When life gets hectic, our health is one of the first areas to suffer. Maybe you tell yourself “there’s just no time,” and before you know it, you’ve gained weight, become stressed out, and feel like you’ve lost all control over your health.
Here are some creative ways to keep moving throughout the day and get the benefits of an active lifestyle without setting aside time to hit the gym.
1. Take a lunch break. Studies have shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time can contribute to metabolic syndrome, heart attacks, diabetes, obesity and even cancer. Desk jobs can be detrimental to your health in these cases. Take regular breaks to stretch and walk around the office, and go on a walk after eating lunch to help with digestion. A light stroll after your meal will also help you clear your mind for better focus.
2. Bike or walk to work. If you normally drive or take public transportation to work, bike or walk instead. By getting in some activity before you get to work, you’ll jumpstart your metabolism and have more energy and a sharper focus to get tasks done.
3. Do short bursts of activity. You don’t have to workout for 30 minutes in one shot to reap the benefits of exercise. Studies have shown that short bursts of activity throughout the day can be just as effective. Take a break every hour or two and do a set of pushups, crunches, squats or stair climbing for a few minutes to get your metabolism revved up again.
4. Clean house. Choosing to do everyday chores such as cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, or walking the dog instead of hiring a dogwalker is a great way to stay active throughout the day.
5. Take the stairs. Instead of taking the elevator or escalator, hit the stairs. You’ll burn calories and tone at the same time.
6. Park farther away. Instead of looking for the closest parking spot, opt for one that’s farther away. Not only will you find a parking place much quicker, but you’ll also get in some brisk walking that will help you stay in shape.
7. Dance. There’s a reason that Zumba and Bollywood-style fitness classes have skyrocketed in popularity: They’re fun! When hanging out with friends, find some place with good music and get out on the dance floor. You’ll be twisting and turning, torching calories, and toning your abs without even feeling like you’re working out.
8. Exercise your mind! Staying fit doesn’t only refer to taking care of your body, but also your mind. Excess stress can lead to weight gain and other serious health conditions. Taking some time throughout the day to clear your head will help to reduce your stress levels. Find a quiet space and take 5 to 15 minutes in the morning and evening to close your eyes, clear your thoughts, and breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.
9. Whatever you choose, make it fun! If you’re going to the park or a picnic, throw around a Frisbee or play some touch football. When you’re doing fun things that are active, you won’t feel as pressured to set aside additional time to hit the gym.