These days, just about everyone knows that exercising on a regular basis is good for them. But, that doesn’t mean people are actually getting the amount of exercise that they need. In fact, a whopping 80 percent of adults in the United States don’t meet the government’s daily exercise recommendations.
If you’re part of this group, it’s time to start thinking about the changes you need to make to start exercising regularly.
This doesn’t mean you need to immediately run out and buy a gym membership or start training for a marathon. If you go from zero to one hundred just like that, you’ll probably end up burning out and giving up anyways.
Instead, of trying to become an exercise machine overnight, it might be more beneficial to think about ways that you can easily sneak in exercise throughout the day. Listed below are four ways that you can workout more without really trying.
1. Change the Way You Work
The average person spends approximately 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work. Why not try to fill some of these hours with low-impact exercise? This is especially important for people who have sedentary desk jobs.
Don’t worry, these tips aren’t going to get you chewed out by your boss — you’ll be able to do many of them with anyone even noticing.
There are tons of lower body exercises you can do right from your office chair without anyone knowing. One of the best is to simply lift your legs throughout the day. Flex your quadricep and extend your right leg for thirty seconds, then switch to the left leg, then lift both legs. Do this sequence throughout the day to start toning up your legs.
Another option, if your boss will allow it, is to swap out your office chair for an exercise ball. This is one of the easiest ways to combine working with working out.
You’ll barely realize it, but, by sitting on an exercise ball while you work, you’ll be improving your posture and strengthening the muscles in your back and abdominals. Bouncing on the ball can also get your heart rate up a bit and help you burn extra calories.
2. Strengthen Your Core as You Drive
Having a car makes life so much easier. But, it doesn’t exactly do your waistline (not to mention your neck, shoulders, and back) any favors.
If you spend a significant portion of each day commuting back and forth to work or driving your kids all over town, keep this tip in mind to hack your car trips and make them work for you.
Every time you arrive at a stoplight or are stuck in standstill traffic, don’t lament the situation. Instead, use it as an opportunity to strengthen your core.
You can improve your strength and posture by simply sitting up straight, pulling in your abdominal muscles, and pressing your spine back into the seat.
Be sure to pull your head back, too, so it’s directly above your spine. This helps relieve neck pain and gives you a break from hunching over the steering wheel.
3. Walk More
Of all the tips on this list, walking more is going to require the greatest amount of effort. But, walking is too good for you to not be included here.
You don’t need to go on a five-mile hike (or even a one-mile walk) to start reaping the benefits of walking more. To create a lasting habit of walking more, start small.
Park farther away from your office or the grocery store doors, or get up to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email.
If walking hurts your knees, invest in a soft knee brace that’s designed for walking. This kind of brace is comfortable to wear under your clothes, but it still protects the knee from recurring injury. Over time, you may find that you don’t need the brace at all, as your legs will have gotten stronger.
4. Sit on the Floor More
Yes, you can actually burn some extra calories by sitting on the floor instead of the couch. Think about it, how much moving do you do when you’ve plopped yourself on the couch to catch up on episodes of Game of Thrones? Probably not a lot.
If you sit on the floor, though, you’re naturally going to do more fidgeting, stretching, and moving than if you were leaning back in a chair. This extra bit of movement is a great way to increase your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
NEAT is all of the calories that you burn when you’re not actively exercising, and studies show that people who fidget more throughout the day can burn up to 350 more calories than those who do not.