Exercise is a key contributor to living a healthy lifestyle. It improves your quality of life, health and puts you in a better mood. Most of us find it difficult to fit in a consistent exercise routine into our daily lives.
Sneaking cardio into daily life can save time and improve fitness. The more time getting moving in our daily lives means less time sitting, which can lower the risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and early death. While intense exercise is good for us, it doesn’t completely erase the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, so making an effort to get moving throughout the day can have some serious long-term benefits.
So how much cardio is enough, and what are some ways to fit it in? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise, plus two days per week strength training.
Whether it’s 30 continuous minutes of activity or three 10 minute sessions, here are 12 simple ways to get more active even for the busiest person.
1. Take The Stairs: But consider taking them one at a time, not two. Researchers found that while the rate of caloric expenditure is higher when taking two at a time, the burn over an entire flight is more when taking one at a time. In one study, participants climbed a 15-meter stairway five times a day with an average of 302 calories burned per week using one step and 266 calories per week using the double step..
2. Meetings On The Go: Hold walking meetings with co-workers. While moderate walking uses almost two-and-a-half times the energy of sitting in a meeting, mobile meetings can also strengthen work relationships, improve health, and boost creativity.
3. Hydrate frequently: Getting lots of water means more trips to the bathroom (drinking water might also help ramp up metabolism). Pick a bathroom on a different floor, and visit it often.
ON THE GO
4. No more lazy layovers: Stuck in the airport because of a delayed flight? Don’t just sit there. Do terminal laps, but skip the moving sidewalks!
5. Ditch the drive: Bike or walk to work instead. In addition to adding stress, commuting via public transportation or car can rack up sitting time and lead to weight gain.
6. Cleaning machine: Chores need to get done, so why not make them into a workout? Vacuuming can burn about 75 calories in half an hour, while washing the car uses more than double that.
7. Search for shade: While running errands, park in the shadiest spot, not the closest, to log more steps and keep the car cool.
8. Grocery Laps: Browsing the perimeter of a grocery store can do more than just promote healthy food choices. Take a couple of laps to compare prices and rack up some steps! Pushing a cart around the grocery store uses 105 to 155 calories in a half-hour. Bonus points for lugging home the groceries.
9. Shake it up: Dance to your favorite beat. Just 30 minutes, about seven or eight songs of fast dancing can use up 180 to 266 calories..
10. Sexercise ! 30 minutes of sex can burn 85 calories or more. “It may not sound like much, but it adds up: 42 half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound.
11. “Shopping is my cardio”: Carrie Bradshaw's words of wisdom. A two-hour shopping expedition uses almost 300 calories, or 75 per half-hour. Shoppaholics hit the shops !
12. Game night: So-called “exergames” such as the Wii Fit Plus have been shown to use up to three times more energy than just sitting. But while these games are better than lazing on the couch, energy burn can vary quite a bit depending on the game.
As you can see, exercise doesn’t have to be done at the gym, on a track, or even in workout clothes. Little bits of exercise throughout the day can add up — just get creative! Pair some of these exercise tips with some strength training and you’ll be meeting the weekly recommendations for exercise.
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !