Although your diet plays a larger role in your weight loss effort, everyone needs at least a little bit of exercise each week. It can be difficult to reach even modest exercise goals. Our avoidance of exercise is often linked with the impracticality of committing to it. Lack of time and motivation are two of the biggest obstacles to getting a healthy amount of exercise.
Going to the gym can be a time-consuming ritual, and just being at the gym can make people anxious and uncomfortable. Purchasing workout clothes and a gym membership are just one more expense to add to the list. Being a part of a workout group is a time commitment that busy people can’t always afford. Luckily, research suggests that short bouts of exercise (10 minutes or less) can have outstanding benefits. Here are 7 ideas to help you exercise with everyday activities:
1. Walk When You Can
Those of us that don’t use public transportation are hardwired to go straight to our cars when we need to get somewhere. This is especially true in the suburbs, where pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and stores are difficult to reach on foot. But if you have the time, try walking to your next destination instead of driving. If you run a regular errand each week, plot a walking course using a map tool and stick to your route.
2. Fall in Love with Stairs
Anytime you use an elevator, you can usually use stairs as an alternative. For example, if you take an elevator to reach your workspace each week, you could take the stairs instead and get an instant workout. If you find yourself at the top of a parking garage, take the stairs down instead of the elevator.
3. Ride a Bike Instead of Driving
Most cities are working to accommodate cyclists on the road. Suburban and rural areas often have wide enough roads to accommodate bicycles. If you need to get to an appointment or run a small errand up the road, try riding a bike instead of driving. Riding a bike is one of the easy ways to exercise without straining your joints or your back. Even if you need to bring something home with you, you can load it into a backpack instead of your car.
4. Dance While you Clean
Everyone has to do a little cleaning every once in a while. The simple act of cleaning can count as a mild exercise by itself. Turn your weekly vacuuming chore into a dance party to break more of a sweat and burn some extra calories. When you’re mopping or scrubbing the tub, try exaggerating your movements to work out more of your muscles. Keep music on and sing like your neighbors can’t hear to stay motivated.
5. Cook Your Own Dinner
Cooking your own dinner has two great benefits: it’s a standing activity that gets you a bit of exercise and it gives you direct control over your meal. Try cooking more meals out of basic ingredients rather than relying on processed, pre-packaged meals. Your preparation time may increase, but you’ll get more exercise and eat healthier because of it.
6. Shop Offline
Shopping online is convenient, helps you avoid crowds, and can make comparing prices much easier, but it is also a sedentary activity. Every once in a while, try going out shopping with some friends. Walk and stand as much as you can while you’re out. If you want, you can even use a step-tracking app to see how much you’ve walked during your shopping trip.
7. Make Family Activities More Active
Going out to a movie, playing a board game, and making arts & crafts are all great family activities, but they don’t give you much exercise. Try to go to the playground, the park, the sports field, or even your own backyard more often. Play sports with your kids or even hide and seek. If you’re moving and breaking a sweat, you’re burning calories.
Don’t Give Up On the Gym Completely
Although small to moderate amounts of exercise can be beneficial to your health and your weight loss efforts, most experts still recommend a small amount of intense exercise once per week. You don’t need a gym membership to get an intense workout, but using a gym may keep you true to your exercise routine. If you don’t want to use a gym and you’re still looking for easy ways to exercise, try doing aerobics or yoga at home!
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