Working Out Without Going To the Gym
The gym isn’t the only place where you can get in shape. Often, small activities around the home and office can make a big difference in the way you feel. To make the most of your busy schedule and cramped space, try adding the following fitness into your life:
Take the stairs. Every time you arrive at the office or come home from work, make a point of taking the stairs. First, nothing feels better as a start to the day or after long hours of sitting at a desk. Second, the movement gets your heart rate up, which burns energy. You can walk or run up the stairs as high as the seventh floor (for beginners). If you live or work above that, consider taking the lift part of the way, then walking or running up the remaining flights of stairs.
Walk on the phone. There’s no rule that says you must sit while talking on the phone. Maybe it’s more comfortable, but it’s also an opportunity missed for movement, as phones are portable. Every time you receive a call, get up and walk around, even if it’s for a few minutes only. As a bonus, the action of getting up from the chair and sitting back down is a squat, which works your glute (butt) muscles.
Stretch at your desk. No one wants to be That Person who stops for calisthenics breaks at the office, but stretches don’t have to be over the top. They can be subtle and disguised as natural motions. Every hour, take a few minutes to twist your torso from side-to-side, roll your shoulders and neck up, back and down, and extend your arms above your head. Daily, simple stretches can mobilize and reduce the stiffness and back pain that can accompany long hours spent sitting. If you can get up and walk around while doing these exercises, all the better.
Sit on a Swiss ball. These large, rubber, inflatable balls may not be welcome in all offices, and if they’re not welcome in yours, consider one for home. It’s impossible to slouch when sitting on a Swiss ball, which means your core muscles are constantly engaged, turning sitting into an exercise itself. (Pro tip: Swiss balls are also excellent seats for kids who have too much energy, as that energy will be redirected to keeping themselves seated and upright.)
Park and walk. Parking is always at a premium in our cities, and it’s a coup when you find a space close to your destination. But let that motivation go. Instead, embrace parking farther away and consider the extra time spent walking, part of your exercise for the day; the daily recommended 10,000 steps is not an easy goal if you hop straight from one chair to another.
Get in touch with your inner child. There’s nothing like playing with kids to get your spirits and your heart rate up. If you have children, stage pillow fights, games of tag, or wrestle on the bed with them. Any kind of controlled, physical fun will leave you exhausted and happy. If you don’t have children, consider buying a scooter and use it to get around—just alternate which leg you use to power the scooter so you don’t develop one over the other.
Do chores. No one likes chores, and often we employ people to do them for us. But chores get us moving and burning fat more than you think. Folding laundry, putting away groceries, and ironing keep us on our feet, bending, reaching and moving for sustained amounts of time—the very definition of exercise!