You can burn off the same number of calories (or more) as you would in a 1-hour aerobics class without ever setting foot in a gym or snapping on spandex. It's so easy. In fact, you probably did it at one time.
Remember when you had to walk into the gas station to pay? When delivery pizza wasn't an option? When you mowed your own lawn? When you had to get off the couch to change the channel? These are just a few of the tasks that are becoming obsolete and depriving us of physical activity. If you add up all the extra calories you could burn just from doing a few things that involve actually moving, you could lose up to 38 lb in a year!
If you're using all that extra free time that these devices are affording you to take long walks, ride your bike, or in some way regularly exercise—great. But let's be realistic: Most of us are spending those hours sitting in a car or slouched in front of a computer or TV.
The good news is that adding simple activity back into your daily life is an easy, effective way to shape up, burn calories, and get healthy. Lifestyle activities such as climbing stairs and parking your car in the farthest space offer benefits similar to those gained in a gym workout.
Here are eight more simple ways to bump up your activity level—and burn calories.
1. Take yourself off cruise control.
Increase the intensity of your everyday tasks, from vacuuming to walking the dog. Turn on some music, add in some vigorous bursts, and enjoy the movement.
2. Step it up—and down.
Climbing stairs is a great leg strengthener, because you're lifting your body weight against gravity. In addition to taking the stairs at every opportunity, try stepping up and down on the curb while you're waiting for the bus or filling your gas tank.
3. Put a pen between your shoulder blades.
You'll burn calories (and look thinner) when you stand tall. To improve posture: Stand or sit with your arms relaxed at your sides, palms facing forward. Visualize a pen placed vertically between your shoulder blades, and squeeze them together as if you were trying to hold the pen in place. Hold for a count of 6, relax, and repeat 12 times.
4. Think of bags as dumbbells.
When you let someone else load your groceries or carry your suitcase, you're missing a great opportunity for strengthening and calorie burning. Carry your groceries, balanced with a bag in each hand, even if you have to make several trips. And pack two smaller suitcases instead of one big one, so you can carry them yourself.
5. Have a ball.
Replace your desk chair with a giant exercise ball. You have to engage the core muscles to maintain stability, so you're getting a great workout right at your desk.
6. Go the distance.
Stop using the closest rest room, parking space, or vending machine. Get in the habit of taking the longest route to the rest room (on a different floor, if that's possible) and climb stairs to get there.
7. Do chair-robics.
Set a timer to ring hourly. When it goes off, stand up, and sit down slowly four times. This will boost circulation and give you a nice stretch, and you'll be doing 4 squats an hour, or 32 a day. That's a great way to strengthen your lower body.
8. Play waiting games.
Don't just sit there while your computer is downloading or the copier is collating. Do a stretch (place both hands behind your head, open your elbows, and lean back), try balancing on one leg, or do a few buttocks squeezes.
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