It’s no secret that diet and exercise are key components to overall fitness and good health. If you are the kind of person who has a “workout self” who is distinct and separate from your “non-workout self,” you are missing out on some golden opportunities to incorporate more exercise into your daily life.Check out these “lucky 13” ways on how to make more exercise pretty much inevitable:
1. “Fitify” your home with the strategic placement of items that will remind and allow you to engage in physical activity during times that are normally spent inactive. For example, stash a set of hand weights in the bathroom and do arm lifts while filling the bathtub. Put a yoga mat in your bedroom to remind you to stretch after you get up and before you retire. Install a resistance band on the kitchen door to build up your muscles while re-heating those leftovers.
2. At work, simply standing up during a phone call burns 10 percent more calories than sitting down. This holds true at home while watching TV – stand up during the commercials. Add challenge with alternating leg lifts. Be creative.
3. Develop energetic hobbies. If you dine out, go dancing afterward. Join your local community center or fitness hangout and meet people who will encourage you to participate in a variety of activities that you might otherwise never attempt. If you have weight loss goals, this can be a great way to find available support groups.
4. Go outside and play. Or work. Merely being outside in cold weather burns more calories. Add 30 minutes of physical activities to burn more calories, such as sledding (205), ice skating (191) or snow shoveling (182).
5. Schedule and prioritize your workout times. Literally, put them on your calendar. This tells your subconscious mind that you mean business – and you actually reserve time with yourself for the sole purpose of getting healthier.
6. Go beyond signing up for a Zumba class: volunteer to coach a local youth sports team or after-school program. The best way to learn is to teach, and your workouts will be guaranteed if you run laps alongside your athletes.
7. Walk the dog. Or cat. If you don’t own a dog, offer to walk someone else’s hound once in a while. Not only will you get an extra dose of exercise, but you’ll also make a new four-legged friend – and the owner will have time off to plan nice things to do for you in return.
8. Include working out while bugging out – on vacation, that is. Travel often interrupts fitness routines and classes back home. Yet, many hotels and resorts have adequate-to-marvelous facilities. Have you ever noticed how little these rooms are used? Pack some sweat clothes and athletic shoes so you can work in a workout while on the road.
9. Watch a good show – or yourself – while working out. You are more likely to want to run on the treadmill if it has a monitor over it broadcasting a favorite TV show. Set up a mirror so you can watch yourself exercise. The immediate feedback you get from seeing your actual body image in motion is incredibly motivating. Why do you think that dance studios and gyms have mirrored walls?
10. Exercise to music. This keeps you interested and gives you a beat to keep pace with. You’ll find yourself doing reps or running faster to match the rhythm. Go ahead and sing along – but not aloud, please. (Save that for karaoke night at your favorite club.)
11. Use self-monitoring devices to set personal fitness challenges and provide instant motivational feedback. If you use a pedometer, see if you can “beat that record” day after day, walking further.
12. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Up as well as down. Park your car farther away from the store door instead of as close as possible. Bicycle instead of driving. You get the idea.
13. Get an accountability partner. Buddy up with somebody you know to share your triumphs and stay on the fitness track. Peer pressure and social contracts are some of the most powerful forces governing what we do as individuals. Use the force.
Try incorporating just a few of these techniques to build strength and stamina faster than usual. Design your own life to increase your physical fitness opportunities, and you may also find an added benefit: peace of mind.