No matter how old you are, there never seems to be enough time to work out. But even when life feels like a never-ending whirlwind of activity, it’s still possible to keep off the fat. In a study conducted by Mayo Clinic researcher James Levine, subjects who didn’t gain weight (despite eating the same amount as everyone else) moved around more, often unconsciously. In fact, it didn’t take much to make a difference: everything from taking a quick stroll down the street for a coffee to standing at their desk allowed people to stave off weight gain. For a few ideas on how to stay active throughout your day, here are eight fitness hacks that go beyond taking the stairs.
Ride your bike to work
Commuting can be a huge time waster, which is why it feels even more rewarding to get exercise in on your way to and from work. If you’re not walking distance to work, invest in a good bike and get cycling. Sure, you might get sweaty along the way, but there are lots of great baskets and bags that can easily attach to your bike so you can pack a change of clothes. There should also be enough room to store a few important documents and your lunch—in separate pockets of course.
Run your errands—literally
Okay, we don’t actually expect you to run from store-to-store, but if you own a car, it’s easy to get in the habit of driving between parking lots, even when the stores are just a few hundred metres away. If you’re planning to cross a lot off your list at once, or pick up a bunch of groceries, you can still run your errands by foot. There are lots of foldable trolleys that you can wheel around with you, which should carry everything you need. This is all about burning calories, but don’t be surprised if it ends up being just as time efficient—it’s amazing how many minutes you’ll save when you don’t have to worry about finding parking spaces.
Get a taller desk
In recent years, numerous studies have been published about the negative effects sitting can have on your health, from adding inches to your waistline to taking years off your life. So while standing might not burn a ton of calories, it will get you off your butt. Once you’re up, you’ll be more likely to grab a glass of water, make that extra trip to the restroom, and even do some stretching.
Crank up the tunes
No matter what you’re doing—cooking dinner, cleaning the house, getting ready to go out for the day—throw on some music. It won’t just put you in a good mood, but the more often you have music on, the more likely you are to start busting a move. And all that spontaneous hip shaking is just one more thing to keep you in shape.
Hold standing meetings
If you don’t need to be tethered to your computer or desk, don’t be. When it’s time to take a break and discuss ideas with others, get up from your chair and go for a walk. With everyone carrying a smartphone, there’s no reason you can’t jot ideas down on the go. This won’t only be beneficial to you and your colleagues’ health, it will also make you more productive. Studies have shown that getting your blood pumping can help you think more clearly, leading to better brainstorms and problem-solving sessions.
Track your steps
At first glance, tracking your steps doesn’t sound like any way to add fitness to your day, but sometimes, it’s all about accountability. We can almost guarantee that once you start paying attention to how many steps you’re taking, you’ll never let yourself have a lazy day again—at least not throughout the week.
Keep a tidy house
Sweeping, scrubbing the floors, and washing the windows is hard work, so it should come as no surprise that you can burn some serious calories taking care of these chores. And it gets even easier when you head outside: instead of paying the neighbour to mow your lawn, why not pocket the money, do it yourself, and burn some fat in the process? Same goes for shovelling snow. Of course when it comes to outdoor cleanup, there’s often a lot of heavy lifting or pushing involved, so it’s important to practice proper technique.
Unplug for a few hours
Put down your phone and step away from your TV. While it’s natural to want to shut off your brain and decompress at the end of the day, there are other—and likely healthier—ways to do it, like walking the dog, puttering around the garden, or even playing a fun backyard game like badminton or bocce ball. That’s the beauty of it, once you turn off your electronics and stop obsessively checking your phone, it will suddenly feel like you have a lot more free time on your hands.
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