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Mass-transit maneuvers

Even if you can't bike or walk to work, you can get exercise while commuting

Jenny Hein and Brigette Langmade Polmar of SqueezeItIn.com demonstrate three exercises commuters can do while riding the Metro.
Thursday, October 7, 2010

There are commutes that are walkable, commutes that are runnable, commutes that are bikeable -- and then there's my commute: 40 miles each way from Baltimore to downtown Washington. According to Google Maps, by bike that would take about five hours, and by foot, 13. Instead, I ride the MARC train to Union Station, then hop on Metro's Red Line to get to The Post. It takes about an hour and a half.

Just because there aren't plans to install gym cars with exercise equipment instead of cramped seats (which would be awesome, by the way), there's no reason for me to slump through a ride.

So I called Jenny Hein and Brigette Polmar, the Northern Virginia moms behind Squeezeitin.com, a site with the motto "Let life be your workout." When I wrote about them last summer, they focused on fitting fitness into household tasks. They're also creative about coming up with ways to work out on your way to work. "You just have to look at your surroundings differently," says Hein.

If you're squished into a seat:

· No one will notice if you give your abs or rear end a squeeze. Or twist your waist to one side, pretend you're straining to read the map, and tighten those obliques.

· Try lifting your feet slightly off the ground and pumping your legs together. Then lean back, raise your feet higher and tap up and down for a kind of crunch.

If you're standing by a pole:

· Get a grip and lift up on your toes to perform calf raises.

· Take one foot off the ground and pulse the leg inward and then outward. Try not to kick anyone.

If you're waiting on the platform:

· Don't just stand there! See how many times you can pace back and forth; speed up when the train comes.

· Head to one end to find a bench of your own, where you can do triceps dips.

-- V.H.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company