For most people, the choice to be healthy and active is harder than coping out and hitting a drive-thru on the way home. And after a long day at work, going to gym can seem incredibly daunting. But in addition to those pivotal choices, there are small, simple choices you may not even realize you’re being presented with throughout the day. These little things can add up to make a big difference over time. So here are some ways to grab extra exercise throughout the day.
1. Don’t bring all the groceries in from the car in one trip. Though it’s more efficient, you can get extra steps in bringing the bags in two or three at a time.
2. Don’t take the easy way out when it comes to working outside—choose to use the push mower rather than the ride-on. Wash your car by hand rather than zipping through the car wash.
3. Use the stairs. If you use public transportation, get off a few blocks from work or home and walk the rest of the way.
4. Rather than driving the kids to and from school, commit to walking them there and back. This will get you, the kiddos, and the family dog a little more active.
5. Is hunching over a keyboard all day giving you a sore neck and back? Your muscles will actually adapt to this position which reduces mobility. Give yourself a break periodically: face a wall and rest your forearms against it so you’re elbows are by your ribs. Slide your forearms up to form a Y, then pull them back off the wall. Then do the reverse to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, then get back to work.
6. To loosen up your legs, use your desk for balance and squat until your glutes nearly touch your heals. Hold that position for about 45 seconds before rising again, then repeat a few times.
7. Eat a quick lunch at your desk, then do a couple of laps around the office or outside the building until your break is over. You may find coworkers who are interested in doing the same, giving you a walking buddy.
8. Consider making an exercise jar that includes things you can do in the cubicle at work—pushups, crunches, planks, and lunges can all be done in relative secrecy. Every 45 minutes or so, fish out a slip and do what it says. This will help you get stronger, and it will also keep blood flowing which helps productivity.
9. If you’re meeting friends for dinner or drinks after work, arrange to meet at a restaurant within walking distance from the office.
10. Set something motivating as the lock screen of your phone—a picture of the beach, the salad you’re proud to have brought for lunch, or your kids looking happy outside in the sun. Remind yourself why it’s all worth it and then reach for the exercise jar.