Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining me today for a fitness warm up for your Black Friday shopping. I'm here to help you ease into the day of madness that is the biggest shopping day of this year's holiday season.
Not to worry. You don't have to be a trainer or fitness guru to work this into your routine briefly, for about 10 minutes.
You will be racing from your car to your shopping destination so you'll need to strengthen your legs. Whether you are planning a mad dash to the item you want or plan to wander around to scoop up any of the last minute deals.
As in any fitness routine, warm up is important to avoid pulled muscles. First, grab a chair and put some vibrant music on, or calming classical as the backdrop. Sit on the chair with your hands placed under your thighs, palms down and cross and uncross your legs.
Face the back of the chair and slowly squat down, using the chair for balance, and then stand up. Count to five as you move from standing to squatting and then five to move back to stand up. Do five sets of this.
Lay on your back and place your hands on the small of your back to hold your balance and do the bicycle: a circular motion to the count of five going forwards and then another five going backwards. Repeat five times.
Don't worry if you don't have dumb bells to do this exercise. Grab two sturdy shopping bags that the stores are always trying to tempt you to buy. Place two cans of soup in each bag or a couple of bottles of water.
With your posture straight, head even with your body. -- do not try to put your head in front of your body because that can cause neck strain -- slowly, swing the bags in front of you to as far back as comfortably possible. The idea here is to simulate the motion of shopping bags moving to and fro as you march around the mall or department store.
Similar to a windmill, cross the arms at the elbows, still holding the shopping bags in a smooth motion. Using the count of five to keep your arms steady and not a jerky motion (there will be plenty of time for that tomorrow).
After five repetitions frontally, do the same with the shopping bags behind you to cross the bags at least across the back behind you.
Head and neck
Get into a comfortable, relaxed position, feet firmly planted whether standing or sitting. Gently in a smooth motion, glide your head from the neck up to the left and hold for 5 counts and then repeat to the right and repeat five times. This will avoid neck strain as you are making your way among the aisles looking to and fro to spot the SALE signs.
Get in front of a mirror and smile at yourself. See how good you can get at rehearsing this over and over again, saying "thank you" and "excuse me" out loud. Watch carefully that you don't squint or roll your eyes to avoid hostility from cashiers, shop clerks and other patrons shopping. People are much more patient if you are smiling and thanking them or asking for forgiveness on nudging ahead to grab the last box when you say "excuse me".
For those who will graduate to Cyber Monday for those online shopping steals, you should have the right posture. Ensure your chair has the right height to allow your feet to be planted firmly on the floor and try to keep your elbows more to side, to avoid hunching over and causing back or neck strain.
As with any event that is to be enjoyed, there are a couple of warnings and cautions to consider.
Don't take along a husband or boyfriend for anything other than carrying bags. You don't want someone nagging at the expense to get you off your momentum. Note, an exception to this would also be if that person is happily paying for everything and carrying all.
Avoid walking and eyeing your smartphone or texting to avoid crashing into someone or something that could cause injury to self, to others or to ego (risk of someone going ballistic on you for not watching where you are going.)
And a few other tips
Make sure you wear really comfortable footwear for making the rounds. This will avoid tired legs and sore feet.
Have a couple of large, sturdy shopping bags to take with you to store the smaller packages, evenly distributing the weight by alternating packages into each shopping bag. It is a good idea to host your wallet and bottled water in said shopping bags to keep yourself hydrated and nourished. There are ones with inner side pockets to store your wallet, lipstick and cellphone.
Avoid placing bags on your shoulders to minimize shoulder and neck strain. If you've done your warm up exercises, you should be pumped not just from the deals.
Don't sign up for mailing lists or give your email or phone number to the nice cashier who asks unless you want it to be known what your buying habits are or to receive other emails tempting you to buy other deals for the next year.
Or, sign up if there are incentives or loyalty rewards. That is the only time I will give my information to anyone, when there is a benefit for me, not the other way around.
Have a budget in mind for the day. Create a spreadsheet on what you plan on buying and where and for whom to avoid overspending. Don't forget to designate cash, debit card, and credit cards.
Depending on whether you think you have blown it, you can go back and check to see how well you did. If you have money left over, you are all ready for Cyber Monday for the deals to be had only online. (Please refer to sitting posture for computer). Keep this for next year, as a benchmark for improvement.