15 Ways to Seamlessly Get More Activity Into Your Day
We all know that we need more physical activity.
We know how important it is for longevity and maintaining a healthy body.
Related - How to Build Your Own Workout
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity can help you lose weight - and keep it off. Physical activity also strengthens our muscles and bones, lessens chronic pain associated with arthritis, keeps your heart healthy, and improves both functional ability and your mood.
Haley Shevener is a certified strength and conditioning specialist out in San Francisco, California. She says that "we're built to move our bodies." A good majority of us drive to work, sit at a desk all day, drive home, and then relax on the couch the rest of the evening.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise like walking, easy cycling, or water aerobics, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise like running, brisk cycling, or swimming laps every week. Along with your aerobic exercises, they also recommend strength training at least two days out of the week - hitting every muscle group.
A new report published shows some sad news - only 22.9% of adults are actually meeting these guidelines between 2010 and 2015.
We box ourselves into a sedentary lifestyle because it's hard to find time, right? According to research in the Annals of Internal Medicine, those who regularly workout can lessen the positive effects by sitting for long periods.
I've written a lot of articles and I receive a lot of questions like "can I do karate and lift weights?" The answer is always going to be yes. If you can find a physical activity that you actually like to do, you will hit your recommended exercise requirements without it feeling like it's "exercise."
You can also do this by incorporating movement into your everyday lifestyle. Splitting up your physical activity to smaller, more manageable pieces makes it easier to get all the movement we need without really "going to the gym and sweating it out." If you do this, going to the gym will just bring about more benefits.
So here's a very, very small list of ways you can incorporate some physical activity into your day.
Get creative and think outside of the box, you can find ways to get your whole family active.
How to Get More Activity
1.) Set your alarm to go off every two hours. When your alarm goes off, you can have a list of exercises you can choose to do, or you can simply get up and move.
Standing marches, walking around the office, or taking a few laps around the building is a great way to get some movement in.
It doesn't take much, but if you can spare five to ten minutes every two hours during your day, that can lead up to 20-40 minutes of physical activity you can squeeze in just at work.
2.) If you watch a lot of TV, utilize those commercial breaks.
When a commercial comes on, you can do something as simple as cleaning up or a chore, you can do 60 seconds of aerobic activity like jumping jacks, running in place, or even doing some bodyweight exercises.
Get creative. Get something done.
3.) Meet up with some friends for a walk or workout instead of meeting at the bar.
If you don't have any friends that would be into that, maybe try to find one that will. You'll create a strong bond and get healthier at the same time.
4.) Join your kids when they are outside playing. Simply going out there and engaging with your children will also build a stronger relationship and it will get your butt off of the couch.
5.) Are you in charge of meetings at work? Schedule a walking meeting, take a stroll during your business calls, or simply aim to take more steps during your day in the office.
6.) Park at the back of the parking lot. This adds some steps into your day and you won't have to worry about Sharon hitting your car.
7.) Act like the elevator is broken and take the stairs. We don't have elevators, but I try to go up and down the stairs as much as possible during the day.
8.) Work on staying hydrated. Keep a bottle or glass of water on your desk so you can drink throughout the day. The frequent trips for getting more water or using the restroom are the same steps that will help you get more active.
Seriously, think outside of the box.
9.) Practice taking a five to ten-minute walk after every meal. Your body will digest your food better and it will help clear your mind and get ready for the task at hand.
10.) Are your kids involved in sports? Instead of parking your comfy chair and a hidden beer in your coozie, walk around and stay more active during the sporting event.
11.) If you like to watch TV or even play video games, take some time to do planks, leg lifts, bodyweight squats, fire hydrants, glute bridges, donkey kicks, pushups, or any bodyweight exercise.
You can create fun exercise protocols like every time someone in your show takes a drink of alcohol, you do 10 situps. Every time you score a goal or a round is over in your video game, spend however long between rounds to get your heart pumping.
12.) Take multiple trips when you are putting up your groceries. While I'll never, ever allow myself to not get all of my groceries in one load, this is still a great tip.
If you have to go upstairs every trip, this is an easy way to get some exercise in.
13.) If your kids are younger, take a walk or run beside them while they ride their bikes.
There is a guy that walks with his kid around my neighborhood and he likes to race him. It'll build a unique bond and help get you into shape.
14.) Like to cook? Do bodyweight exercises or dance while you wait for things to cook.
I've started doing this and it's rewarding. Turn on some good jams and get your sweat on while you cook. It makes that cookie you eat later feel less guilty.
15.) Take a walk over to your coworker's desk instead of calling them over or on the phone.
Wrapping It Up
If 150 minutes of moderate exercise sounds like a lot in a week, it really isn't. You just have to break it down into smaller pieces.
In theory, it doesn't matter if you exercise for 5 minutes or 30 minutes - if you are getting quality movement in, it's not a waste of time.
If you can stick to your alarm to going off every so many hours, and you stick to five to ten minutes of quality activity - you will build habits quickly.
Seriously, that 150 minutes of recommended exercise breaks down to about 22 minutes a day. If you set your alarm to go off 3 times a day and put 10 minutes into your exercise, you'll have 210 minutes of exercise for that week.
Small, consistent changes will benefit you the most. Don't get trapped in the mindset that you have to go to the gym to get exercise.