America's Energy Doctor
With such hectic schedules, many of us struggle to get enough exercise into our days. As I often say, making a fitness routine is so important to making it work. And there’s no substitute for real cardiovascular workouts that get you up into your target heart rate.
However, there’s still value in finding ways—even seemingly insignificant ones—to increase your basic physical activity during the day. Any additional movement is better than none. Even small changes that yield more activity help you burn more calories, boost your mood, focus and sleep a little better, and improve your general health. It all adds up over the course of a week, a month, a year.
So, below are some simple ways to deliberately craft more active days for yourself. Many take little or no additional time.
How to Get More Physical Activity
- Walk or bike instead of driving whenever possible.
- Get off at the bus stop before or after the one you need and walk.
- Don’t drive around hunting for the closest parking spot; park in the farthest corner of the lot and walk.
- Skip the elevator and escalator and take the stairs instead.
- Go out of your way down the hall or up and down a flight of stairs when you get up to go to the bathroom.
- Stand instead of sitting.
- Walk back and forth instead of sitting or standing still while waiting around.
- Bounce your legs up and down while you’re at your desk.
- Get up and stretch or take a short walk every 30 or 60 minutes when you’re at your desk for an extended period.
- Use your coffee break to take a quick brisk walk.
- Walk over to your coworker’s office instead of emailing, texting, or calling.
- Pace while you talk on the phone.
- Use an exercise bike or jog in place while watching TV.
- Put the remote away and get up to change the channel and adjust the volume manually.
- Keep your drink across the room rather than within reach.
- Wear strap-on wrist and/or ankle weights when possible as you go about daily activities.
- Play actively with the kids and/or the dog more.
- Take the dog on longer walks.
- Sweep, mop, vacuum, scrub the counters or the shower, wash your car… clean something!
- Take up gardening and do more yard work.
- Use a push mower instead of a ride-in mower, a rake instead of a leaf blower, a shovel instead of a snow blower, etc.
- Turn a family activity into something active, like taking a walk together.
- Take a yoga, dance, martial arts, self-defense, aerobics, or other fitness class with a friend as one of your regular social activities.
- Go shopping at the mall instead of driving from store to store.
- Don’t use the drive-through window; park and go inside (just don’t take this as a recommendation to eat fast food).