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Saint Peter’s Better Health

Sponsored by Saint Peter’s Healthcare System

Regular physical activity and healthy home cooking are two of the best things for the human body. But how can we find more time for both? Combine them! With these cook-friendly exercises, squeeze in some extra activity while waiting for the veggies to steam.

Soup-can arm raises

  • Grab two cans of soup (or use 2- to 5-pound bags of dried beans or rice).
  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Bend your elbows and hold the cans up and at your sides, a little above shoulder height. Keep your palms facing forward.
  • Slowly press both arms upward.
  • Slowly return your arms to their starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Rest. Then do another set.

Milk-jug squats

  • Grab a full jug of milk (or fill an empty jug with water).
  • Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold the milk jug a few inches in front of your chest, using both hands.
  • Bend your hips and knees as if to sit down in a chair.
  • Press your feet into the ground to stand up again.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Rest. Then do another set.

Kitchen-sink calf raises

  • Stand in front of the sink with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold on to the sink for balance, if needed.
  • Slowly raise up onto your tiptoes as high as possible.
  • Slowly lower your heels to the floor.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Rest. Then do another set.

Towel stretch for two

  • Sit on the floor with your legs stretched in front of you and your feet flexed. Ask a partner to sit the same way, facing you with the soles of your feet together.
  • Grasp one end of a towel and give your partner the other end. If one towel feels too short, tie t  2 together.
  • Slowly pull the towel toward you as your partner bends forward and you lean back. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Return to sitting upright.
  • Do the same thing with you bending forward and your partner leaning back.
  • Repeat 3 to 5 times.

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Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2021
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