Many of us would benefit from more exercise. Yet we often struggle with the idea of exercising. We have to motivate ourselves to get moving.
Except many times we fail. We commit to an exercise plan, join the gym or buy some home equipment, but fail to follow through. In fact, many of us have already failed multiple times.
One of the reasons we fail is that we believe that we have to set aside a 30 to 60 minute chunk of time and call it “exercise”.
I want to suggest an alternative. In my opinion, the best way to exercise is to fit it into your regular day. Following are seven ideas that will help you exercise throughout the day without actually exercising.
Walk or Bike Whenever Possible
When I lived in Alexandria, Virginia, I loved going to the library. For several years I drove to the library every single time.
One day, I decided to use Google maps to see how far away it was. Turns out, the library was only one mile from my house! Once I learned that, I started walking or riding my bike.
Chances are there’s something similar in your life. There’s probably a regular errand that you could easily get to by bicycle or by walking. Every time you take your car, you’re losing an opportunity for exercise.
Make Exercise Equipment Easily Accessible
A simple way to build more exercise into your life is to put exercise equipment where it’s easily accessible. And then commit to using it each time you enter that room.
For example, you could have a pull-up bar in the doorway. Even if you can only do one pull-up, that’s more exercise than doing zero pull-ups. And eventually you’ll reach of point where you can do multiple pull-ups!
Of course, that’s just an example. You could also use exercise bands or push-up bars or any other equipment. The idea is to make the equipment easily accessible and to just do a bit of exercising every time you enter the room.
Take Short Exercise Breaks
Rather than trying to cram all your exercise into one 30-60 minute period, you can take short exercise breaks throughout the day.
For example, when I’m working, I set my timer for 30 minutes. Every time it goes off, I get up and do one or two minutes of exercising. I try to vary what I do each time so I don’t get bored. One time I might do some push-ups, the next time some jumping jacks, and then some squats.
Perhaps you work in an office and that’s not possible. Another option is to take exercise breaks while watching TV at night. Every time there’s a commercial break, you get up and exercise until the break is over.
Stand or Use a Pilates Ball At Your Desk
One of the reasons many of us feel the need to exercise is to counteract the effects of sitting at a desk all day. In fact, a growing body of research shows that prolonged sitting has the same health effects as smoking.
Instead of sitting at your desk, why not stand? You may think that standing isn’t exercise, but it obviously burns more calories and is healthier than sitting all day. Of course, this is easier to set up if you work at home.
If you work in an office and your boss isn’t willing to help you set up a standing desk, then you can always replace your chair with a pilates ball.
Chances are, in a few months, you’ll have some great ab muscles! And you may even make some new friends who are wondering why you’re sitting on a pilates ball.
Take Up An Active Hobby
The opportunities are limitless. There are dance classes, sports, martial arts, hiking, kayaking, etc.
If you live in a decent sized city, chances are there are already plenty of options for active hobbies. All you have to do is pick one and start going! Not only will you get exercise, you’ll likely have fun and make new friends.
Park Your Car Far Away
We’ve all seen people circling a parking lot trying to get space close to the entrance. Why not do the opposite?
Park your car as far away from the entrance as you can. Not only will you reduce your stress levels, you’ll get a bit more exercise. And when you finish at one store, walk to the next one rather than getting in your car and driving.
I once knew a high school teacher who would do yoga stretches during his hall monitoring duty. Not only was he getting some exercise, it also give him an opportunity to bond with the students since they were obviously curious about what he was doing.
Or how about taking a “walking meeting” at work? You’ll be getting exercise and the walking will get the creative juices flowing and likely lead to better decisions.
Exercising doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be something we struggle with. If you want to pay $50 or more every month to a gym, then go ahead. But many of us have tried that and found it didn’t work for us.
My suggestion is to stop making exercise a separate activity. Just build it into your regular life and stop the struggle.
Ed Herzog is a life coach whose mission is to help people discover an authentic career path – one that allows them to use their talents and passions to make a positive contribution to the world. If you’re searching for an authentic career path, you can start today by downloading his FREE guide: 10 Powerful Questions For Discovering Your Life Purpose.