the way, do you?
The Insta Stalk And Spite
Even if I'm zeroed into a show, I'm still human and am aware that my phone is just a few feet away and that I can stroll through other people's lives if I wanted to. So I do. Eventually (as this happens regularly), I get upset about people's seemingly perfect lives and perfect relationships. Down and down and down I go until I am infuriated. It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile SO by that logic, this is a workout! Spite on! There are 43 muscles in the face and only six in your stomach so I'd say you are doing some great work.
Oh, she's in Paris AGAIN...
Oh, they got a puppy together...
I bet that looks better than it actually tastes...
Whoa, he moved on fast...
How did her stock photo of a flower get more likes than my selfie...
At the very least, "Facial Aerobics" is apparently a thing, so at least you'll be gearing yourself up for that.
The Angry Pillow Punches
Following the Instagram spiral workout you just did, and the pent-up anger you must inevitably feel because of it, you're probably looking for a way to expend some of that social-media-related stress.
My suggestion? Do rapid punches into a couch cushion. You can go full-blown boxer style straight while punching into the back cushions, or you can punch the cushions you're sitting on with a vertical punch in what I like to call “meltdown” punching. “Throwing a fit” punching also works.
There really isn't a way to get this wrong. On top of getting your heart rate up, you're also relieving all of the stress in your body. So this exercise is two for the price of one. And if your pillows look good afterward, that's just another perk to throw on the pile.
The Suck-It Move
There are plenty of instances in my life where I end up saying, or even telling people to, "suck it." Sure, most people don't know how to feel about that kind of order, but what they don't realize is that sucking in your stomach for long periods of time can help your body!
I had a bad lower back for many years and I would walk around all day sucking in my stomach because it actually flexes the muscles, and it strengthened my lower back. So sit up tall on the couch, straighten up and suck, suck, suck. If you suck for an entire episode of a show, I swear you'll feel it!
Of course, as with everything, only suck, suck, suck in moderation to avoid other types of lower back pain. But improving your posture can only improve your life.
Ah yes, the "I'm-going-to-get-up-no-wait-I'm-not." This is a classic move for when you're going to get up and be productive but another episode just started and it's only 44 more minutes!
These can be done two ways to work different areas. The first: Start by lying on your back with your arms stretched over your head. Then lift up your lower and upper body until you're touching your toes in the air. I find saying “Hi-ya,” like I'm doing a karate chop makes this move more exciting.
The second: Literally, get off the couch, stand up, and sit back down. Not this time Sunday! I am not being fooled that I have to leave the house on this day ever again!
Look at that core engagement!
The Arm Dips With Optional Dip Included
With your arms on the arms of the couch, you, too, can do dips like these!
With your back to the side of the couch, reach your hands around so your palms are on the arm of the couch and slowly lower yourself down as far as you want.
You can switch it up by extending a leg or crossing one over and then holding the position. This will build up your strength as well as reduce injury risks.
Don't forget to then let yourself fall over the arm of the couch after in an exasperated stretch.
I don't want to brag but I just did five of these for the pictures and I already see definition. Werk!
Welcome to No Sweat: an exhausted girl's guide to squeezing in fitness. This content package is for the woman who wants to find an exercise routine that doesn't feel like a chore. No Sweat isn't changing the shape of your body; it's about feeling stronger, happier, and more energetic. Because working out doesn't mean you have to break a sweat.