Regular exercise is crucial not only for maintaining a healthy weight, but also for keeping the body as strong, fit and youthful as possible. Getting enough daily movement isn’t always easy, and some of us have enough on our plates without having to worry about putting aside even more time to exert ourselves.
Luckily, numerous opportunities for daily exercise are hiding in plain sight, and even small contributions can add up. By sneaking in these tiny opportunities, we can build better habits and improve ourselves without feeling too put out.
Take the Farther Parking Spot
I have the most magical luck when it comes to finding parking spots right in front of wherever I’m going. As grateful as I am for it when the weather is bad or I’m feeling unwell, I often use it to cheat myself out of walking longer lengths when the 50 or 100 extra steps would probably do me some good.
I’ll make an effort to park closer to the back of the lot (where safety allows, of course), if you’ll take on the challenge with me. Are we on?
Be Mindful About Housework
It’s tedious and sometimes a little gross, but housework is a necessity no matter how you look at it. Housework can also be great exercise, helping to improve overall health and even improving sleep quality at night.
Even more, the way we frame the activity could affect its impacts on the body. Researchers conducting one study recruited hotel maids to investigate the effects of mindset and physical improvement. They found that the mere act of telling someone that their work was exercise led to weight loss, reduced blood pressure, and healthier BMIs in those subjects without any changes in their work habits.
So, the next time you do a chore, tell yourself, I’m giving myself a short workout; I’m strengthening my body and getting my blood pumping. As silly as the act might seem, it could actually make a difference.
Play a Game
What better excuse to get the family together or invite over a few close friends than to have some good, healthy fun? Play capture the flag, hide and seek or some other memorable childhood game. Or step it up a notch and organize a game of flag football, basketball or laser tag.
Who says playing is only for kids? It’s great exercise and a lot of fun.
Dance, Dance, Dance!
One of the easiest ways to get the body moving is to get into the rhythm of a good song. Hum a tune, play something fun and uplifting or just think of your favorite beat, and then let your body sway along. This option could be especially helpful for older adults, who may have a harder time finding ways to stay active.
Research has shown dancing can improve health, lower risks for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers, and reduce the chances of mobility disabilities later in life. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or formal, and you don’t need much room, so you can do it almost anywhere.
Keep Weights and/or Exercise Mat by the TV
You might be surprised by how much exercise time you’re missing out on during inactive moments. Especially for people who watch television or stream their favorite movies and shows multiple times each week, there’s a whole world of untapped potential.
The television can be a great distractor when you’re trying to work up a sweat or build some muscle. By keeping weights or other equipment assessable, you can weave in small bits of workout time without feeling too put out.
Staying active doesn’t require a grueling daily regimen or expensive gym membership – it just takes a little creativity. If past approaches haven’t worked, maybe it’s time to take a different one. Try sneaking in the bulk of your exercise instead tackling long, arduous commitments. After all, some is better than none at all, and you can always add to the regimen. And remember to reinforce every move with thoughts of self-empowerment, health and strength. Your body will thank you.