Woman sitting at a desk, with her back turned to the camera, lifting two small weights.

11 Easy Ways to Sneak Exercise Into Your Day

We all know that regular exercise has so many benefits. It can help ward off health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure. It can boost your mood and relieve stress.  It can also increase your energy, and even help you sleep better. What’s not to love, right?

For most, time can be a detrimental factor when it comes to working out, or just not knowing where or how to start. Here are eleven ways to sneak more exercise into your day:

1. Rise and shine and don’t forget to stretch. Before you start your regular morning routine, do some gentle stretches (or follow a yoga DVD). 

2. Take the scenic route. You can easily sneak in more exercise if you ride your bike instead of driving; take the stairs instead of the elevator; park farther away in the parking lot or if you get off the bus or train/tube at an earlier stop and walk the extra distance. Keeping track of your steps with a simple step counter also goes a long way in motivating you.

3. Deskercise. Sitting at a desk doesn’t mean you have to sit still. Get some hand weights and do biceps curls and overhead extensions while reading emails or talking on the phone. You can also stand, stretch and walk around your desk or office every hour - another way to get those steps in!

4. Keep moving during your lunch hour. Rather than taking lunch at your desk, use your lunch hour to go to the gym, speed walk, or run errands. Eat something healthy while on the go or have lunch at your desk later.

5. Talk to your co-workers. Whenever possible, get up and have a conversation with your co-workers instead of instant messaging, emailing, or calling them from your workstation…again, clocking up those steps.

6. Propose walking meetings. Change the pace of your workplace by breaking out of the conference room and doing walking-and-talking meetings instead of the usual sit-down ones. 

7. Walk the dog. Power-walk or jog with your dog. Not only will you squeeze in more exercise, but your pooch will enjoy the extra walking time too. Don’t have a dog? Ask someone in your family to be your walking buddy.

Read more: Discover the Surprising Benefits of Walking with Your Pet

8. Work out around the house. Doing housework can be a great way to burn more calories. Move vigorously through your house as you vacuum, sweep, dust, and scrub. Outside, use a push mower instead of a power mower. Wash the family cars by hand, rather than taking them to the car wash. Finally, skip the landscaper, and do the yard work and gardening yourself.

9. Take advantage of technology. If you tend to get distracted by your daily tasks, set an alarm to remind yourself to get up and move (put it far enough away so that you actually have to get up and walk over to turn it off). Additionally, block out fitness time slots in your calendar and set digital reminders so you stick to them. Consider getting a pedometer or an activity/exercise tracker to help track your progress and keep you motivated.

10. Don’t let TV time be sedentary time. Set up a treadmill, elliptical machine, or a stationary stand for your bike, and squeeze in a workout while you watch television. Alternatively, clear a space where you can do floor exercises, lift weights, or do leg lifts with ankle weights while watching TV.

11. Get fit with friends. When a friend suggests getting together, don’t always default to the usual dinner, drinks, or movie date. Propose something active like a game of tennis or golf, or go out dancing or to a yoga class together. 

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