Fitness and exercise, while great for your overall health, can sometimes be difficult to fit into your day. If you’re looking to move more without feeling like you’re exerting yourself, here are ten ways to get more movement into your day
breaking much of a sweat.
1) Take the stairs
According to The Center for Disease Control, 75% of people age 20 and older don’t get enough physical activity. One way you can get more movement into your day is by taking advantage of opportunities for light activity that come up throughout your day. Take the stairs instead of an elevator; park in a spot that’s just a little farther away from your destination so you can walk a bit further; take breaks during conference calls or while reading articles at work to stand up and stretch. In fact, several studies have shown it takes less than 10 minutes per day on average to reap benefits—it all adds up! And if you need inspiration, check out these tips below.
2) Go for a walk at lunch
Even though you’re trying to lose weight, it doesn’t mean you can never skip your lunch break in favor of catching up on email. Even so, a study published in The International Journal of Obesity found that people who took a 45-minute stroll during their lunch hour lost more weight than those who didn’t. Why? Taking a walk revs up your metabolism and can make you more productive throughout your workday. Aim for 10,000 steps each day (about five miles) if you want to see results. If walking isn’t an option, even a quick sprint around your office once or twice will do wonders. Don’t have time for all that exercise?
3) Park further away
Parking further away from your destination is a great way to get more movement into your day. Walking just 100 steps after you park can burn an extra five calories, giving you an extra jolt of energy when you walk into work. If it’s not feasible for you to park further away at work or in front of your house, get in some additional movement before or after walking by taking one lap around your block. Once done, head inside and enjoy that cup of coffee with a smile knowing that all that walking has added up!
4) Start your car farther from the door
Studies show that people are much more likely to meet their recommended levels of activity if they take a 10-minute walk during their lunch break. So, start your car farther from your office door. You’ll walk a bit more and get some fresh air as you run mundane errands in between work projects. If you can’t fit a real walk into your schedule, set an alarm on your smartphone as a reminder to take regular breaks from emailing and phone calls, even if it’s just for five minutes at a time. It will help prevent eye strain and burnout.
5) Walk with your dog at home
Take your dog on a walk around your block or up and down a staircase. For extra benefit, take your pooch on short trips with you while running errands. You’ll get some added exercise and spend quality time together. If you don’t have a dog, you can still fit in movement throughout your day: Park at the far end of the parking lot when running errands; opt for taking stairs instead of an elevator or escalator whenever possible, and aim for 10,000 steps daily. With these fun, easy activities, there is no reason not to add more activity to your day!
6) Take it slow when going up escalators
A new study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that standing on escalators burns an average of 30% more calories than walking up escalators. Based on a typical pace of 100 steps per minute, you can burn up to 144 additional calories per hour by standing rather than walking. Considering it takes 3,500 excess calories to gain one pound, every little bit helps! Taking that extra time to stand may also result in burning more calories when going downstairs (although any additional calorie burn here is likely negligible). The best part about all of these fun ways? They don’t require you to change your usual routine—you just have to be cognizant of how much movement you do get throughout your day.
7) Use your legs more often on public transportation
Take public transportation (buses, trains, etc.) once or twice a week and use your legs to get around. Walking not only adds physical activity into your life but reduces stress levels by helping you de-clutter your mind. A study in England found that participants who took a 10-minute walk before work reported being more attentive at work than their colleagues. This is a relatively easy change you can make that’s bound to pay off. If there aren’t any public transportation options near you or if using it isn’t realistic for other reasons, try walking instead of driving for short trips around town—especially errands like grocery shopping and taking kids to school. Keep track of how many miles you cover each week on foot!
8) Skip the elevator
If you’re looking for a fun way to increase your activity level throughout your day, take stairs whenever possible. Not only will it be good for your heart, but research suggests that taking stairs instead of elevators can also positively affect your mood and alertness. In fact, recent research found that people who work on higher floors tend to have increased vitality, a lower sense of fatigue, and improved concentration. And even if you don’t have access to an elevator at work or home, there are still other ways to get more movement into your day; park further away from your destination, choose walking meetings over video calls or schedule a few more walking meetings during the day. Working standing up also burns more calories than sitting down—imagine that!
9) Dance while you cook!
It can be easy to get stuck in a rut when you’re preparing dinner. If you want to mix things up, try switching from stirring, chopping, and washing dishes on your kitchen floor (or even a chair) to do those tasks while dancing. Since you’ll be moving your whole body—instead of just your hands and arms—you might actually burn more calories than sitting still would have. Even better: Movements like these are guaranteed to put a smile on your face, which is sure to make cooking more enjoyable.
10) Leave your phone in another room while watching TV
This one’s a lot more fun than it sounds. Leave your phone in another room while you watch TV and then go get it when you decide to end your session. By moving just 10-20 feet away from your TV, you’ll be forced to engage with what you’re watching a little more actively—you’ll likely still be engrossed, but might even forget that the internet is right there on my phone. This one will likely require some willpower at first, but once you get into a groove of active viewing, it won’t feel like such an effort.