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While we all understand that exercise is vital in order to keep the heart healthy, metabolism working properly, and stave off the likelihood of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, you might not realise just how all-encompassing the term exercise really is.
If your only idea of a good workout is slogging away at the gym for hours and getting sweaty, then think again. The reality is that there are hundreds of small ways that you can exercise daily, and they don’t have to take over your life or crowd your schedule. We call this ‘incidental’ exercise.
Along with basic things we already know we should do, like compare the market to find health insurance or eat vegetables for a nutritious diet, these small tips are simple ways to improve your health.
Skip the Car for Short Trips
The next time you are tempted to hop into the car just to get to the corner store, rethink your plan. If you live within a 15-minute walk or bike ride to the post office, shop or bank, you might be able to run your errands without a car. These quick trips won’t feel like a tough workout, but they can go a long way in burning calories and preventing weight gain.
Start and End Your Day with a Stretch
Flexibility is something that many people, including those who are fit and athletic, struggle with. The simplest and most effective way to increase your flexibility and the health of your circulation system is to stretch regularly. Since remembering to stretch is often the hardest part, get into a routine of spending five minutes stretching as soon as you wake up in the morning or right before you go to sleep at night.
Park Further Away From the Store
The next time you head to the shopping mall or a big grocery store, take a look at the cars near the entrance. The odds are high that there are a number of vehicles waiting to get a parking spot close to the entrance, but there could be plenty of spaces farther away. Get in the habit of parking as far as possible from the entrance as a way to increase the number of steps you take each day.
Take the Stairs Instead of the Lift
Whether you are getting to the top level of the car-park or your office, it is tempting to get the lift rather than the stairs. By taking the stairs on a regular basis, however, you can tone your glutes and enjoy a quick mini-workout.
Be Less Efficient When Doing Housework
This might sound crazy, but if you have the time, it can be a great way to get in shape. Rather than carting all the groceries into the house at once, take several trips. Walk up and down the stairs with one item at a time instead carrying them all at once.
Get Active during Commercial Breaks
All too many of us claim to not have the time for a workout, but we seem to find plenty of time to watch our favourite shows on the telly. The next time an advertisement pops up, get busy. You could stretch, march in place, do star jumps or even do push-ups in between the best bits of your weekly television shows.
Take Breaks in the Office
If you have a traditional office job, you might spend eight or more hours a day sitting in the same chair. To keep active and sneak in some non-traditional workouts, make an effort to break up the monotony of the day with short breaks. Head outside to walk on your lunch hour, or walk to speak with a colleague instead of emailing them.
Walk and Talk
The next time you find yourself catching up with a friend or family member on the phone, stand up and start walking. You will be able to pass the time with great conversation, and the walk won’t feel like a workout at all.
It’s not always easy to get in a solid workout each day. Work, family and social obligations can prevent you from hitting the gym, but these simple ways to add activity to your day can be included by just about anyone.