The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Front Page -

I’ve de­cided to walk to work. Start­ing by sit­ting down on the District line, root­ing my feet firmly into the car­riage floor and al­ter­nately re­tract­ing my knees to­wards my hips and en­gag­ing my glutes.

Ac­cord­ing to Luke Wor­thing­ton, an elite trainer and sports sci­en­tist, this move­ment repli­cates the se­quence of mus­cle ac­ti­va­tion in the glute and ham­string that hap­pens when you walk. So, if I man­age to do this for 40 min­utes and 14 stops from east London to the Tele­graph’s of­fices, I’ll have walked 5.5 miles, won’t I?

Wor­thing­ton isn’t con­vinced, but says this ex­er­cise is “great for achy lower back pain, which al­most ev­ery­one seems to com­plain about once in a while”. Now, if only I could find a seat…

When I turned to Wor­thing­ton (who de­scribes in­ac­tiv­ity as the root of all evil) for com­mut­ing fit­ness ad­vice, his first tip was to get off one stop ear­lier. But given that I’m usu­ally run­ning late, I’m loath to make my com­mute last longer.

For­tu­nately, there are plenty of things you can do while on the Tube or bus. Pull-ups, per­haps? “Hmm, not great for ev­ery­one else on the Tube,” says Wor­thing­ton.

Stand­ing on one leg, how­ever, is less in­tru­sive. “A bus or a train is es­sen­tially a vi­brat­ing plat­form, a bit like power plates pop­u­lar in gyms,” says Wor­thing­ton. “It’s a re­ally ex­cel­lent way of build­ing pro­pri­o­cep­tion con­trol. It im­proves the neu­ral feed­back sig­nals from your foot back up to the brain, telling you where your limbs are in space and train­ing you to be more ag­ile.”

Throw in pass­ing my ruck­sack from hand to hand, or around my body, and I’ve got my core pow­ered up, too.

But what I re­ally want is to sit down. Many health ex­perts, in­clud­ing Wor­thing­ton, have de­scribed sit­ting as the new smok­ing. Still, I can­not re­sist the mag­netism of a newly va­cated seat. Tak­ing it, I tell my­self it’s an op­por­tu­nity to work on my tho­racic mo­bil­ity. With­out lean­ing on the back of the seat, I push one shoul­der back and ro­tate through the rib cage as op­posed to waist.

For good mea­sure, I’ve thrown in some calf-raises; press­ing through the ball of my foot and lift­ing my heel. The bag on my lap adds ex­tra weight. Wor­thing­ton warned me that do­ing these ex­er­cises wouldn’t turn me into Jes­sica En­nis-hill, but I would ar­rive at work feel­ing bet­ter, in body and mind.

“When we’re more mo­bile, par­tic­u­larly in the up­per chest, we can breathe bet­ter, which makes us less stressed as it re­duces the build-up of car­bon diox­ide, which sends the brain into a fight-or-flight state,” he ex­plains.

I make a note. Next time I’m jammed into the Tube car­riage at 8am, take those deep breaths.

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