10 Ways to Stay Active All Day
It’s hard to stay active when you spend most of your time sitting down, but you must do. Physical activity provides many health benefits, from weight loss to reduced risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes to stress relief and more energy. But even if you exercise regularly, it can be easy to find yourself spending the day sitting at your desk at work or on the couch watching TV in the evening at home. Here are 10 ways to stay active all day to reap the benefits of exercise and get your blood pumping throughout the day!
1) Work in intervals
If you’re able, work in intervals of low- and high-intensity activity—say, jogging at a fast pace for three minutes, then walking slowly for one minute. Be sure to give yourself a break if your breathing becomes labored or feel pain or fatigue. The goal is to stay active for as long as possible. (And remember: When you’re just starting, it may be better to walk on an incline than try jogging.)
2) Take the stairs
Elevators, escalators, and moving walkways are everywhere you go. That’s great for lazy days, but you should also point to climbing at least one flight of stairs every day. It will help you build muscle tone and increase your endurance; it will make it harder for someone else to sneak up on you. And that could be a literal lifesaver if you ever have an active fit situation. If possible, stay close to exits if something happens; if there isn’t time for that, do whatever it takes to get out quickly.
3) Jog on lunch breaks
The key with exercise is a little goes a long way. So if you’re pressed for time, it’s better to squeeze in a 20-minute walk or jog during your lunch break than spend an hour at yoga class one night. Bring some gym clothes and sneakers to work, so you have no excuse not to burn off some calories. (Make sure you know where public restrooms are.) That weight will often stay off, and your doctor will notice—which may even save your life. Numerous studies have shown that people who exercise regularly reduce their risk of heart disease by 50 percent. And regular exercise lowers bad cholesterol levels, keeps blood pressure in check, and makes bones stronger—all of which help prevent cancer.
4) Have a standing desk
Stand-up desks have become all the rage lately, but there are plenty of benefits beyond aesthetics. Standing desks help you burn more calories throughout your day because they encourage you to move around and adjust positions as needed, rather than sitting in one place for hours.
Active fit people often build standing desks into their office setup and keep an exercise ball handy to stretch out whenever necessary. There’s even a desk treadmill! Give your sit-down desk a workout and swap it out for a dynamic fit stand-up desk to stay active all day long. It’s worth every penny (and then some).
5) Make it fun
Exercise doesn’t have to be formalized. Plan an active date with your spouse or make exercise a team effort. Go bowling, play Frisbee golf, rent bikes, play tennis or volleyball—there are many fun ways you can incorporate activity into your daily routine. Make it a game for you and your family, and get creative about how you get moving!
If you want an active, total-body workout, a great way to meet people and learn self-defense skills, look no further than kickboxing. Kickboxing is like getting two or three workouts in one. First, you work with a trainer on agility and footwork drills.
Then you hit mitts (padded gloves) and bags for some serious cardio training—I was sweating within a few minutes! Finally, it’s time for sparring. I’ve never worked so hard but had so much fun. The more regularly you go, the better your moves will become. The better your moves are, the easier it will be to avoid getting hit!
7) Exercise with kids
Yoga is a low-impact way to keep your body moving while improving flexibility. Yoga is a good option if you want to do something that requires both physical activity and mental focus.
Yoga comes in a variety of styles, so if you don’t like one, try another until you find one that works for you. Yoga can be practiced in a group setting or at home with a DVD. What could be better than losing weight and meditating at the same time?
8) Take up yoga
It’s no secret that yoga offers up many mental and physical benefits, but it can also be used as a form of self-defense. By practicing various postures and poses in a sequence, you’re slowly developing a mind and body connection that could save your life when applied correctly in real-life situations (read: while being attacked).
Just check with your instructor first before attempting to use your newfound skills on someone trying to choke you or knock out your teeth. Self-defense is serious business! Plus, there are plenty of other ways yoga can help protect your mind and body.
9) Try interval training at home
As long as you don’t have any preexisting conditions, you can get a full-body cardio workout at home with little or no equipment. This full-body workout will increase your heart rate and leave you feeling energized for hours. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and take a 15-second break between each move. Repeat three times for an interval training routine that works your entire body.
10) Dance it out
If you don’t have a dance partner handy, put on some music and start moving. Make sure you incorporate a range of different styles and moves; that keeps things interesting, but it also helps keep your heart rate up and your body guessing what’s coming next. Mixing it up is also good for increasing flexibility, agility, balance, and coordination—and having fun is always essential. So go ahead! Shake it out! Just remember to be careful if dancing on hard floors.