5 Easy Ways to Squeeze More Exercise Into Your Daily Routine
There’s just no doubt about it: active people are healthier than sedentary people. Being fit and active prevents future disease and improves current disease. It’s one of the best defenses you have against early death and worsened quality of life.
Yet only about 20% of people are actually meeting standard guidelines for physical activity. It’s time to change that number for our collective health and wellbeing.
But many people feel intimidated thinking about how to start…and how to stay at it. For so long, they’ve felt motivated to try an exercise routine only to give up a couple weeks in. The answer to that problem is a change of perspective. Instead of thinking of exercise as only something you do for an hour at a gym, think about it as a lifestyle.
Incorporate More Exercise In Your Day With These 5 Easy Ways
Below you are going to find over 20 tips for incorporating more exercise into your day – even if you are a total beginner.
1. More Steps
The first step…is adding more steps. The 10,000 steps mark is a good average spot to aim for, but the average American only takes about 5,000. Here’s how to walk more without jumping on a treadmill:
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- Always take the stairs. Don't let that escalator tempt you. Just take the stairs till it becomes a habit. It's a great habit to have!
- Park in the back. It’s often super stressful to find a really close parking spot anyway, so toss the whole idea out. Intentionally park in the back = less stress and more exercise.
- Download a steps app. Any sort of tracking device helps you have a clearer picture of how much (or how little!) you’re moving. It’s also a great way to make goals and even create a competition for yourself.
- Commit to a 5-minute walk outside every single day. Do it for one week. Make it 6 minutes the next week. 7 the next.
- Walk to the restaurant. The best way to feel good about a big meal is to walk there and back. If you live in a walkable city, this one’s easy. If you don’t, choose a parking spot that’s further away or maybe even a couple buildings over.
- Take advantage of waiting. If you’re waiting for a doctor’s appointment or meeting that’s delayed, take a walk around the building.
2. Stand, Don’t Sit
How many hours a day are you sitting at your desk? On your couch? At the table? Well, the average person spends 12 hours each day sitting. That’s right…half of the day and not including the hours spent sleeping!
Here are some ways to prevent that much sedentary time:
- Opt for a standing desk. You can also find a standing desk converter.
- Do some work-appropriate moves at your desk. Try a round of calf raises, some stretches, or even bicep curls.
- Use a stability ball. When you have to sit, a stability ball allows you to engage your core muscles. Feeling antsy at work? Lean back and do 10 crunches right on the ball!
- Leave your desk. Every time you’re tempted to spend a couple minutes browsing social media, take a walk around your office. Even an extra trip to fill up a water bottle or go to the bathroom can help.
- Watch TV actively. Get down on the floor and do stretches or some basic exercise moves (like push-ups) while you’re watching TV instead of sitting the whole time.
- Jog in place during each TV commercial
Sometimes we avoid exercise because it feels like a chore – and really, 30 minutes on a treadmill isn’t that exciting. But when we can make exercise fun, the whole story changes.
What do you love to do that’s active? Do that.
- Play with your kids. Instead of just supervising your kids at the park, play tag with them; instead of watching them jump on the trampoline, get in there too (talk about cardio!)
- Play with your pets. Take your dog on a walk or toss a tennis ball in the backyard and be an active part of running after it too.
- Have a dance party for one. Put on your favorite tunes and dance when you’re home alone – better yet, get your loved ones in on it too.
- Enjoy your local environment. Go paddle boarding, surfing, swimming, skiing, snowboarding, etc.
- Order to-go. Get your coffee to-go and walk around the local park, a museum, etc.
- Take a yoga class. Or Pilates, Zumba, kickboxing, etc.
- Go bowling
- Go on a hike
- Make a picnic. Once you’re done eating your healthy meal, take a walk at the park you’re in.
4. Get Clean and Organized
Sound like a weird tip for exercisers? It isn’t. The more you stay on top of small little cleaning and organizing tasks, the less stressed you’ll be and the more movement you’re going to get into your day without even really thinking about it.
- Make your bed every single morning. It’s a nice, slow way to start moving your muscles after a long night of sleep.
- Wash your own car. Yes, going through the drive-through is easy, but when the weather is warm enough, washing your own car is cheaper and gets you moving.
- Do one cleaning chore each day. Instead of piling up all your cleaning on your day off, do one thing each day. It’s great for time management and great for a little exercise. Mopping the floors can definitely get that heart rate up.
- Go grocery shopping. All those services that do the grocery shopping for you may save you a few minutes, but you’re losing out on a great opportunity to get in extra steps!
5. Start Your Exercise Regimen Slowly
All these little sneaky ways to incorporate exercise into your day are a fabulous start – and something to continue for the rest of your life so you always stay active. But eventually you’ll need to include some dedicated workout time. Here are a few ways to get into a habit of an exercise routine:
- Find an accountability partner. When you make a set plan with a friend, you won’t be able to talk yourself out of it. It’s also way more fun to exercise with someone you enjoy spending time with than by yourself.
- Invest in a trainer. Sometimes people don’t exercise because they don’t know what they should be doing and they don’t want to look like they have no idea how to use machines. Meeting with a trainer a couple times can give you confidence, a clear plan, and safety instructions.
- Break it down. If an hour-long exercise session feels daunting, break it up. Do 20 minutes before work. 20 minutes on your work break. 20 minutes after work.
- Stream videos/audio. There are so many YouTube videos that you can follow for a quick power workout session or some yoga stretches. Even Amazon’s Alexa will give you a quick little workout class if you ask her! Here’s a low-impact cardio and toning video for beginners:
It’s All About an Active Lifestyle
Start by figuring out where the biggest problems are (for example, your desk time at work or your after-dinner time at home). Make a few changes there for a week or so. Then add one or two more changes the next week.
By adopting many of these tips into your everyday routine over time, you are going to start making the change toward an active lifestyle. In no time, you’ll have boosted energy and a healthier body. You will also find that you’re stronger and have more stamina, so a regular exercise routine can be more manageable.