Only about 25% of North American adults exercise regularly. In addition to that most of us spend our time performing sedentary tasks like driving to work, sitting at the desk, eating in the cafeteria, shopping online, playing video games, watching TV and reading in bed.
Lack of Exercise is bad for your health
A lack of exercise or activity leads to inevitable things like insulin resistance, decreasing good cholesterol levels and weight gain. It increases chronic inflammation, tightens muscles and plays havoc with our appetite regulation hormones.
Your bodies are designed to move
And we know that. We don’t need studies to tell us that inactivity threatens our overall health and mental well-being.
It’s just that there never seems to be time to exercise. So here are some easy ways to sneak exercise into your day.
#1 – Wake up 10 minutes earlier
Exercising in the morning gets your metabolic rate going. Studies claim that when you exercise in the morning you burn more calories throughout the day.
Find a 10 minutes workout of your choice to follow on YouTube and do it before your brain wakes up. It will also make you feel energized and gives you a sense of accomplishment throughout the day. And don’t postpone it to the evening. Exercise increases cortisol levels, which interferes with a restful sleep.
#2 – Wear ankle weights when walking
Muscles are your friends. The more lean muscles you have the more calories per day your body will burn for energy. So whenever you walk ramp up your calorie-burning potential and activate your muscles by strapping on a pair of ankle weights.
#3 – Walk a little extra whenever you walk
Walking is a low-impact exercise. You won’t burn a lot of calories but there are other benefits to movement like lubricating joints and connective tissue or giving blood circulation a small boost.
So whenever you can do some extra steps, do them. Park your car a little further away from the entrance. Take the second closest bus stop to your house. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Do an extra round while walking the dog.
#4 – Do isometric exercise in the elevator
Isometric exercise is when you squeeze a muscle without actually moving your muscle. For instance: Contract your abs as you would anticipate a hit to your stomach. Exhale and pull your abs towards your spine. Hold this for a five count and repeat.
The possibilities are endless. Think biceps, chest or lower body. It is questionable if isometric exercise builds strength effectively but it sure can help to maintain muscle strength.
#5 – Don’t sit for too long, move whenever you can
And that goes for everybody – even if you exercise on a regular basis or would consider yourself a competitive, fit athlete. Sitting for too long still endangers your health according to a TIME magazine article.
A fitness routine does not counteract the effects of prolonged sitting. Some experts say that you should get up every 15 minutes and provide motion and stretching to your body.
#6 – Get an activity tracker
I invested in an activity tracker that encourages me to move after I sit still for too long. You are going to be surprised. Sedentary sitting time ads up.
Driving to work, eating meals, participating in meetings, working at your desk, playing computer games, or watching TV. Rethink your day’s routine. Which of your daily chores can you do while moving? How about walking meetings?
See also: How much exercise is enough to lose weight.
#7 – Get a standing desk or a riser
You can’t get moving while you are working because you have to be at your desk? No problem. Get a riser for your desk so you can move from sitting to standing in seconds. To top it off stand on a balance pad, which creates movement and cushions your feet at the same time.
#8 – Regard your furniture as gym equipment
You can sit on a park bench but you also could challenge your triceps while doing some bench dips. Your kitchen counter is a great tool to do push ups.
Try to get up from your chair with one leg off the ground or sit a while with your feet off the ground. Instead of walking up stairs try to jump up the stairs. By the way baby strollers can be pushed while jogging.
#9 – Hire people to be inactive for you
Are you paying people to be active? Does someone get your groceries? Do you employ a gardener or cleaning lady? How about paying people for doing your inactive chores like bookkeeping or researching and hand wash your own car?
#10 – Be active while watching TV
Let’s be honest. We spend a lot of time sitting in front of the TV. If you need to watch all your favorite TV shows, than try to fit some activity in.
Does your TV desk need some dusting, the cat some grooming? You can fold laundry or clean the fridge while watching TV. Some even have perfected the skill of lifting weights while being entertained.
However, if activity and exercise is important to you, than you will find a way to sneak exercise into your day, if not, you will find an excuse. Moving your body will put a smile on your face.