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10 Simple Ways To Be More Active

10 Simple Ways To Be More Active

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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