June 01, 2009

Six Things to Do For Your Health While Waiting Around

So there's a new site for women called Lemondrop, and I got recently got a friendly email about it. On discovering it was backed by AOL, a mainstream media conglomerate, I figured, well... hmm. They've no doubt got lots of information, but it's probably all wholesome and cheerful and cautiously corporate, right? After all, when greeting a new enterprise or situation, Crabby McSlacker is not generally known for her soaring optimism.

But I wandered over anyway to see if there there were any any ideas for blog posts I could steal breaking health news items I should alert folks to... and guess what?

It's fun! They include plenty of snark, sleaze, and "real life" along with the usual beauty and fashion and lifestyle and entertainment stuff. A couple posts that caught my eye: "My 'Thing' for Asians (and Why It's Not As Creepy As It Sounds)" and "FaceBook Friends Who Suck."

And, bonus: while I was over there poking around anyway, I did indeed find a blog post idea to steal! It was: Six Brilliant Things to Do While You're On Hold Or Waiting In Line. Which I thought was a great concept, because who doesn't hate wasting time while you're on hold or waiting in line? Well, unless you really enjoy hearing that eight repetition of the Muzak'ed version of Van Morrisons's "Moondance."

Fortunately for me, the Lemondrop suggestions weren't specific to health. (One, for example: "Write catch-up e-mails to long-lost roommates and neglected relatives.") So I feel almost justified in re-purposing the concept for Cranky Fitness, because we're a health and fitness blog! Er... sometimes.

As usual I'm sure you all can come up with better health tips than mine for when you're stuck waiting for something--that's why I love the comment section! But here are a few to start with:

1. Work on balance training. Our pal Mizfit had an informative and very depressing post on how to test your balance. And, well, judging by my results, I should not be permitted outdoors unless I am wearing body padding and a crash helmet.

So, depending on how much privacy you have or how much you give a crap what other people think of you: close your eyes, raise one leg off the ground, and start teetering!

Bonus points if you grab your ankle behind you like this shirtless man is doing. Then you can get credit for a quad stretch as well as balance training!

2. Practice your deep breathing. You can lower your blood pressure, decrease stress, and trigger your body's "relaxation response." Formulations vary for how many counts to breathe in, hold, and breathe out, or whether to even count at all. (Here's one guide to deep breathing; Dr. Weil has other advice. Just google and you can find one you like. I personally like to inhale longer than most experts suggest, so rather than take the hint I just kept looking until I found guidelines I liked better.)

3. Stretch! Again, if no one's watching or you don't care: try some side stretches, or quad stretches, or maybe bend down straight-legged and touch your toes for a hamstring stretch--if you don't have back problems. If you do, this might aggravate them. It's the old fashioned way to do a hamstring stretch but it's also the least conspicuous as you can pretend you're tying your shoes. Other possibilities: neck stretches, calf stretches or shoulder stretches. Heck, loosen up whatever seems tight. (Unless it's a coworker, in which case discretion is advised).

4. Strength train! You can do calf raises, squats or lunges,and if you have a hands-free phone, maybe even push-ups, jumping jacks, or burpees. (But if you don't have a private office or if you're standing in line at the bank, these may get you a few funny looks.) If you are in public and don't want to make a spectacle of yourself, you may feel more comfortable contracting your abs, working on your posture to correct that slouch, or doing kegels.

5. Plan healthy things! Could be meal planning for the week, grocery lists, when/where/what you'll do for exercise... often having a firm plan in mind keeps you from reaching the end of the week in an unexercised state because there was never "a good time", or from wandering the grocery store aisles in a dazed state and mysteriously ending up with a bunch of ice cream and power bars and frozen dinners in your basket but no ingredients for a healthy meal.

6. Go through the archives of Cranky Fitness for some more health tips! Yes, if you've got a computer or other web browser handy, just gradually make your way back, one post at a time, to when we first started the blog! Which as I recall was sometime in the Eighteenth Century. Gosh it was tough; we wrote our first posts by candlelight with quill pens and had them delivered by Pony Express.

(Some of our old favorites: "New miracle cure for scurvy: it's fruit! Orange you glad we didn't say castor oil?" And of course: "Scour Your Socks, Prevent the Pox!" Or who can forget: "Don't You Hate it When Your Bodily Humours are Out of Balance? Leeches Leave us Speechless!")

Ah, good times.

Townsfolk eagerly awaiting arrival of the
latest "Crankey Fitness" Dispatch
bill barber)

So what do you folks do to make use of wasted time on hold or waiting in line?


  1. Go through the archives of Cranky Fitness for some more health tips!

    Because we all know (waitforit) LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE.

    You make me giggle. Thanks for the shoutout and please to snap a photo of you in your bodypadding and crash helmet.
    Methinks I should most likely be donning the same.

  2. If I'm standing in line I shift my weight consistently between both feet as I don't have a laptop etc. If I'm sitting at an office waiting for my turn, I tend to close my eyes and relax, I don't get enough sleep EVER so it's as good as time as any.

  3. Excellent tips today Crabby. I find that I can sneak some stretches in by doing the re-tying the shoes trick. That's either bring the shoes up to you while standing or drop down and tie them at the floor. Makes good use of the hamstring and doesn't bring immediate attention to this odd behavior.

    Oh and love the leeches.

  4. Love them all..... usually I dream about how I want to be in Hawaii, what else is new! :-) BUT, I do think about the next days workout & start making a plan of attack OR maybe butt squeezes (at this age, they just don't want to stay up) is a good thing OR I think about what I have to do the rest of the day to get what I want accomplished. All in all, I rather think about Hawaii!!!

  5. Excellent tips, but I do not deep breath in public. I think it's icky.
    I let my mind wander. On good days it gets back in time for me to deal with whatever I've been waiting for.

  6. LOL!! When I lived in the northeast for school, I remember being in lines for way too long! I used to plan on what I would do with my "wasted time!" I developed patience! Do you know the reward of patience? I bet you do :-)

  7. Hilarious post! And anything to take my mind of the fact that there are only two tellers on duty at month end!

  8. Work disabled the browser on our crackberries, so I guess I'll have to stick with the Kegels :)

  9. I carry around a book with me to read while I wait for stuff.

    I also pace around when I'm on the phone.

  10. You mean what do we do AFTER we're done cursing about the fact we're on hold yet again???

    NEUROBICS, of course.

  11. Great post, Crabby!
    If I'm on hold while I'm at home, I'll put it on speaker phone and do housework. (Probably about the only time I ever get around to dusting the top of the china cabinet....)

    Love the photo of the folks waiting around for the Cranky Fitness dispatch - looks like they are either clapping, or swatting mosquitoes.... after our weekend encounters of the bloodsucking kind, that was the first thought that popped into my head!

  12. Candlelight? Quill pens? Crabby, have you forgotten when it used to be writing the blog with papyrus and hieroglyphics? And hierogly-pics as well -- it was such a pain trying to get those LOLcats to fit in the picture sideways. Ah, the old days.

  13. I'm a big fan of the deep breathing. I can also be entertained for quite some time seeing how few breaths I can take in a minute. Probably I'll keep playing that game until one day I pass out (I'll keep the old smelling salts on hand just in case).

  14. I'm on board with the deep breathing thing. I rarely remember to do it, but when I do I notice an immediate (though slight) difference.

    It's a great "on hold" exercise, though, as it may keep you from verbally decapitating the idiot who left you on hold for the last nine minutes.

  15. I usually do some planning for the day. :) Or the coming day. Thanks for the great tips.

  16. Deep breathing waiting in the doctor's office - really brings down the blood pressure reading! Bonus points off the numbers if you also remember not to cross your legs (I read somewhere that that raises your blood pressure & at leaset for me it appears to be true!).

    Another non-embarrassing way to bide time in public is to do your kegels.

  17. You've been spying on me, right? Because I stand in check out lines doing balance and calf-raises and other fun things.

    I, too, completely failed the balance test, yet I haven't injured myself eating lunch in weeks!

    Must go do my Monday morning phone calls... and hit up your archives while I'm waiting.

  18. Deep breathing has gotten me into trouble as that's precisely the time whoever I've been holding for picks up, hears the heavy breathing and becomes offended/harrassed/insulted/inappropriately turned on during work hours and promptly hangs up on me. Perhaps I should work on my timing.

  19. great post! often, in line, I do a time-step from my tapdancing days. I look odd, I am sure, but I care not.

  20. I try and remember to stand up straight and hold in my abs while I'm standing in line...I like the suggestions in your post! And the Lemondrop site is interesting - thanks for posting it!

  21. Hmmm... I paint my toenails. Although generally any "free" time I have is spent shrieking at my children to stop touching stuff (if we're in line) or to stop yelling at me (if I'm on the phone). But you must excuse me now because I have to read the Facebook Friends That Suck article!!

  22. When I'm waiting or on the phone, I actually do march in place/step from side to side, and damn whoever stares in bewilderment :)

    It just occurred to me how really funny that is. For the love of health!

  23. When I'm standing in line, I think of all the time I've wasted standing in lines.

  24. I love it-Facebook friends who suck! Hehe! I thought you would never post this blog. I mean who doesn't get put on hold until they give up after a half hour, then have to phone back later and start all over again. I know a teacher who uses balancing as one of her primary warm-up excerises. Your sense of humor kills me!

  25. Hi Crabby,

    Great tips. Coincidental with your mention of Miz Fits balance post. I was babysitting today for my two youngest grandkids and the older of the two (she'll be three in September) was doing the balance on one foot thing when I got there.

    so, after "grandma, look at me" came "can you do this, grandma?"

    Suffice to say that the two year old can balance forever. the grandma can only keep up with those balances one decade up!


  26. All the men need to close their eyes for this one. No peaking! :)
    Ladies, arn't we all meant to be doing our pelvic floor exercises in our idle time? Oops, me neither, I always forget too.

  27. Great list. I have to improve on #2 and especially #3 thanks for the reminder. another great post as usual.

  28. I try and do the balance work when I'm in line at the grocery store. As my balance is not good, I have the cart to hold on to if I start to fall over. Sometimes I deep breathe instead. Especially when the person in front of me is taking an annoyingly long time to pay for their groceries.

    But no way am I going to touch my toes in line... to much rear end exposure for my taste!

  29. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZb_BPJsqBs



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