Let’s be real, getting in an hour at the gym three or four times a week doesn’t fit into everyone’s schedule. But you’ve got more chances to exercise throughout the day than you probably realize. A few minutes here and there combined with some minor lifestyle changes will have you burning extra calories without much effort at all.
Make Yourself Walk
Park as far away from your daily destinations as possible, like in the last row of the parking lot, the top of the parking garage, or a few blocks away from the restaurant where you have dinner reservations. Never, ever take the elevator, up or down. Take the long route on your evening walk or on your way to and from your lunch destination. Wherever you see opportunities for extra movement in your day, take them.
Ride Your Bike
Can you get to work without driving on the highway? If you can, then ditch your car and ride your bike. You get a pass if it’s below freezing, raining, or you have to wear extra fancy clothes to work for an important client meeting. Otherwise, that daily bike ride is like hitting the stationary bike at the gym for 20 to 40 minutes. You have to go to work anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone?
Track Your Steps
You don’t need a fancy step counter or a fitness band to track your daily steps and set step goals. Your smartphone probably has a step counter built in. The Apple iPhone 6 has a great health app which includes a step counter. Set a daily goal for yourself, like 10,000 steps, then do whatever you can to reach the goal, even if it means walking around the living room while you’re reading a book or replying to emails on your phone. The iPhone 6’s large Retina HD display makes it easy to see your progress at a glance, even when you’re using it for other things. The health app counts flights of stairs and miles traveled, too, so you can set more specific goals.
Start an Active Trend
If you and your friends have a weekly happy hour plan, coffee date, or movie night, shake things up a bit. Every other week, or even once a month, propose an outing into nature instead. Go on a walk or a hike at a local park. Play a game of soccer, frisbee, or tennis. Take someone’s dog out on a fun walk. Instead of sitting for that hour, you’ll be moving and burning calories.
Exercise While You Watch TV
Many of us have exercise equipment in the house somewhere, even if we don’t use it regularly. So, inspire yourself to get on the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike more often by putting a TV in front of it. When your favorite show is on, do some light exercise for that hour instead of parking yourself on the couch. You don’t have to do intense cardio; even a moderately paced walk on the treadmill for an hour will do your body good.
Shape magazine reports that fidgety people burn up to 108 extra calories a day, so if you’re feeling restless, don’t fight it! When you’re sitting down at work, change position, tap your feet, or swivel around in your chair. When you’re standing in line, shift your weight between your feet. Those extra calories add up in the long run, and you won’t even notice you’re burning them.
Set a Timer
Devote two minutes each hour to small exercises or stretches you can do at your desk, or in the break room at work. Do a little Googling, and you’ll realize many health websites have resources devoted to exercises and stretches formulated so you can do them right at your desk. Health Magazine has a list of yoga poses that are possible without even getting up from your chair.
The goal here is to alter your life a little bit at a time to fit in more exercise. Calorie burning doesn’t have to happen in spin class or running flat-out on the treadmill at the gym. These small activities add up and will have you deleting laziness from your daily routine.