For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the queen of inactivity. From faking injuries to get out of gym class to becoming winded after going up one flight of stairs, the thorn in my side has always been creating ways to be more active (and, you know, actually using them).
If you’re like me and need a nap after watching someone jog past you, it’s important to start small and work your way up to more intense workouts. If you push yourself really hard in the beginning, it’s not likely you’ll sustain a healthy exercise routine … since you won’t be able to walk.
Below are 10 easy ways to be more active I now use without fail. If you’re mindful of the little things you can do to turn each of your daily tasks into a mini-workout, you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel!
1. Go for walks.
If you’re groaning already, put incentives in place to boost your motivation. For example, I no longer subscribe to magazines – I walk to the corner store to pick up the latest issues. Creating a buddy system is also helpful: instead of having your friend over for tea, make it to go and bond over a daily walk. The conversation will distract you from the whole exercise thing.
2. Take the stairs.
I know this one’s obvious but how often do you still take the elevator instead? Five minutes climbing stairs burns up to 150 calories!
3. Clean vigorously.
I used to live with this guy who wasn’t exactly tidy. As infuriating as it was at the time, I later learned an intense tidy session can burn up to 200 calories per hour. So thank you, Sloppy Slopperson.
4. Use a basket instead of a shopping cart.
If you only have a few things to pick up after work, use a basket instead of a cart. It’s an automatic weightlifting session (and if you’re a spontaneous shopper like myself, it becomes quite the workout!)
5. Park further away.
Build in extra walking by parking further away from your destination. With how crammed many parking lots become, you’ll not only burn calories but save a lot of time (and potential accidents) waiting for a closer spot to free up.
6. Play with your pets.
It goes without saying owning a dog automatically means frequent walks and play time. For the kitty lovers out there whose cats make lazing around look incredible: tie a ribbon/string around your wrist and let it dangle to the floor. As you’re cleaning your home or doing any chore that requires a lot of moving around, your cat will go insane chasing you around. I started doing this with my cat and now he’s obsessed! He now takes it upon himself to drag the ribbon to my feet – and as any cat lover knows, he gets his way almost instantly.
7. Pace/clean while on the phone.
Phone calls between me and my family are a minimum of an hour long. I now vigorously pace around while we chat (usually with a ribbon tied to my wrist), or I throw on my headset to keep my hands free for a tidy session.
8. Set an alarm.
I’m constantly writing, so when I’m engrossed in what I’m working on I forget how long I’ve been sitting for. It feels like I blink and hours have passed. Set an alarm for every hour, so you remember to get up for a minimum of two minutes for stretching or walking around. Or try Break Pal, a program that pops up on your monitor every half hour with a three-minute routine.
9. Exercise while watching TV.
I know I’m supposed to tell you to watch less television, but that would make me a hypocrite – nobody dares to interrupt when my shows are on! However, there’s no law saying you have to laze around while watching them (unfortunately): throw in mini-workouts while you watch.
10. Support a good cause.
Sponsor charity walks or runs for causes close to your heart. Dedicate each charity walk/run to someone you care about as your motivation to train before, during, and after.
Are you trying to be more active? What tips would you add to this list?