You know, there are ovens in this world that you can preheat from your phone. I think I have one, actually, but I've never bothered to figure out how to do that. So when I come home with my guilty pleasure (take-and-bake pizza!) I have to handle things the old-fashioned way and walk into the kitchen and hit a button. And wait. Oh, the agonizing wait. Whether or not you can watch the temperature display climb, it takes forever for the beep to happen — or probably 10 or 15 minutes, anyway.
What to do with this gift of time that feels more like a penalty (no dinner for an extra quarter-hour?)? Well, you could try undoing some of the damage we all inflict on ourselves by sitting all day long.
What to Do While Your Oven Preheats: Bridges
We all know how bad sitting is for us. Too bad most companies don't provide stand-up desks to their employees. Luckily, those eternal minutes spent waiting for the beep can actually be used to do us a lot of good.
Physical therapist Erika Mundinger suggests bridges as a way to offset some of the havoc sitting wreaks on our bodies. Turns out, they can help reverse the terrible daytime trifecta of inactive glutes, a rounded back, and flexed hips.
How to Do a Bridge
If you have a yoga mat, grab that — or a towel will work. (Really you don't need anything if your floor is spick-and-span, but if it's that clean, forget the exercise and please come to my house.) In case you couldn't tell from the illustration above, you're going to be on the floor for this.
- Lie on your back, hands down at your sides, feet hip distance apart. If you look down, you shouldn't see your feet, Erika says. (Why? That means your legs are spread too wide and you're cheating the exercise. You want to activate the muscles and challenge those glutes!).
- Lift your hips, thinking about pushing down through the center of your feet. (Pushing with your toes can cause your calves to cramp, and if you're digging your heels in it's your hamstrings that may cramp).
- Squeeze your glutes, notice your quads activating, and hold for five seconds.
- Lower slowly — don't just plop down, Erika notes. The key is active lifting and lowering. This not only helps activate our glute muscles, but also helps our spines and hips move into extension, she says.
- When you're starting out, aim for 10 reps, then work your way up to three sets of 10.
By the time you sit down (see, again there we go with the sitting!) to dinner, your hip flexors and back will thank you for that nice little interlude.
Ever stop to think about how much time in the kitchen is wasted waiting? Waiting for coffee to brew, water to boil, the oven to preheat, or people to get to the dinner table all adds up. Meanwhile many of us don't have enough time to work out. Eureka! Why not slide a few key mini-workouts into those lulls? We talked with experts for recommendations on some real-world exercises you can do in the smallest of kitchens with no special equipment needed.