It can be easy to forget about exercise the second you walk out of the gym. But the reality is, your exercise regime should not live solely within those steamy walls. Exercising should be an integral part of your daily life.
For some people, that means running everywhere, swimming every lunch break, lengthy cycles at the weekend or living in your active wear.
But others may struggle to find the time or motivation for these types of activities.
That’s why it’s time to change the way you think about exercise. It doesn’t have to mean hitting the stairmaster or pummelling a boxing bag – it can be way more functional than that.
Think taking the stairs instead of the lift, walk up the escalators instead of standing still, engage your core while standing at the back of a crowded bus. It may not be as sweaty as a gym workout, but it’s still doing good – every little helps.
These little activities will still challenge your heart, lungs and muscles, bringing about change and supporting your efforts in the gym helping you to achieve results.
So here are five ways to ramp up your incidental exercise, with your health and fitness reaping the benefits.
Get a pedometer or a fitness watch
As much as we’d love to be with you 24/7, it’s just not possible, so find another way to be kept accountable.
Fitness watches or pedometers are super convenient to carry with you at all times and can give you that motivational boost to get moving. You’ll soon be challenging yourself to beat your daily step count and getting fitter in the process.
Ditch the car
It’s all too easy to grab the car keys when you realise you’re out of milk, but as convenient as zipping to the shops in the motor can be, why not head there on foot instead?
Take a time out, enjoy the sunshine, breathe in the fresh air. It will take longer, but the benefits will be worth it.
If you spend a lot of time talking on the phone, make sure you aren’t sitting still. Use your mobile or a cordless phone, and walk around the house will you hold your conversation.
You could also take the opportunity to do some housework – another good way to work up a sweat.
Take the stairs
Unless you’re headed to the top floors of an immense skyscraper, why not ditch the lift or escalator in favour of the stairs?
It’s an easy way to squeeze in some incidental exercise, and save time waiting around for the lift to make its way from floor to floor – win win!
Go the long way around
Jump off the bus or train a couple of stops early on your way home from work and walk the rest of the way. It’s a great way to minimise your time packed like a sardine on public transport during rush hour and is the perfect way to unwind after a long day.
By the time you get home, you’ll be ready to relax.
If you took the car, make sure you park a little further away, forcing you to walk further.
Have a walking lunch
Instead of shovelling a sandwich during a brief five minutes before you get back to shuffling the pile of papers on your desk, take a proper break. By that we mean, get out of the office!
Take a 10 or even a 20 minute walk and then come back to work sated, refreshed and ready to go again.
Don’t be a couch potato
Evenings can often see people vegged in front of the TV, so why not use that time for something a little bit more productive while still enjoying your favourite shows.
Invest in a swiss ball, a resistance band or a foam roller and use the time to target specific muscles, work on your core or roll out any tightness. You can even use the swiss ball at work as a replacement chair that will improve your posture.
Pull on those rubber gloves
Did you know that an hour of housework can burn around 165 calories? Cleaning windows, scrubbing the floors are all jobs that get the heart pumping.
So stop thinking of the household chores as onerous. Start thinking of them as an amazing opportunity to help you along your way on your fitness journey while also keeping your home spick and span.
It doesn’t have to stop at housework either. Busying yourself around the house doing DIY is also a great way to burn some calories. Head outside to do some gardening and get back to nature in the process.
No garden? Then get the car soaped down and polished – save yourself those hefty carwash fees!
Get a four-legged friend
Most dogs need two walks per day, so having a canine in the family is a great way to stay active. It’s also been proven that stroking a dog can decrease levels of stress hormones, regulate breathing, and lower blood pressure.
So keep your four-legged friend happy and keep yourself healthy in the process!
Cut down on those emails
We’ve traded personal interactions for a few lines sent by email. It’s easier, it’s quicker, but is it more effective?
Try hopping up from your desk and actually go over and speak to your colleagues – you’ll find that face to face communication is a much better way of building rapport, and it’ll keep you fitter at the same time.
Get down with the kids
Spending some quality time with your offspring is a sure fire way to burn some serious calories and also get those endorphins pumping.
Even if you don’t have your own, babysit someone else’s – all that running around is bound to do you some good.
How do you ensure you’re moving enough during your day to day activities?