When you look back at your school days, I’m sure you remember that kid in your class who invariably got hit in the face with the ball, or who twisted their ankle with surprising frequency! I was that kid! While I’ve never been a natural athlete or inclined to participate in sporting activities, movement and fitness remains a key element in my pursuit of wellness!
So, as a person who would rather watch a movie, or hang out with a friend in a coffee shop, I have found there are a lot of simple yet effective ways to get my body moving every day that don’t necessarily involve hitting the gym. Here are some of my favorites ways to get yourself active in no time!
1. Leave your desk
Despite the sedentary nature of many modern jobs, you can counteract some of that prolonged sitting by getting up from your desk at various times throughout the day. Instead of emailing or calling a colleague, walk to their office and have that conversation face to face. At lunchtime, take an outdoor walk instead eating at your computer. You’d be surprised at how these extra steps can add up each week!
2. Walk and talk
Instead of having long, tedious meetings in a stuffy board room, take your team outdoors for a fresh of breath air and to stretch their legs by instituting walking meetings. A brisk walking meeting enhances problem solving, and has been shown to increase creativity as much as 60 percent!
3. Leave the car at home
When you are running errands in your local area, leave your car at home, and opt for walking or biking these short distances instead… and save on gas too!
4. Use the stairs
Whether you are at work or at the shopping mall, elevate your heart rate and firm up those glutes and thighs by ditching the elevator and taking the stairs instead!
5. Commute differently
If you are lucky enough to live within walking or biking distance from your work, make your commute work for you by trading the car or bus for tennis shoes and hit the sidewalks! If you work in a city with public transportation, try getting off the train or bus a few stops earlier and walk the extra distance. However, if foregoing the car isn’t an option, park it as far away as you can in the parking lot to get in your daily steps quota!
6. Explore your community
Chances are, there are numerous low-cost and fun fitness activities available in your local community. Explore local hiking trails, swimming pools or fitness activities hosted at your local community center. Alternatively, take a walk around your neighborhood and discover local gems!
7. Walk the dog
Why not begin and end your day by taking your dog for a brisk stroll, or better still, head to the dog park and toss a ball around. Your dog needs exercise too and will be forever grateful to you!
8. Workout happy hour
Instead of meeting a friend after work for a drink or two, nix the bar and head to the gym instead! Combine your social life with fitness by meeting a friend for a fitness class or a run in the park. Not only is this healthier than a bunch of drinks, but gives you quality time with a friend and is way easier on the wallet!
9. Vacation differently
Although lounging on the beach sounds idyllic, plan your vacation around activities that you are interested in. Go on a yoga retreat, a hiking or skiing trip, or find a 5K in a city you’ve always wanted to visit. Take your tourism to the sidewalks, skipping the bus tours in favor of exploring the city by foot. Also, seek out hotels with gyms.
10. Schedule workouts
Instead of trying to squeeze a workout into your already busy day, designate times throughout your week dedicated to nothing but fitness. Scheduling your workouts with a time and date is an effective way of getting it done, and set a reminder for yourself in the way you would a meeting or appointment.
11. Play dates
A big excuse for not working out is that the kids take up all your free time! Instead, play with your kids by taking the to the park to kick around a ball or shoot hoops, or beat the summertime heat by taking them swimming! Not only will you have QT with the kids, but you will be showing them what a fun, healthy lifestyle looks like!
12. Television workouts
An alternative to flopping on the couch and snacking while watching television, use the time to fit in some simple exercises while you watch your favorite shows. Do some bodyweight workouts like planks or pushups, requiring no equipment, or invest in some basic equipment, like dumbbells, a yoga mat or an exercise ball.
13. Progress tracking
For some added accountability and inspiration, invest in a pedometer or one of many free fitness app on your smartphone to track your daily steps, show you day to day progress and motivate you to sneak in some extra steps each day!
14. Make it fun
Turning exercise into a daily habit can be challenging if you’re not having fun while doing it! Find activities that you actually enjoy and can look forward to each day. Whether you go dancing, swimming or indoor rock wall climbing, keeping it fun makes all the difference and doesn’t feel a lot like working out!
15. Make it meaningful
Turn your workouts into something more meaningful by making physical activity a hobby or pursuit of a new skill that goes beyond the usual workout. Enroll in dance lessons, take up martial arts, join a local soccer or softball team, or start a yoga practice.
16. Set goals
Maintain your movement motivation by setting well defined fitness goals to give yourself something to work towards. Sign up for a 5K several months in advance and hit the trails in preparation. Or book a summer vacation and aim to get in shape leading up to that date! Celebrate your successes and set new goals as you crush the old ones!
17. Keep it cheap… or free
Exercise doesn’t have to cost you a lot. Invest in some fitness DVD’s or loan them from your local library. In addition, there are hundreds of workouts available at the click of a mouse free on YouTube, featuring workouts suitable for every level and every interest!
18. Keep it fresh
Give yourself a break from your usual routine! Try out new workout classes at your gym, or get a friend to join you for a crazy color run! While not all workouts are your favorite, doing something different helps you to stay inspired and keeps your muscles guessing!
Adding little bits of movement to you day doesn't have to feel like a chore or be tedious. With these 18 simple strategies, you too can begin to feel fitter and happier in no time! How do you fit more fitness into your day?