Getting physically active is the single best thing you can do to promote weight loss and improve your general health and fitness. Moving improves your circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to every cell in your body. When you adequately nourish your body at a cellular level, you’ll see benefits that rise far above mere weight loss. Best of all, it doesn’t take much time at all to boost your physical activity level. If you think you can’t possibly fit 20 minutes of exercise a day into your busy schedule, prepare to be surprised. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to get moving at home, at work and on the go.
Get Moving at Home
Fit a few workout exercises into the things you do every day and you’ll find yourself reaching your fitness goals in practically no time. Just be sure to observe these few cautions when working your muscle groups:
- Safety always comes first. If you’re cooking at the stove, for example, keep your attention 100% on your cooking.
- Make sure you’re performing any exercises properly to avoid straining muscles or injuring yourself.
Turn TV watching time into a workout. There are any number of great little exercisers on the market that make it easy to tone your muscles while you sit and catch up on your TV and movie time. Pedal a bicycle, do leg lifts or arm raises while you watch. Sitting down doesn’t mean you can’t move around.
Fit a 20-minute workout into your morning routine. Not sure how? Check out this morning routine (link to Fast and Easy Workout Routine). In the time it takes your coffee to brew, you can start your day off right with a handful of old-school calisthenics that work all of your major muscle groups.
Play with the kids. Make it a habit to spend half an hour getting in a workout with the kids at least three times a week. Toss a ball around, run races or take a family walk around the block. Your waistline won’t be the only beneficiary. You’ll also be toning up your relationship with your family.
Get Moving at Work
Take the stairs. If your daily schedule takes you between floors, skip the elevator and take the stairs instead. Walking up and down two flights of stairs takes no longer than waiting for the elevator, but boy does it pay off for your waistline. Stair-climbing burns about as many calories in ten minutes as swimming or downhill skiing, but you don’t have to fight traffic to get to the gym or the ski lodge.
Park a few blocks further away. Walking is one of the easiest exercises to do – and to fit into your day. A brisk, 20-minute walk to and from your car in the morning and afternoon will provide the Surgeon General’s recommended minimum level of physical activity for most adults. If you don’t drive to work, get off the bus or subway a few stops before your destination and walk the rest of the way.
Volunteer to pick up lunch – and leave your car in the garage. Instead of ordering lunch to be delivered, place the order and walk over to pick it up. It will get your circulation moving and get you out of the office for some fresh air, both of which are good for your attitude and your health.
On the Go
Ignore drive up windows. These days, you can do just about anything at a drive-through window. It’s tempting to “save time” but you’re also saving calories instead of burning them. Park your car and go inside to deposit your paycheck, pick up your dry cleaning and order your coffee inside.
Tighten your butt as you drive. You can give your glutes a good workout while you’re driving and keep your bottom awake at the same time. Start by tightening your right butt cheek, hold it for five seconds and let it go. Tighten your left butt cheek, hold it for five seconds, and let it go. Squeeze both butt cheeks together for five seconds, and relax. You can repeat the whole sequence 10 or 15 times in a commute.
Have Some Fun
Join a fun club or activity that meets at least once a week. Go contra dancing on Friday night or play volleyball on Saturday at the Y. It will get you out of the house, increase your activity level and introduce you to a whole new crowd of interesting people.