How To Make Physical Activity Part Of Your Daily Life
We all know exercise is good for us. We all know we should work out. Yet it’s all too easy to leave fitness off your daily to-do list, with excuses like lack of time, lack of energy or simply lack of motivation. People often see exercise as an “all or nothing” task where unless you work out until the sweat is dripping, you may as well not bother. But research shows that moderate exercise and activity, even when broken up into small increments, can be just as beneficial as those hard-hitting gym visits. With just a few simple tweaks to your life, you can incorporate physical activity into your daily routine in a way that is manageable while still offering far-reaching health benefits.
Here are five ways to make physical activity part of your daily life.
1. Park across the parking lot
How many times have you driven in circles in the parking lot of the grocery store, looking for that elusive close parking space? You might think you’re saving time by parking closer, but the minutes wasted driving around could be better used by moving your feet! Go ahead and park in the back half of the parking lot and walk in. You’ll burn calories, get some fresh air and even get a bit of an upper body workout pushing that cart back to your car when you leave.
2. Take the stairs
Fighting for space in a crowded elevator is never appealing and is sometimes downright claustrophobic. If you work in a multi-floor building, why not take the stairs? Stair-climbing is one of the best aerobic exercises you can do for your body, as it increases your heart rate almost immediately and quickly builds core muscle strength. Just taking the stairs twice a day at work can improve your lung capacity, tone those legs and calves and make a big difference in your overall health and fitness.
3. Get a dog (or borrow one)
While it might not be feasible to get a dog, many shelters or rescue groups have programs for volunteers to do daily dog walking or fostering. Signing up to walk shelter dogs is not only good for your health, it’s a rewarding way to give back. If you already have a dog, or are thinking of getting one, remember that even low-energy breeds benefit from regular exercise. By getting out and walking them every day, you are potentially extending their life span, as well as your own.
4. Lose your car keys
Do you live a block from the corner store, but find yourself driving there anyway because you simply don’t have time to walk? You might think it’s faster to drive, but if you figure in the time it takes to get your stuff together, start your car and hit those stoplights (and don’t forget the driving in circles through the parking lot!) it might be almost as fast to walk. It only takes the average person about 15 minutes to walk one mile, which is a fairly moderate pace and not a huge chunk out of anyone’s day. Not to mention, you’ll be saving wear and tear on your vehicle, as well as the environment.
5. Do your own yard and house work
Most of us spend a few hours a week cleaning or working in the yard, but rarely count it as exercise. Surprisingly, chores like vacuuming or mowing the lawn can burn up to 150 calories, providing more of a workout than you might think. So, rather than paying a neighbor kid to mow the lawn or hiring a housekeeper, do it yourself. You’ll feel better, your lawn will look great and your pocketbook will thank you too!