We all know that exercise is important to maintain a general healthy lifestyle. But for many people, finding the motivation to be more active can be difficult. Even when we are motivated to go for a jog or to hit the gym, finding the time can be a challenge with all the other daily responsibilities. So, how can we fit in some physical activity, or perhaps even trick ourselves into getting exercise without much added effort? Here are a series of tips that can help you fit more exercise into your busy schedule.
Take the Stairs
While the elevator might hold some appeal in the morning or after a long day, by taking the stairs we can get some exercise and feel better at the start of the day or when we are heading home.
Walking to Do Errands
Whether you’re on your way to work, taking a quick trip to the store, or visiting a friend, walking and/or taking public transportation can be an excellent way to fit in some exercise.
Give Up the 'Best' Parking Spot
People often jockey in parking lots to get the spot closest to the entrance or stairwell and in doing so can experience stress and even lose time. Park in the back of the lot, or higher up in the parking garage to build in a little extra walking.
Find a Friend
Any kind of exercise routine, however heavy or light, becomes much easier to stick to when you have a friend to join you. Whether it is a brief walk during lunch a few days a week, or a scheduled time at the fitness center, friends are always excellent company and motivation.
Stretch While Seated
Even if you’re stuck in a chair behind a desk, there are ways to get a little physical activity: try to stretch and do toe-touches; do a few torso twists; sit more upright, or push your shoulders back and hold until you “feel the burn.” These may seem almost too simple, but these little tricks can help you stay limber and alert during slow mid-afternoon hours. Get creative with your chair!
Take More Trips
Rather than trying to play the how-many-grocery-bags-can-I-carry-at-once game every time we get home from the store, make multiple trips with groceries and other purchases. You can get some extra steps in to help raise your heart rates while also being certain that you won’t drop and break the eggs.
Keep Up Around the House
All those little chores that force us to get off the couch and move around—dusting, vacuuming, cleaning windows, etc.—all add extra activity to our days. Simple things like walking around the house to vacuum or dust, squatting down to get to hard-to-reach areas help to stretch our muscles while we maintain a clean house.
Make Better Use of 'TV Time'
How often do we make use of the time spent in front of the television? Why not try to use more TV time to work in some activity? Push-ups, squats, walking or running in place—rather than sitting back while watching TV, can make you become a more “active” audience member.
Stop Standing Still
Any time we find ourselves standing around—waiting in line, at work, waiting for food to finish cooking in the kitchen—try to get move around as much as possible. Rocking up and down on our toes, tensing and releasing our abs or gluts, doing curls with bags, purses or briefcases are all ways to get a little bit of muscle burn while we would otherwise be just standing around.
Many of these little tricks may not seem like they will do much, but any activity is better than no activity. The more that these kinds of tricks become habits, and the longer we can maintain these habits, the more energy we are likely to have. Ideally those habits will lead to an overall increase in activity level—and if we get ourselves to be more active in small ways, eventually it can lead to some big changes.