Being resourceful with your daily routine can deliver big payoffs when it comes to increasing your activity level. Incorporating physical fitness into your everyday activities can save you time and also burn calories, and it doesn’t have to take much time or effort.
“For many people, the biggest obstacle to getting more exercise is time,” says Danielle Johnson, physical therapist and wellness physical therapist for the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. “People feel stretched between their career, child care demands and family commitments. Thinking of spending an hour extra at the gym may feel overwhelming.”
If you don’t have time to fit in a scheduled workout, try using daily tasks to incorporate fitness, Johnson advises. “You’ll still be able to reap the benefits of exercise by using small bouts of movement throughout the day. Two 10-minute walks, a few sets of stairs and some five-minute intervals of bodyweight squats, lunges or push-ups can add up to big health benefits.”
Here are some tips to get moving throughout the day:
Turn chores into exercise.
- Mow the lawn or do some gardening. The physical benefit is good for your health, plus gardening can enhance your mood, and the food you grow offers great nutritional benefits.
- Try bicycling to run errands. Leave the car in the garage and bring out your bike for a quick run to the grocery store.
- Turn household cleaning into a mini workout. “For example, mopping floors gives your shoulders and back a workout, and can burn more than 100 calories in just 30 minutes,” Johnson says.
Find fitness opportunities with friends.
- Instead of going out for dinner or drinks with friends, do something physical, like taking a walk, going for a bike ride or engaging in a physical activity like tennis or bowling.
- Take your dog to the park, or play with them in your own backyard. A game of fetch is not only great exercise for your furry friend — it works your muscles, too.
- Join or start a sports team with your friends. Whether it’s softball, basketball or soccer, taking part in a sport you enjoy will improve both your physical and mental well-being.
Stay curious and improve upon what you’re already doing.
- Do you already walk daily? Try walking faster or choose a challenging route with hills.
- Take up a new summer outdoor sport, such as canoeing, paddle boarding or inline skating.
- If there’s a cause you feel passionate about, try training to participate in a run or walk to raise funds.
- If you play golf, walk the course and carry your own clubs instead of using a cart and caddy.
“Every little bit counts,” Johnson says. “Research suggests that as little as 10 minutes of cardiovascular activity can make a big difference in your health and fitness measures. I often equate health to putting away money for retirement. Putting away savings, even in small amounts, will add up big over time. The same can be said for your health. Investing in opportunities to be active, even for short periods of time, adds up. The key is to be consistent.”