101 Simple Ways to Be More Active
Easy Ways to Be More Active
Everyone has heard it – in order to be healthy we must eat right and exercise. Many people use a busy life as justification for lack of exercise, but honestly, there is no real excuse for continuing lifestyle habits that are detrimental to overall quality of life and health. America has a real obesity problem, and it doesn't just come from our love of food, primarily it comes from an extremely sedentary lifestyle. Studies have proven our lifestyle and food habits are killing us slowly. Sometimes the biggest, most difficult journeys begin with simple steps – literally.
As a mother, full time student, and freelance worker, I know all too well the restraints of time. I have learned to get movement and motion into my days despite a very loaded schedule and you can too with a little creativity.
Any movements that are not the “norm” for our body are going to cause us to burn more calories and help rev up the metabolism. Motion also keeps us limber and helps prevent stiffness aches and pains, arthritis issues and other painful health conditions caused by a sedentary life style. Most people focus on the obvious downfall – weight gain, but not moving often enough over time leads to many other chronic health issues, including an increased risk of stroke and heart disease.
Regular movement and activity throughout the day, even in short bursts, increases metabolism, allows for proper circulation and helps joints retain their mobility.
The following is a list of 101 ways you can get more movement into your day. Even if you don't have time to go to the gym for a full workout etc. simply moving more is a great first step to better health and increased energy.
Easy Exercise Techniques Through Every Day Activity
Around the House
- If you live in a 2 story house take a few laps up and down the stairs
- Walk up the stairs two at a time
- Stand on the bottom stair with one foot, place the other foot on the floor and lift the bottom leg up do several reps on each side.
- As you walk across a room or down a hallway do lunges
- Walk backwards down the hall
- Place a pull-up bar in a sturdy doorway for easy use (and a visual reminder)
- Put hanging plants around so you have to climb up to water them
- Clean like you mean it – clean fast make it a race and try to outdo your previous time – fun and productive
- Scrub the floors by hand once in a while
- Wash the walls
- Vacuum the entire house at one time (more work that way than room by room)
- Grab a dust wand and go through the entire house doing ceiling fans, baseboards etc.
- Move the furniture and rearrange or vacuum underneath (within reason don't injure yourself)
- Forget the Swiffer – mop the old fashioned way it burns a lot of calories
- Housework is great exercise – make it count
- Clean out a closet
- Clear clutter and organize shelves
- Do a simple home renovation project like painting a room, something manageable and not overwhelming.
- Hang framed art on the walls (store other photos/prints and change them out a few times a year)
- wash/polish mirrors and windows
- Take down and clean knick-knacks and other decorative items
- Clean out the attic or basement
- Prepare and have a yard sale with all of the stuff you are cleaning up with this list ;)
While watching TV
- Get up and walk in place during the commercials (not to the kitchen!)
- Do squats – stand up and sit down through the commercials
- Do leg lifts while laying down and watching TV
- While sitting, pull both legs up towards your chest without using your arms to brace you (hard!)
- While sitting lift your feet off the floor and hold straight out in front of you for several seconds – do several reps.
- Do triceps dips by sitting on the floor in front of the couch or coffee table
- Do jumping jacks during commercial breaks
- If you have a step – do step aerobics while watching television
- Stick some resistance bands in an easy to reach location and use them to work your arms.
- Keep a pair of dumbbells nearby and lift during commercial breaks
- Jump rope – if you have room
- Keep a yoga mat handy and do yoga while watching a soothing show or listening to music
- Do a hula hoop
In the Kitchen
- Do plie squats while waiting for your food to cook
- Use the kitchen counter and do push ups bracing your hands on the counter
- Use the counter for balance and stretch your legs behind you and to the sides.
- Clean the kitchen as you wait for dinner to cook
- Serve everyone's dinner on plates from the kitchen – you have to get up to get more and it discourages overeating.
- Dance around the kitchen while you wait for food to finish do the dishes – turn on the radio.
- Put the bread machine away and knead dough by hand
- Cook the “old fashioned way” take time to chop veggies, stir by hand etc.
- Harvest veggies from your garden and make dinner fresh
In the Bathroom
- Do plie squats while brushing your teeth
- Do sideways leg lifts while brushing one minute on each leg
- Stretch in the shower while in the hot water – ahhh relaxing!
- Scrub the shower doors and walls using big circles and stretch up to get high and squat down to hit the low parts.
- Clean a bathtub thoroughly by spraying and wiping it down completely
In the Laundry
- Lift the bottles of detergent like weights
- Fold clothes while moving around
- Take the clothes out and hang them on the line to dry
- Carry clothes an armload at a time to put away (instead of all at once in a basket)
Family Room or Rec Room
- Play ping pong instead of video games
- Have an active family game night with a dance game for the wii or whatever system you have
- Build an obstacle course and do relays with family
- Play charades or Guesstures – any game that involves movement
In the Office (work or home)
- Stretch Often
- Get up every hour and walk around your office or walk to the watercooler. Try to spend five minutes of every hour moving. You'll be more productive and have more energy so the boss shouldn't complain.
- Stop and stand up and touch your toes and then stretch up high like you're reaching for the stars – repeat a few times.
- Ride your bike to work (if feasible)
- Sit on a stability ball instead of a chair – it makes your muscles work to balance yourself
- Stand – get a standing desk if possible and alternate. It is better for the body to stand for long periods than sit.
- Do arm circles – place your arms straight out to your sides and move in large circles do 50 in each direction.
- Practice holding the tummy in as you sit/stand at work (build core).
Keep track of all the calories you burn around the clock with a simple, easy to use armband that tracks calories, providing analysis on calories burned. I love that the is compatible with MyFitnessPal and SparkPeople. A great investment for those serious about losing weight and tracking health. Fitbit
It's fun to watch your numbers as you engage in these different activities. Very motivating little gadget! :)
Outside the House
- Plant and tend a garden
- Play Frisbee or catch with the kids
- Walk the dog
- Pull weeds
- Use a push lawn mower for at least part of your lawn
- Carry in groceries one bag at a time
- Take a quick walk around the block for a breather
- Build a snowman (ok so this one is seasonal lol)
- Shovel snow (or dirt for a garden in the summertime)
- Rake Leaves
- Build something – a retaining wall, brick patio, or tree-house work on it a bit each day.
- Keep a jump-rope, balls and other active toys near the door and pick them up and use them
- Wash and wax the car
- Buy a pool and use it (no need to do an in ground get one of the inflatable ones)
- Play hide and seek
- Play tag
- Set up and play washers or horseshoes
- Ride your bike around the neighborhood
- Power wash the sidewalks, siding etc
- Wash windows with a pole washer
When you leave to do errands
- Park in the far away spaces and walk
- If only picking up a few items use a basket and carry them around rather than push a cart
- Walk up and down the stairs rather than taking the elevator or escalator
- Is there a park nearby? Take a few minutes and go for a walk or play on the monkey bars
- If you are visiting places that are close to each other park in a central location and walk
- Go mall walking – take a few laps around the entire place before you go shopping
- Keep fun things in the trunk of the car – a kite, bat and ball, frisbee and while out stop to enjoy some extra activity.
- Get a book of local hiking trails and go explore them
- Buy a camera and get outdoors and take nature photographs
- Play a sport with your family
- Go on a family bike ride
- Go camping – pitch a tent, build a fire etc.
- Go to a recreation center and do something active – batting cages, driving range, mini golf etc.
- Take a martial arts or dance class on your own - get "me time" and a great workout.
Other Exercise & Weight Loss Tips:
Buy a pedometer to keep track of the amount of steps you take per day – it is very motivating and informative. It will let you know exactly how much activity you are getting.
First thing in the morning to some type of physical activity – walk on the treadmill for ten minutes, do some pushups right out of bed, anything to immediately get you moving. This gives you more energy throughout the day, revs the metabolism, and will inspire you to be more active throughout the day.
As you move more, your overall energy increases, which means improved mood, clarity of thought, and more time to do what you love because you aren't dragging all the time.
Try as many of these activities as you can and see how quickly you get energized just by moving more. The fact is most of us could stand to move more and be more active and these simple things will really add up over time.