Staying healthy and fit can feel like a chore when your days are packed with work, house chores, and running the kids to and from their activities. Spending an hour working out at the gym is just one more to-do that you have to check off your daily list.
Put down that pencil and paper and pay close attention. There are a number of small changes you can make that can help you stay fit without churning out miles on the treadmill. Recent studies show that time spent on incidental physical activities like walking up stairs improves an individual’s fitness level. By increasing these behaviors, people can enjoy health benefits identical to those attributed to participating in organized workouts.
Try integrating some of these small activities into your daily routine. You may find that you can drop that gym membership altogether!
Whenever you can, take the stairs. The more the better. Walking up and down stairs gives you a cardiovascular workout and builds up those leg muscles.
Don’t spend extra time finding a good parking spot close to the grocery store. Park as far away as you can and get those extra steps in. You’d be surprised how much distance you can put in in a day making this change. You even get some weight-bearing work in when you have to walk extra far with your arms full of all that stuff you bought.
After a meal, nothing helps digestion like a little bit of work. Cleaning the kitchen is a physical activity that isn’t so intense that it disturbs digestion, and the pay off is big leaving you with a nice, neat home at night.
A family who plays together stays together. For a workout that doesn’t feel like work, take the soccer ball to the nearest park and kick it around for a while. Or grab your rackets and hit some balls at the tennis court while enjoying a weekend picnic.
If there are errands you can run on your bike, do it! You don’t have to get a road bike and commute all of the ways across town. A simple coaster with a basket will do if you’re making your way to grab something small nearby or are just heading out for a coffee. Biking is a great cardio workout and the perfect way to get a dose of some vitamin D on a sunny day.
Set a reminder on your smartphone or computer to get up every 45 minutes and move. You can walk around the office, do squats next to your desk, lay down and get 10 sit-ups in. By the end of the workday, you’ll have gotten over an hour-long workout in.
Drink more water. Not only is it good for you, it will create the natural need to get up and take a stroll to the restroom more, killing two birds with one stone.
Chores may not be fun, but they sure do get the blood pumping. Make a chore chart for each day and conquer one task at a time. If you spread them out, each one only takes a couple of minutes and you end the day feeling accomplished and healthier.
Take your dog (or cat- hey it’s the Pacific Northwest) on a walk daily. A ten-minute jaunt will make all of the difference for both of you.
Television time gives you the perfect opportunity to hit the floor and get an end-of-day stretch session in. Flexibility is important for long-term health. Get a yoga mat and spend an hour loosening up those tired muscles. You may find you sleep better too!
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