Get fit on the go

Back to work af­ter the hol­i­days and no time to ex­er­cise? Turn your time on pub­lic trans­port into a train­ing ses­sion with six easy moves

Health & Fitness - - Contents -

Boost your fit­ness while you travel on pub­lic trans­port.

Tap­ping into your daily com­mute is a great way to find time to train and get some­thing out of trav­el­ling to work. Stud­ies show the av­er­age commuter spends around 54 min­utes a day trav­el­ling so, if you’re stuck on the train or bus, mak­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence more ac­tive is a great way to bust bore­dom as well as com­pen­sate for missed gym ap­point­ments. ‘It’s easy to fit car­dio and mus­cle ton­ing into your daily sched­ule,’ says Savio Los, Lon­don PT and co-founder of Lon­don Fit­ness Tour (lon­don­fit­ness­ Can’t cy­cle or run to work? Try these ex­pert fit­ness tricks and tips while you travel.


Hold­ing onto an over­head strap on a crowded tube? Wait­ing for the prover­bial three buses in a row to turn up? Iso­met­ric ex­er­cises will help you tone up, what­ever pub­lic trans­port is do­ing. ‘Iso­met­ric ex­er­cise – a type of strength train­ing in which the joint an­gle and mus­cle length do not change dur­ing con­trac­tion – can strengthen mus­cles, shed fat and tone your body by fo­cus­ing on spe­cific mus­cles, even when you’re not mov­ing,’ says Los. ‘Most core-con­di­tion­ing ex­er­cises, yoga pos­tures and Pi­lates ex­er­cises are iso­met­ric.’ Stand­ing still, open up your shoul­ders, straighten your legs, con­tract your butt and abs for at least 15 sec­onds, then re­lease and con­tract again. You can use iso­met­ric ex­er­cises to work your arms as well if you’re hold­ing a bar or strap on the tube or bus. Tense your the mus­cles in your arm for 15 sec­onds, then change hands and re­peat on the other side, al­ways while con­tract­ing the rest of your body as well.


‘Max­imis­ing two of the most ba­sic ac­tions – breath­ing and walk­ing – will help get you into shape while you travel,’ says Los. When walk­ing to the sta­tion or go­ing from one meet­ing to the next, in­crease your step speed, then en­hance the ben­e­fits by com­bin­ing a dou­ble breath­ing tech­nique with mus­cle con­trac­tions. ‘The Lon­don Walk is all about us­ing your di­aphragm cor­rectly when you breathe – not only does this work your abs, it al­lows a much larger quan­tity of oxy­gen into your lungs, which con­trib­utes to your gen­eral health and well­be­ing,’ adds Los. ‘The first step is to be­come con­scious about how you breathe, then start breath­ing into your belly. Next, use a dou­ble breath­ing tech­nique while you walk and let your breath­ing guide your pace. Breathe in with your nose twice and breathe out with your mouth twice and, as you do so, feel your abs and con­tract them for an in­cred­i­bly ef­fec­tive abs work­out.’


Im­prov­ing your core sta­bil­ity and bal­ance is es­sen­tial for boost­ing your gen­eral fit­ness and re­duc­ing your risk of in­jury, says Al­fie Wren, elite trainer at Third Space health club (thirdspace.lon­don). ‘The aim of this game is to try to stand for your en­tire tube jour­ney without hold­ing onto any of the rails, us­ing the stops as rest pe­ri­ods. Stand with your feet in a wide stance to give your­self a big­ger base (more sta­bil­ity) and en­gage your core while stay­ing re­laxed. Al­low your body to self-ad­just while the train bucks and weaves. Want to make it harder? Bring your feet closer to­gether to re­duce your sta­bil­ity. Do this and you’ll be run­ning faster and lift­ing heav­ier in no time.’


Use the 65 per cent gra­di­ent of stairs to your ad­van­tage. Run­ning up them will have you out of puff in no time, and sta­biliser mus­cles such as your glu­teus medius (in your butt) have to work hard while you’re on one leg.

If there are too many peo­ple around to al­low you to run, sim­ply vary the way you walk up stairs. ‘You can work your thighs or calves,’ says Los. ‘Al­ter­nate be­tween these two ex­er­cises to get your dream legs: walk on your toes to work your calves and butt – place your foot on the edge of the step and push your­self up with your calf. Or take two steps at a time to boost thigh strength and up the car­dio work­out.’


‘Con­tract­ing your but­tocks when walk­ing will help you tone them up, but it’ll also make you walk faster,’ says Los. Start by step­ping for­wards with your right leg and fo­cus on your left leg. As you ex­tend your right leg, con­tract your left cheek at the same time. This will also make you ro­tate your hips and walk in a much more con­fi­dent way, apart from in­creas­ing your speed. Re­peat the same with your right side. Al­ter­nate the butt con­trac­tion 20 times, then re­lax and keep walk­ing. ‘Com­bine this with the dou­ble breath­ing tech­nique so you si­mul­ta­ne­ously tone your abs and your butt,’ adds Los.


If you travel to or from work out­side the main rush hour and are feel­ing brave, you could try a less sub­tle ex­er­cise that may turn a few heads! Na­tional wrestling cham­pion and owner of Right Path Fit­ness (right­path­fit­ Kevin McNiven rec­om­mends this cheeky wall squat move for a qui­eter com­mute. ‘Stand with your head and back against a wall and feet shoul­der-width apart. Step your feet out un­til they’re about 45cm from the wall, keep­ing your arms by your sides. Lower your body into a squat un­til your thighs are par­al­lel to the floor. Hold this po­si­tion for as long as you can. Do two to three sets, with 30 sec­onds’ rest be­tween.’

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