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?

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