Almost all of us could benefit by incorporating some fitness hacks into our days, which would improve our odds of living a longer, healthier and more satisfying life.
But what about those of us who aren’t cut out to jog or work out at a gym? Are you a bit intimidated at the thought of starting an exercise program?
There are many ways to make small, easy changes to your habits that can make a real difference in your fitness. Start with some of these 24 fitness hacks:
- Ride the bus to work? Get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way.
- Schedule walking meetings at work.
- Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Start slowly if you want. Work on the 10th floor? Ride to the 8th floor and walk from there. After awhile, get off at the 7th floor. And so on.
- Stop fighting for the very closest parking space. Park further away instead of right next to the store and enjoy the walk.
- Pick up the pace and power walk, instead of strolling. It burns more calories.
- Walk while you talk on the phone. Maybe you talk to your mom every Saturday – make it part of your routine to take an hour-long walk while you chat. Maybe she will walk on her end of the phone, too.
- Walk your dog a little further every afternoon. Or take the route that goes up a slight incline. Don’t have a dog? Offer to walk the elderly neighbor’s dog regularly – everyone will be happy.
- Invite friends and go for a hike somewhere beautiful.
- Take up geocaching with a kid. Or without a kid. It will get you out and about while giving you a fun goal.
- Do yoga at home, maybe with this 20-minute, very accessible yoga video for complete beginners.
- Set a daily goal of sit-ups or pushups, and remember you don’t have to do them all at once. It’s okay if you’re starting from the very beginning. You can only do three sit-ups? Do that three times throughout the day and it will strengthen your abdominal muscles. Pretty soon you’ll be able to do more. Repeat.
- Keep a calendar where you mark down your movement each day. “Walked 60 minutes.” “Did 15 sit-ups.” As you start seeing the numbers mounting, you may be motivated to keep going.
- Sit all day at work? Look into the a treadmill desk or FitDesk, which is a computer desk atop a stationery bicycle. Ride on and off throughout your day and you’ll have a good workout while getting your work done.
- Clean your house. Changing the beds, mopping the floor – it all counts. Feel good about getting in some movement while getting your house in order.
- Wash your own car instead of driving through the car wash.
- Mow your lawn with a push mower.
- Plant a vegetable garden and tend it regularly.
- Get a ping pong table and challenge the kids, your spouse, and your friends.
- Do some stretches while watching TV.
- Do this quick thigh exercise (it’s only four moves, held 30 seconds each) every time you brush your teeth.
Standing in line somewhere? Do 20 reps of these calf raises.
- Challenge some friends to take a certain number of steps every day for a year. Have everybody post their progress on a page at Google docs. Try to win!
- Get a pedometer and use it (or use a fitness app on your smart phone). At least one study shows people increase their physical activity when they keep track of their steps.