We all know that regular exercise is an important part of maintaining good health. The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association both recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. But according to the Harvard School of Public Health, only about 30 percent of adults report getting regular physical activity and 40 percent say they get no physical activity at all.
A sedentary lifestyle not only increases a person’s chance of becoming overweight but also increases his or her risk of developing chronic diseases. Fortunately, research has shown that three 10-minute intervals of aerobic exercise throughout the day can be just as beneficial as one longer session. Try some of these tricks to sneak in exercise throughout each day.
Start the day right. Before doing anything else, give yourself five or 10 minutes to squeeze in a little exercise. Do a few stretches, a yoga series or choose a different exercise each day, such as leg raises or wall push-ups and perform 50 repetitions before jumping in the shower.
Exercise at home. Walking more while still at home is easier than you may think. Instead of sitting down to make phone calls, walk around the house or go outside and walk up and down the street while you talk. If you live in a house with more than one level always go to a different level to use the bathroom. Try doing squats, sit-ups, and pushups or even walking in place while watching television. Anything burns more calories and raises your heart rate more than sitting on the couch. When folding laundry do a plié squat after each item you fold, it’ll take longer, but you’ll burn calories.
Make happy hour happier. Instead of meeting friends after work for happy hour or dinner head to a park for a few hours of active playtime. Bring a Frisbee, volleyball or soccer ball, and play a few rounds together. Or get together for a round of tennis or a quick jog while you catch up instead of packing on cocktail calories.
Mix it up. Make it a priority to try something you’ve always wanted to try. Sign up for a yoga class, go kayaking or sign up for a dance class. Take advantage of the seasons and get some exercise by building a snowman or having a snowball fight in the winter, planting a garden in the spring, washing your own car on a sunny summer day or going for a hike or walk around a new neighborhood in the fall.
Make your errands work for you. Walk or ride your bike when you run errands or get off the train or bus two stops before you have to and walk the rest of the way. If you have to drive, park as far away as you can and walk in to places you would typically use the drive through, like the bank. While you’re waiting in line try squeezing your abs or buttocks or doing calf raises.
Get moving at work. Walk to a co-workers desk instead of picking up the phone – you’ll communicate more efficiently and fit in a few extra steps. Instead of riding the elevator, take the stairs, if you have a long way to go get off the elevator a few floors early and walk up the rest of the way. Dedicate half of your lunch break to going for a walk, moving around after eating will also help your digestion and help you feel more alert. If you spend long hours sitting down, set the timer on your computer to remind you to get up and take a few steps or at least stretch your legs.