According to the Center for Disease Control, 80% of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. The CDC surveyed more than 450,000 adults who were 18 and older, and found that only about 20% of them exercised regularly. That means that the majority of Americans are setting themselves up for health problems. Lack of exercise leads to obesity and an increase chance of diabetes and heart disease.
Obesity related conditions are some of the leading causes of preventable premature deaths of Americans today. 93.3 million American adults were obese in the year 2015. More than 5 million deaths worldwide are linked to inactivity, one study found last year. There are plenty of excuses we can use to “justify” in our minds why we do not exercise enough. But the truth is, there are smart ways to incorporate exercise into everyday activities without thinking too much about it. Here are 10 ways to sneak exercise into your daily life!
1. Wake Up 30 Minutes Earlier.
If you have 30 extra minutes each day, that’s 30 minutes you can use to exercise. To make waking up earlier easier, just go to bed 30 minutes earlier. Incorporating exercise into your daily morning routine enhances your metabolism, and studies show that regular exercise reduces fatigue and increases energy levels! What better time to boost your energy levels than in the morning?
What are some other reasons exercising in the morning is a good idea? Exercise can boost your confidence. We know, this sounds pretty self explanatory- when you exercise you look good. But we’re talking about boosting your confidence on a deeper level than just looks. Exercising really makes you more confident from the inside out. Self esteem indicates how we are able to cope with life stressors, and is an indicator of out mental well being. Exercising makes you feel good about yourself on the outside and inside because it provides you with an internal self confidence. When you work out, you truly feel like you are the best version of yourself, and that really boosts your self esteem.
2. Always Take The Stairs.
If it seems like your life is getting more and more hectic, you’re right. Companies are focusing on one thing that everybody is begging for- convenience. Convenience is the biggest currency. We have to have everything at our fingertips, on our phones, on our tablets. Nobody wants to do things the long way, we want short cuts because our time is limited and valuable.
In the time it takes us to huff and puff and climb the stairs, an elevator could’ve taken us where we needed to go more conveniently. We wouldn’t have had to even break a sweat. But here’s a crazy idea- take the stairs next time you have the option to take an elevator. If you’re trying to incorporate exercise more into your daily life, this is a simple way to do so. According to sources, you do indeed burn calories while climbing and descending stairs. How much? Climbing 10 minutes of stairs burns 127 calories.
3. Use Your Lunch And Breaks To Walk.
Have a 30 minute lunch at your workplace? If you don’t, you’d better talk to HR because it’s the law! Use that 30 minutes to incorporate some exercise into your life! Let’s say you use 10 minutes to eat your lunch, what happens the rest of the 20 minutes? You’re either socializing with your coworkers, or you’re on your phone. Don’t ditch the phone yet. Use it for motivation.
Turn on Pandora, pop in your headphones, and find a motivational song or beat to listen to while you take a brisk walk around the building you work at. Some places of business actually have little gyms you can work out at during your lunch time or on your breaks. if your gym is nearby, you can even squeeze in a workout during your workday.
4. Commute By Bike!
Hey, if it’s a sunny morning, and you’ve gotten up 30 minutes earlier and completed a quick exercise routine (ahem tip #1) then you have some extra energy and there’s no reason why you can’t hop on your bike and head to work. If you can’t bike in your usual work attire, just pack a quick change of clothing into your backpack and head out.
If you pedal at a pace of 14 to 16 mph for a total of 30 minutes, you can burn about 420 calories. If your job is a little further and you pedal for 1 hour, you can double the calorie burn with a total of 840 calories burned. Don’t forget your trip back home!
5. Park Farther Away.
How often are you fighting with another driver trying to win the closest parking spot at the store? Well if you’re going to try this whole “incorporating exercise any way you can” thing, then we’ve got another suggestion. Park your car farther away from the entrance of a store, or business. Wherever you’re running your errands, park far away so you can get those extra steps in and burn a few extra calories.
A 5 minute brisk walk can burn around 35 calories. It doesn’t sound like much on its own, but if you’re doing this regularly, it will add up and pay off. If you park in a parking garage at work, park farther away from the elevator and stairs, and then- you guessed it! Take the stairs.
6. Don’t Sit Too Long.
Studies show that individuals who sit too long for work are twice as likely as those who move around regularly to get heart disease. Being motionless and inactive for long periods of time is bad for your health. The seated position also puts a huge stress on your back, neck, and spine. After a long period of sitting, your posture is likely to suffer which causes a slew of other issues. Get up and walk around for a few minutes every half an hour when you’re at work, or working on the computer from home. Your back will thank you. Which brings us to our next tip.
7. Invest In A Standing Desk.
Sales of standing desks skyrocketed in the past few years, and in many cases their sales have far surpassed those of traditional desks. Why are they all the rage? Studies show that long hours of sitting are linked with a higher risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even premature death. Standing rather than sitting, may also decrease neck and back pain.
You can invest in a custom built standing desk, or turn your conventional desk into one by propping up your computer and standing while you work. Either way you decide to use a standing desk, remember that it’s going to be an adjustment at first. Switching to a standing desk and going 8 hours standing instead of sitting may come with its own side effects. For instance, so much standing when your body isn’t used to it can cause feet and leg pain. So start slow; stand for 30 minutes, then sit for 30 minutes.
8. Do It Yourself.
Today we trade in hard earned money for convenience and save ourselves a lot of time. You used to be able to only get pizza and wings delivered and they were usually so busy you’d just change your mind. But now you have the option to choose your meal to be delivered from nearly any restaurant in town. You can even have beer delivered to your door! Many people have personal shoppers get their groceries for them, and others have somebody clean their houses.
But just think- if you did these things yourself you could use it as a way to incorporate exercise into your day. Instead of having someone do it for you, head out to the supermarket and spend an hour walking around grocery shopping. One hour of brisk walking burns approximately 190 calories. Clean your own home to incorporate exercise and stretches into your day, and go pick up your own take out.
9. Move While Watching TV.
If you’ve got a favorite show you love to binge watch, and find yourself sitting on the couch with chips and a glass of wine, consider how many calories you’re gaining and how many you could be losing. Roll out a mat on the floor in front of the tv, bring out the free weights, and begin exercising! You can move your treadmill into the living room or loft area, wherever you keep your tv and jog while you watch.
10. Be Active With Friends.
When your friends call you and invite you to watch a movie, suggest going for a hike on an interesting trail instead. There are plenty of active things you can do when you hang out that are beneficial to your overall health and that can help you lose weight. If you want to meet your friends somewhere for lunch, suggest heading to the farmer’s market and taking a long stroll before you grab a bite. You can even take your bikes there, instead of driving. Movement is so important for your body; it affects everything from circulation to digestion, metabolism and immunity. Exercise boosts your mood, helps control your weight, fights off diseases, improves sleep and memory. It gives you energy when you feel in the slumps. A lack of exercise leads to health problems, weight gain, and chronic inflammation. Your body needs exercise, and there are tons of easy ways to add exercise into your routine each and every day!