Whether you have a specific fitness goal or are just trying to stay healthy, exercising regularly is an integral part of any healthy lifestyle. Experts recommend working out 45 minutes to an hour a day (30 minutes for beginners) for weight loss and fitness. The best way to do this is to make exercise a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth. If you’re like most people and find it hard to motivate yourself to get to the gym, find a class that sounds fun or enlist a family member or friend as a workout buddy. Finding that external support not only makes it more fun, but creates a sense of accountability that really works!
That being said, not everyone has a block of 30 to 60 minutes a day to devote exclusively to working out. But fear not! Breaking your exercise into 10-minute increments can also have a beneficial effect on your health if you do it consistently. Especially during the holiday season, it can be hard to squeeze in your workout, but we’ve got some tips for you to sneak in a bit more exercise during the festive season as well as in your daily routine.
1) Walk the dog, play with the kids. Volunteer to take care of the dog and the kids, and when you walk with them, put some oomph into it! Walk a little further, chase a little faster. They’ll love you for it and you’ll get out of breath sooner than you know it.
2) Do your chores. Help to clear the table and clean the kitchen after your holiday meal, or clean your house on a normal weekend. All that wiping, vacuuming and mopping will get your heart rate up, especially if you do it with energy. Other ways to get clean & lean are to wash your car by hand, take up gardening, and to mow the lawn with a push mower.
3) Liven up your entertainment. Do jumping jacks or jump rope while watching TV, or if that’s too noisy save those for the commercials and do crunches and squats during the program. If you enjoy video games, make sure to get some that are more sporty like wii fit!
4) Take the long way. In your daily routine there are always ways to take the long way. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the opposite end of the entrance of where you’re going. On your next coffee break, walk to the coffee shop that’s further away and add in an extra lap around the block. Get off the bus or subway 1 stop early and walk the rest of the way. So many alternatives! What other ways could you take the long way in your routine?
5) Get up from your desk. If you work a desk job, drink lots of water while you’re working so that it forces you to get up to go to the bathroom. I’m not joking. Also, rather than calling or emailing colleagues, get up and walk over to them to talk in person. It’s possible that might just make it a more effective conversation as well.
6) Speed walk errands. Sure we all have to run errands. But can you walk your errands, and walk quickly? Get your arms into it to and pump them forwards and backwards with your pace for a bit more cardio. If they’re not too heavy, carry your grocery/shopping bags rather than using a cart.
7) Pick big weekend activities. Pick weekend activities that are in large spaces where you know you’ll have to walk. For example, go to a museum, a fair or an outdoor market. If you’re watching the kids’ game on a field (e.g. soccer, baseball) walk up and down the field sidelines while watching them play.
8) Do a mini workout in your room. No it’s not the gym, but you can get your heart rate up for 10 minutes and feel great! Turn on some music and dance to your heart’s content. Or do 50 crunches and pushups – it only takes 5 minutes! Check out more workout ideas our Pinterest board.
And don’t forget, have fun with it! Increasing your physical activity level can be invigorating and energizing, really! So even if you’re feeling tired and sluggish, just commit and take that extra step and make yourself do it. Use water, your breath, and any music to give you fuel for your workout and get movin’!