Think you are too busy to add exercise to your schedule? When you can’t seem to make time for a full workout, try these simple ways to simply move more.
You found your car keys. You found the motivation to clean out your closet. Now you can find a few minutes each day to get physically active! Don’t worry, there are plenty of easy, no-cost ways to do it.
11 Minutes a Day for a Longer, Healthier Life
It doesn’t take a huge amount of exercise to vastly increase your health. A new study from the Norwegian School of Sports Medicine indicates that getting just 11 minutes of moderate exercise every day can increase your lifespan.
Check out these easy ways to add more exercise to your daily routine!
Grab the Leash and Walk Your Dog
Power-walk or jog with your dog. Not only will you squeeze in more exercise, but your pooch will enjoy the extra walking time too. Don’t have a dog? Ask someone in your family to be your walking buddy.
A recent study found that dog owners walked about 23 minutes longer per day than non-dog owners—and they took an extra 2,760 steps a day!
To take it up a notch, jog with your dog. To take it up even higher, work in some interval training by alternating one-minute walks or slow jogs with 30 second fast sprints. The change in heart rate will help blast away fat and calories.
Take a Walk with Others
Whether you join a running club or commit to a weekly walk where you phone a friend to catch up, that social commitment can help you stay on track. Walking with a friend is one of the best things you can do for mental and physical health. You actually get physical exercise while unloading your stress and worries.
Walk and Talk
Even if you’re glued to your phone for work calls, you don’t have to be glued to your chair. Make it a habit to talk and walk. Whenever possible, get up and have a conversation with your co-workers instead of instant messaging, emailing, or calling them from your workstation.
Do you work from home? One of the benefits of working from home is that you can try and get in some movement during your meetings. If you don't need to be on video chat and you do most of your talking over the phone, why not do so while walking?
You won't just get in extra fresh air during the day, but you'll also cut your sitting time down, burn some extra calories, and return to your desk with a lot more energy.
Move on Your Lunch Hour
Avoid the temptation to eat while you work. Better yet, get outside to eat and incorporate a nice walk into your lunch break. If you find yourself frequently relying on meal delivery services to bring food straight to your office, change gears here and force yourself to walk to get your food.
Stand Up More
Sitting down puts your body in neutral – it constricts circulation, slows your metabolism, shuts off muscles and tightens your connective tissues. Even exercising for an hour a day can’t do much to compensate for the dozen or so you spend slumping in a variety of chairs. But fortunately there’s a solution: just stand up. The office won’t get you a standing desk? Suggest standing meetings as a way to prompt creativity. It’s worth it: standing burns 1.36 more calories a minute than sitting, and puts you at less risk of a host of cardiovascular diseases.
Park Further Away
The next time you go grocery shopping for the necessities, don't park in the spot closest to the door. Instead, take a spot that's further away and walk to the entrance—not only is it better to have your car far away from others' right now, but you'll get some extra steps in and build up your muscles from walking further with those heavy grocery bags.
Take the Stairs
The elevator may go up — but it doesn’t make your heart rate climb. Take the stairs when you can, even if just for a floor or two. And don’t ride the escalator – climb it. Those can be active steps, too!
On average, you could burn 2 calories each time you climb an average set of stairs. Imagine taking the stairs each day rather than the lift or escalator. This amount varies depending on your weight and how many stairs you climb, but its a good indicator of an exercise you can add into your daily routine.
Take Advantage of Technology
If you tend to get distracted by your daily tasks, set an alarm to remind yourself to get up and move. (Put it far enough away so that you actually have to get up and walk over to turn it off.) Additionally, block out fitness time slots in your calendar and set digital reminders so you observe them. Consider getting a pedometer or an activity/exercise tracker to help track your progress and keep you motivated.
Now that you know WHAT you need to do to step up your exercise, you need to make that that it actually happens.
Your Small Steps Can Lead to Big Results
Committing to just 11 minutes of exercise per day will improve your health. But also, trying to move more and sit less can help. Some physical activity is better than none, so focus on what you can do during your day.
Gather Some Group Motivation
If the thought of exercising alone doesn’t appeal to you, then recruit a friend or family member to join. Consider group activities like fitness classes or local park offerings like tennis or pickleball. You and your exercise buddies can motivate each other to stay consistent.
Remember, Convenience is Key
The more convenient your exercise routine is, the easier it will be to do it. If you have to drive out of your way to get to a fitness class, you’ll likely find excuses to skip it. Set yourself up for success and choose activities that can be done near your workplace or your home.
This also means snacking and hydrating should be convenient. Taking a nutrient-rich drink, like Amla Tea, with you while you move, is an easy way to stay hydrated.
Track Your Progress
Using an activity tracker or smart phone app to track your progress can be motivational. Most offer the ability to set small goals and gradually build on them. Seeing your progress over time can help you stay engaged and continue to exercise.