Bad news guys, recent studies show that being inactive can be nearly as dangerous as smoking. But don’t worry, active doesn’t just mean having a heavily used gym pass. We’re all sick of hearing the usual ideas—take the stairs instead of an elevator, park far away, use a bike to get around your neighbourhood instead of a car. They’re all fine suggestions, but probably not enough to have us feeling truly fit.
So here are our five–stuff that doesn’t require a membership anyway and will actually contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
Exercise while doing household chores
Doing chores around the house is a perfect opportunity to incorporate physical activity into your day. Not only are you standing up the entire time—or can be—but there are many ways to boost the burn while folding your underwear and sweeping your kitchen. Here are a few ideas:
- Do calf raises while folding laundry.
- Do walking lunges to get from one part of the house to the other.
- Do five squats for every 3 minutes of mopping.
- Do pushups on the side of the tub in between scrubs.
The best part, you can crank up your favourite music while you’re at it! If you want to do a full workout, but have no equipment or gym membership, give this at-home workout a try, which uses all items you can find in your house.
Play an instrument
There are many ways to stay active without doing traditional exercises. Playing the violin for an hour, for example, burns about as many calories as walking around a track at a moderate pace for an hour, according to NerdFitness. National Geographic also reports that music and playing an instrument has anti-aging cognitive benefits for the brain. We’d call that a solid win win.
Find an activity that you love (and friends that love it too)
The best way to be more active everyday is to find something you love. When you enjoy what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like a chore, and you’re more likely to do it regularly. Take that a step further and find friends who love that activity too. Soon, your ‘way to stay healthy’ turns into a relaxing ritual that you enjoy with friends. Think morning walks, weekend hikes or evening bike rides.
To find an activity you love, pick a few to try and then add them to your calendar throughout the next one or two months. Plus, if you post your choice on your Instagram or Facebook, you might even find someone who fancies joining you. Try:
- Dance lessons
- Speed walking
- Online fitness classes
Add short bursts of activity into your day
You don’t need to spend 20 minutes on a treadmill to rev your metabolism and stay healthy. In fact, Tina Paymaster, with MindBodyGreen.com, suggests that you “take a break every hour or two and do a set of pushups, crunches, squats or stair climbing for a few minutes to get your metabolism revved up again.”
You can use the Pomodoro time management method to help with this. The idea is simple: Be active for 10 minutes once every hour. This regular activity throughout the day also boosts productivity, allowing you excel in your job as well.
Better yet, just add small active movements to your every day work duties: “Often times while I’m waiting for the photocopier or the microwave I’ll do some small exercises like calf-raises, squats or lunges. If I can squeeze in some here and there during the work day, it just means I have less to cram in later,” says Cristina Dulin, with Fit2Run.
Get a massage
Being active also means giving your body the recovery time and attention it needs. There are few things better than a massage to give your body the love it needs. Set up a monthly, weekly, or bi-weekly appointment and direct the therapist to any area that’s sore or overworked. Making this a regular practice will allow you perform and feel better when you’re physically active, allowing you to stay limber and flexible. Massage also has the added benefit of helping you sleep better and reducing stress.
Staying active in your everyday life is easier than you might think. The key is remembering to do squats while you brush your teeth or get down for a 1-minute plank once an hour while you’re at work. To remember, add these breaks and “active” opportunities to your calendar and set reminders so you don’t have to remember yourself.
Who are we? We’re Urban Massage – on a mission to make wellness rituals convenient and accessible without compromising on quality. So from just £49 an hour, you can enjoy a range of massages from an expert therapist at a time to suit you. Download the app or go to urbanmassage.com to book 60 minutes of restorative me time
BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time blogger. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the owner of her own personal training business, Honest Body Fitness in San Diego. She’s written for Shape, Reader’s Digest, AARP, Snap Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and more. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, workouts tips and more.