MTA Strike Fitness Tips From New York Sports Clubs

Dec 22, 2005, 00:00 ET from New York Sports Clubs

    NEW YORK, Dec. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- A subway and bus strike can wreak havoc
 not only on your daily commute but your body as well. For those who are now
 finding themselves walking, biking and even rollerblading their way to work,
 these tips will ensure you arrive at your desk, safe, healthy, warm ... and a
 little fitter!  No strike is fun for anybody, but you may find yourself
 enjoying the added health benefits and incorporate walking and biking into
 your daily commute once the busses and trains are up and running again!
     Brave The Elements, What To Wear:
     One word to remember -- Synthetic! Any fabric made of polyester, nylon,
 spandex, lycra will wick moisture away from the body and keep you dry and
 warm. Be sure to use this as your base layer(s). And the good news ...  it
 won't wrinkle by the time you get to the office. A second layer of wool or
 fleece will give added warmth.
     Because we lose 75% of our body heat through the head, wearing a hat is a
 must. Wool and fleece are the best options. You can also add ear warmers under
 the hat for extra warmth. Layer gloves using a synthetic liner close to the
 skin and preferably a wind blocking or ski glove on top.
     Foot Soldiers:
     Proper footwear and socks will make the long trek or ride through the city
 much more tolerable. Sneakers or rubber-soled shoes with extra support will
 guarantee you arrive at the office blister free. Wool socks are the way to go
 (again, think wicking moisture away from the body)
     Added Warmth:
     Pick up disposable hand and foot warmers at any drugstore. Place them in
 your gloves and shoes to keep you toasty warm.
     Pack A Snack:
     You'll be burning more calories and need extra energy. Pack a banana,
 apple, dried fruit or energy bar. Cold weather speeds up your metabolism and
 you'll need to replenish the body.
     Before You Head Out, Stretch:
     Your muscles might not be used to the added stress of a walking or biking
 commute, so you'll need to before you make the trek to work. *** For the
 calves, kneel on all fours and lift your backside in the air, straightening
 the arms, knees slightly bent. Press one heel at a time into the floor and
 hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side. ***For the shins, stand on a
 step and drop the right foot off the edge with the toe up against the step.
 Bend the right leg and gently push the instep forward. Hold for 10 seconds and
 repeat on the other side. ***for the quads -- kneel on left knee with the
 right foot planted on the floor a few feet in front of you. Lean forward until
 you feel a gentle stretch in the front of the left leg. Hold for 10 seconds
 and repeat on the other side.
     Balanced Body:
     If you're carrying a heavy bag, try to balance the load by dividing it
 into two smaller bags.  Carrying all the weight on one side can lead to
 imbalances that can cause neck, shoulder and back pain.
     Lazy Man's Shower:
     To refresh before you start work, stash a pack of baby wipes or disposable
 towelettes for a quick and easy clean up.
     Stress Reduction:
     Once you arrive at work, take a few minutes to release the stresses of
 your commute. Sit quietly at your desk with no distractions. Take 10 deep
 breaths. On each exhale, try to let go of any tension that may have built up.
 *** Stand with feet shoulder width apart, hands above your head, right hand
 grasping the left wrist. On the exhale, gently lean to the right lifting up
 and over with hands.
     Pick Up The Pace:
     Not only will this help reduce stress, it adds a healthy bonus of
 strengthening the heart and burning calories!
     Water, Water, Water:
     Be sure to carry a small water bottle and drink often. Dehydrating adds to
 a colder body temperature and fatigue. Drink water on your way and you'll
 arrive at work ready to take on the day's challenges.
     Awareness Counts:
     If you chose to use an iPod to pass the time, be sure to keep the volume
 low to avoid dangerous distractions. Other commuters could be biking or
 rollerblading passed you. Not to mention cars, cabs and trucks will still be
 sharing the road. Safety is number one. Better yet, leave the music at home
 and talk to other New Yorkers sharing the strike stress. You never know who
 you might meet!

SOURCE New York Sports Clubs