It’s no surprise that most of us sit too much, which is detrimental to our health. Even for regular exercisers, an hour a day of activity, while very beneficial, can’t undo all of the risks of a predominantly sedentary lifestyle.
We all have 24 hours each day, and while some of us can comfortably pack in more than others, no one really can be at the gym working out 3 hours daily. The most realistic option is to follow a consistent exercise regimen, and supplement it with more activity throughout the day. In fact, recent research has found that bursts of activity for even 10 minutes or less are associated with improved health outcomes, including body composition, blood pressure, risk of diabetes and more.
Sneaking in Exercise
Sneaking in exercise each day is not as challenging as you may imagine. It simply takes some creativity, flexibility and willingness to create new habits. Read on for some practical tips from WebMD, Health magazine, and Everyday Health on sneaking in exercise wherever you are. Remember, ALL activity adds up!
- Stretch – Stretching helps relieve muscular tension and fatigue, while increasing blood flow to muscles for an energy boost. It’s easy to incorporate a few stretches for your chest, back and legs first thing in the morning and just before you go to bed. Add a few stretches when you’re at your desk during the day or in front of the TV at night. You’ll feel better!
- Take the stairs – Skip escalators and elevators and welcome the challenge of real stair climbing. In one minute, a 150-pound person can burn up to 10 calories climbing the stairs. If you’re headed to the 20th floor, you can take the elevator to the 15th floor, for instance, and hoof it the last few flights.
- Walk more – There are lots of easy ways to do this, including:
- Talk to your coworkers directly versus sending an email or calling them.
- Leave the car parked and walk to complete your errands, such as going to the post office, cleaners, bank, etc.
- Get outside during the workday and take a walk during lunch and eat at your desk.
- Schedule walking meetings, which benefits everyone and typically results in shorter, more efficient sessions.
- Take public transportation when you can, as it’s cheaper than driving and results in more walking time to hit your destination.
- Get a dog – or borrow your neighbor’s – and revel in your four-legged companion’s excitement from a daily excursion!
- Adopt active hobbies – Instead of meeting a friend for lunch or going to the movie theater, pursue activities that get you moving, such as a bike ride, hiking, walking around the mall, dancing or a trip to an amusement park or museum.
- Embrace chores – Rather than dread cleaning the house, get moving to benefit your body. Vigorous housecleaning, such as vacuuming, scrubbing the bathtub, toting the laundry and more all count. Mowing the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow, gardening and washing your car are great ways to benefit your body.
- Integrate isometrics and quick exercises – Squeeze your glutes or tense your abs at red lights or while waiting in line. Do a few planks in the morning or in front of the TV, bend and extend your legs when seated, practice heel raises or one-footed balance or try desk or wall push-ups. Correct your posture whether sitting or standing throughout the day. Do squats and lunges when waiting for the microwave or coffee, and keep some dumbbells by the TV for productive commercial breaks.