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The Commuter’s Workout

by Ryan Halvorson on Jan 11, 2011

Making News

According to the American Public Transportation Association, Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008. While many riders snooze or catch up on reading en route, a commute can also offer an opportunity to improve physical activity levels.

Do you regularly use public transportation? Try the following suggestions from 2007 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year Fred Hoffman, MEd, on how to keep fit while commuting:

On the Station Platform

  • Perform triceps dips from the front edge of a bench while waiting for the subway.
  • If standing, perform heel raises with a “balance” hold. You can also do small-range-of-motion squats without attracting attention.
  • Instead of standing in place, walk back and forth along the platform until the train arrives.

    In the Subway or Metro Car

  • Remain standing throughout the commute. During the ride you will endure turns, bumps, accelerations and decelerations that will enhance your balance and engage the core. If possible, and if safe to do so, don’t hold onto anything or anyone.
  • If you are in a subway or metro where cars are easily accessible, walk the length several times. Don’t walk from car to car if there is a risk of falling onto the tracks.
  • Going to and Leaving the Station

  • Speed-walk to and from the station.
  • Take the stairs down and up instead of using escalators or elevators. For an added challenge, take two stairs at a time.
  • Create an “obstacle course” and zigzag around people who are walking at a different pace.

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About the Author

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson IDEA Author/Presenter

Ryan Halvorson is the chief content officer for Fit Scribe Media (; contributing editor for IDEA Health & Fitness Association; director of group training at Bird Rock Fit in La Jolla, CA; a Master Instructor for Metabolic Effect and the creator of, a lifestyle organization dedicated to finding ways to achieve improved fitness, nutrition and healthy living habits in 30 minutes or less. He is an internationally recognized speaker and has written for publications such as DETAILS and GQ.