Physical activity is essential to leading a healthy lifestyle, but if you’re very sedentary, you may feel unprepared to jump into a full-blown exercise routine. Taking baby steps toward physical fitness is a less intimidating way to ease yourself into exercising. Here are some simple ways you can work more movement into your day.
Avoid vegging completely when watching TV. You don’t have to use all your screen time working out, but doing some crunches, jumping jacks, squats and lunges during the commercial breaks will help you tone your muscles and improve your strength and flexibility. There are even compact cycling machines that you can place in front of the couch; this way, you can pedal away while watching your favorite shows.
Stop parking by the door or entrance of your destination, and stay away from the elevator. Climbing stairs is not only better for your cardiovascular health, but it tones your legs. The extra steps you take walking from the building, beach, supermarket or other location to your car will certainly add up over the course of a week or a month.
Better yet, don’t drive your car any place that you can easily reach by foot or by bicycle. Not only is this better for the environment, but you can squeeze some much-needed exercise into your routine. If time allows, take an extra-long route to reach your destination to burn extra calories.
Tone up while doing other activities. While talking on the phone, brushing your teeth, waiting for food to cook in the microwave or doing any other mundane, 5-minute task, you can certainly perform a few lunges or another simple exercise. Squatting down to pick something up off the floor? Do a few extra while you’re down there!
When you do find some free time, use it for exercising. Your schedule may be too busy to allow for hour-long workouts, but ten minutes here and ten minutes there of purposeful, intentional exercises can hugely impact your fitness level. Try squeezing in ten minutes of cardio when you undress after work in the evening–no one will see you doing jumping jacks or jogging in place in your bedroom!
Walking is a great form of exercise, and it’s one that you can do almost anywhere. If you arrive early to an appointment, stroll around the building or walk a few laps around the parking lot. Take a family walk in the evening after dinner to promote good digestion and burn a few extra calories. Wearing a pedometer may encourage you to look for other ways to fit walking into your day; set a goal of 5,000 daily steps to start, and increase the number of steps as you become more fit. This is a great way to transition into a full-blown exercise program.
When jumping right into a fitness routine feels too daunting, working small bursts of exercise into your day may be a better option–it’s certainly better than sitting on the sofa! Use these tips to enhance your fitness a little at a time, and you will be ready for “real” workouts before you know it.