We all know exercise is important. It keeps us healthy and in shape. But it’s also a big time commitment to keep up a steady exercise routine. It can also be hard to make yourself work out if you’re really not in the mood. Luckily, there are tons of ways we can stay fit and burn calories without having to schedule a long gym session. At home, at work, watching television, these exercises can be done without taking up a big chunk of our time or our energy. Here are our top seven ways to sneak exercise in to your day:
1. Take the stairs.
Stairs are a great calorie-burner, and they also tone your legs and bum. Next time you’re facing the elevator-or-stairs dilemma, take the stairs. Walking up them will do the trick, but try going up at a job to increase your heart rate and burn a few extra calories. Next time you’re faced with an escalator ride, consider walking up instead of standing still on one step.
2. Park farther away.
Picking a parking spot near the back of the lot forces you to get out and walk to your destination. It’s a little change, but over time it can make a big difference. Consider doing this at the supermarket or mall. That way, you’ll have to walk in from farther away, but you’ll also have to walk out with heavy bags. It’s a small step towards sneaking in some exercise.
3. Swap your chair for an exercise ball.
These large inflatable balls are great alternatives to traditional office chairs. Sitting on an exercise ball all day works your core because you’re constantly trying to balance — but you don’t even notice! The movements are so slight that you’ll feel perfectly secure and comfortable on the exercise ball, but your abdominal muscles will be working to keep you stable. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, this is also a good way to get in some crunches at the office. Lay with the middle of your back on the exercise ball and your feet planted firmly on the ground. Crunch up and lower yourself down slowly and in a controlled motion.
4. Jiggle your leg.
Tapping or moving one of your legs is a good way to burn a few extra calories throughout the day without putting in a lot of effort. Try to switch legs from time to time to give one a rest. You can also cross your legs and jiggle one foot for less movement with the same result. Just make sure you’re not doing it in a meeting to avoid seeming nervous or anxious.
5. Balance on one leg.
Sitting down all day can get pretty old pretty fast. Stand up occasionally and balance on one leg, and then the other. It’ll get your blood flowing and help you strengthen your core muscles. Try to increase the time you are able to balance on one leg each time you do it.
6. Go outside.
Many people enjoy hobbies that are active, such as biking, hiking or kayaking. Find an outdoor activity that you enjoy. If you’re really having fun, you won’t even notice that you’re getting in a serious workout in the process. These activities are also great ways to meet new people and make friends. See if there are any groups or clubs in your area that you can join.
7. Stand on your tiptoes.
If you are standing somewhere for an extended period of time, like when washing the dishes, try slowly raising and lowering yourself on your tiptoes. It works your calves and is easy to do pretty much anywhere.
Featured photo credit: Jaymie Koroluk via flickr.com