Don’t have time to go to the gym on a daily basis? You might not have to. There are a lot of little things you can do to become more active. The best part: many of those things are small and won’t disrupt your routine. In fact, they can be easily incorporated into your day-to-day life without much effort.
Make Your Outings More Active
Rather than trying to find time to fit exercise around your social life, make exercise your social life. Date night with the boyfriend? Go dancing. Taking the kids away for the weekend? Fit in some hiking or swimming into the schedule. If you make sure every outing is an active one, you’ll be burning calories and improving your cardiovascular fitness without even realizing it.
Get a Dog
The average dog needs three walks a day. Even if each walk is just 10 minutes, that’s 30 minutes of exercise every day. That’s the minimum amount of time recommended by experts at the Mayo Clinic and the CDC. Can’t afford to get a dog right now? Call your local shelter to see if they need a “walking volunteer.” You can visit several times a week to walk the dogs waiting to be adopted.
Do Your Chores
Raking the leaves, shoveling snow, and even washing the windows can burn as many calories as a session at the gym. Even washing the floors and ironing can be great calorie burners, especially if you have a large house or a large family. Plus, you’ll be saving money if you do it yourself.
Does your home need painting? What about a basic rearranging of furniture? Just moving furniture around can burn more calories than an hour of swimming.
Take the Stairs
You’ve heard the advice about avoiding the elevator before, but you can do more than that. If there’s a local park with stairs, make it a point to cut through there every time you go out to run errands. No stairs where you work or live? Find a local public building and run -- or walk, if you don’t want to call attention to yourself -- up and down a few times. Don't forget about the stadium seats at your local high school.
Pick up an Active Hobby
This doesn’t just mean taking on cycling or doing yoga. Did you know things like pottery and gardening are great calorie burners? Interested in woodworking? You can burn up to 300 calories an hour when you’re working with your hands, especially if the woodwork requires moving around and nailing things into place.
Ride, Walk, or Skate to Work
If your work is not located too far, ditch the car or bus. If it is a big far and you take public transportation or drive, get off a good distance from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
Try 15 Minutes of Yoga Daily
If you’re a beginner, stick to the basic poses until your body becomes more flexible. As you get better at it, pick more challenging poses. A quick 15-minute session might not seem like much, but exercising first thing in the morning can kickstart your metabolism into high gear. One added benefit: yoga improves concentration, which can help you start the day on the right foot.
Sit Down Less
A treadmill desk is a worthy investment if you spend a lot of time at the computer -- that way you can walk while surfing the net. Every time you pick up the phone, pace back and forth while you talk. If you have to sit, try some leg exercises or bicep curls. Any kind of movement is better than sitting still.
Cook More Often
Homemade food tends to be healthier, simply because you can control the ingredients you’re using. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, you can choose to cut the amount of oil you use or switch from full-fat to low-fat milk. Also, cooking is a pretty active task. You’ll burn more calories preparing a meal than you would taking something out of the freezer or ordering takeout. Bonus points if you bake, as kneading bread is pretty good when it comes to calorie burning.
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