3 simple ways to sneak fitness into your daily routine
Although the American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, working out can be hard to squeeze into an already busy life. It doesn’t have to be impossible, however, and just a few small tweaks to your daily routine can make a big difference.
Walk whenever possible
In today’s car culture, it can be tough to get your daily steps in, but small efforts can make a big difference.
“The next time you run errands, park at the back of the parking lot at each destination, rather than cruising for a spot up close. Or do an extra lap or two around the office the next time you get up for something,” says Diane Meader-Schenk, an exercise physiologist and coordinator of the Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill.
Some of the most common fitness advice is to take the stairs rather than the elevator whenever possible. Meader-Schenk suggests taking it one step further.
“Whenever you have a break in routine, do a couple of walks up and down the stairs,” she says. “You don’t have to go fast – the routine can be short but sweet, especially if you do it a couple times per day. It’s an easy, quick way to burn some calories without sweating through your clothes.”
Get moving while staying seated
If you’re stuck at a desk job all day, you can still squeeze in some fitness. And you probably want to, as sitting for several hours a day has been tied to a number of health issues.
If you have a private workspace, you can get out of your chair and do a round of jumping jacks or wall push-ups every couple of hours. If you’re in a public space, however, and don’t want to make a scene, you can work your muscles without anyone noticing.
“Without getting out of your chair, you can do some leg lifts to work your core. Just scoot to the front edge of your seat, sit up straight and raise one leg at a time, holding them for 30 seconds each,” says Meader-Schenk. “You can also work out your arms by bracing your hands on your arm rest and lifting your body from your seat for several reps.”
Meader-Schenk recommends getting up and going for a short walk at least hourly, to stretch your body and give your brain a rest. You may also consider a short meditation at your desk. Meditation has several positive benefits, including decreased stress, increased productivity and stronger memory.
Use your to-do list to your advantage
What do household chores, a lunch break stroll and fidgeting all have in common? They can help you burn calories. While you’ll certainly burn more by doing aerobics or going for a jog, small efforts are better than none.
“Really, it all comes down to actively moving at every opportunity,” says Meader-Schenk. “If you don’t have time right now to dedicate to a workout routine, do your best to be up and on your feet as much as possible during your daily routines. Your body will thank you for it.”
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