Staying healthy comes from staying active — and there are endless ways to move and exercise without going to the gym.
Can’t make it to the gym?
Busy lives and jam-packed schedules make it hard to get there, but that’s no excuse not to exercise. Staying physically active is important for your health and for prevention of weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
With just a few changes, you can fit exercise into your current routine without a trip to the gym required.
The first step is changing the lens through which you view your daily surroundings. Your home, the office, the parking lot and the mall are a treasure trove of exercise opportunities without any fancy equipment needed.
Here are some ideas to help keep you moving all day long:
When You’re Home
Think about all the advances in technology at home designed to save us time. Let’s ditch those! This is not to suggest that you wash your clothes with a washboard, but please consider doing things that keep you standing and moving for longer periods of time. Get up from the couch to change the channel instead of using a remote control. Wash dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher while doing calf raises at the sink. Doing some of the chores like mopping, dragging a vacuum up the stairs, and window washing will burn calories and raise your heart rate. Raking the leaves by hand vs. using a blower will keep you moving. If you are waiting for something to heat up in the oven or microwave, do some pushups at the kitchen counter. If you have groceries or purchases to put away, be less efficient and put them away a few at a time so you have to walk back and forth more frequently.
When You’re at Work
At the office, it is common to spend a good portion of the day sitting. Instead, break it up with a new routine. From now on, send documents to a printer that is located in an area where you’ll need to get up from the desk in order to retrieve them. Anytime you’re on the phone, assume a standing position. Set an alarm for the top of every hour and take a short brisk five-minute walk in the hall or go up and down the stairs a few times. Any excuse to stand and walk is welcome. Instead of calling or emailing a colleague, walk to his or her desk. Make you own copies at the copy machine if it is far enough away to add more steps to your day. Consider changing your chair for one that requires some trunk activity to stabilize with a base that requires some balancing. Carry some exercise tubing in your drawer or bag and use it to stretch out your arms in the direction opposite of your hunched over sitting posture.
When You’re Out and About
Any chance you get to fit more steps into your daily routine is a bonus. If the weather outside is frightful, head to the mall. This climate-controlled venue has plenty of space to walk, without the traffic or bad weather. First, park as far as possible from the entrance. Then, plan to walk for at least ten minutes uninterrupted. If you are actually planning to shop, organize your route to purposely be less efficient so you have to walk further. Of course, any time there is an opportunity to choose the stairs instead of an escalator, you will be doing your heart some good. If you have to stand on a long line, try some calf raises or even some mini squats.
Those bags in your hands are a great excuse for some bicep curls as you walk.
Social plans with friends and family can also make it hard to get to the gym. Instead of a calorie-filled gathering at a bar or coffee shop where you’re likely going to be sitting, why not plan an activity that burns calories and keeps you active — like taking a hike, playing mini golf, or going to one of those escape room places.
Wear a pedometer or use an app or any device that keeps track of your activity. You can use this as motivation to keep yourself accountable. It can also help to challenge others to meet or beat your activity goals.
Life can get busy, but there’s always time for exercise.
You may also enjoy Best Self Yoga Flow for Flexibility and Relaxation by Carter Miles