Everyday Ways to Get More Activity
You may think you don’t have time to get more physical activity. But you build it into your life in lots of ways, all day long! A brisk walk from your parked car to the mall entrance counts. Taking your dog for a quick jog after dinner is great. These are known as moderately intense activities, and they’re good for your health.
Moderately intense activities increase your heart rate, but still let you carry on a conversation. These kinds of activities can help you achieve and keep a healthy weight and improve your fitness. They will help lower your risk for heart and bone diseases, put you in a better mood, and improve your balance, coordination, and agility.
Every day, you have many opportunities to be more active. Below are some ideas to get you started. Be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Move while you talk
Walk around when you're talking on the phone instead of staying put. Getting out of your chair throughout the day can help improve your circulation.
Communicate in person
Go talk to someone instead of sending an email. Need to send papers to a colleague? Drop them off yourself. Consider these excursions exercise breaks.
Shop for exercise
Go window shopping or browsing in your spare time. Shopping is the ultimate easy walking workout. Wear athletic socks and walking shoes.
Park farther away
Parking a good distance from the entrance when you go to the grocery store or to work will help you get extra walking.
Clean your house
Vigorous cleaning can help you burn about 420 calories an hour. All of these apply: cleaning floors, vacuuming carpets, washing windows, and scrubbing tile.
Care for the lawn
Do your own yard work and gardening. Hoeing burns about 360 calories an hour, the same as playing badminton. Cutting your lawn with a push mower burns about 420 calories an hour, on par with playing tennis. Trimming trees burns about 500 calories an hour, the same as swimming the crawl.
Exercise for lunch
Turn lunchtime into an exercise adventure. Don't eat at the company cafeteria or the same old place. Instead, discover new restaurants within walking distance from your workplace.
Carry, don't push
Carry a basket instead of pushing a cart if you're getting just a few things at the supermarket. Consider it a free weight that keeps getting heavier. But switch the basket from hand to hand periodically to balance the effect on your upper-arm and shoulder muscles.
Skip the car
Park your car in the garage and leave it there if you're going anywhere less than a mile away.
Take the challenging route
Taking the hilliest route possible when you're walking will burn extra calories.
Rise to the challenge
Sign up for a corporate fitness challenge. Whether you walk or run, you'll have fun and feel a sense of accomplishment that can spur you to stay in shape long after the race is over.
Skip sitting activities
Limit sedentary activities during your leisure time. For example, turn off the television several nights a week. Without TV programs to distract you, you'll move around more than you would otherwise.
Dance around for exercise
Whether you take salsa lessons or ballroom dance classes, dancing gives you a great workout while you have fun. Dancing can burn as many calories as walking, swimming, or riding a bike. Start with slower dances, like an easy waltz, and work your way up to the mambo or country dancing.
Try a social game
Make exercise social by playing golf, basketball, tennis, and other games with others.
Use the stairs
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to burn calories. Depending on your weight, each flight of stairs you climb burns about 10 calories.
You can do it
Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health. So invest in yourself and start moving today!
- Gomez, Wanda, RN, Ph.D.
- newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician