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How to fit in fitness activities throughout the day

3 min read

How to fit in fitness activities throughout the day
Physical activity is just as important for our minds as our bodies, and there are plenty of ways to fit in fitness activities throughout the day without having to spend hours at the gym
If you'd rather hit the books than the gym, and the only running you enjoy is that of a hot and relaxing bubble bath, don't worry, you're not alone. Fitting in fitness alongside everything else can sometimes feel stressful—which ruins the enjoyment you might otherwise get out of exercise! Here are some ways to get moving while doing your normal daily activities 

Fitting in fitness 

Man climbing stairs between two escalators
Your fitness activities needn't be confined to a gym or even done at a set pace. Several studies have found that people who add an extra 30 minutes of activity to their day, even mundane things like cleaning the back yard or climbing stairs, reap the same cardio-vascular and weight-loss benefits as people who take part in structured exercise programmes. 
So, try walking instead of taking the car, using the stairs instead of the elevator, and consider using a push-mower instead of a ride-on one. Play with the grandchildren instead of just watching them play. 

How much is enough? 

In terms of overall health benefits, it doesn't matter what you do to get in shape just as long as you burn at least 4200-8400 kilojoules a week in activity. On the low end, that's equivalent to either a daily 30 minute walk at a 3.4 miles per hour pace or a daily 1.5 mile run in 15 minutes. But aside from walking or jogging, there are countless other ways to accumulate those kilojoule-burning "points". 

Do what you love 

Senior woman doing water aerobics
Another way to sneak exercise into your life is to choose an activity you enjoy—one that doesn't feel like exercise, even though it is. Ask yourself: what am I good at? If you do what you're good at and what you like, you'll find fitness activities you can enjoy for years. 
"If you do what you're good at and what you like, you'll find fitness activities you can enjoy for years"
Do you take to water like a fish? Water aerobics and swimming, offered at gyms and fitness centres around the country, provide a moderate workout that's easy on the joints and is great for people with arthritis. Can't get enough of the great outdoors? Bushwalking can be enjoyed at any age or fitness level. 

Choose your hour 

Some studies have shown that people who exercise in the morning are most likely to stick with an exercise routine. This may be because, by getting their exercise in before the day starts, they avoid last-minute appointments and decreases in motivation at the end of the day that can thwart even the best intentions. 
What if you're not a great morning person? The best time for you to exercise is whatever time works for you. if you're in top form from midday to 1pm, aim to exercise at midday or lunchtime. 

No more excuses! 

A woman with cleaning spray dancing in the living room
Do you find any excuse not to exercise? Would you rather do anything else—even sort your socks or clean the oven? Here are a few ways to get you going—and keep you going. 
1. Call it by another name 
Substitute any aerobically challenging household activity for the standard exercise routine. If it's something you have to do anyway—like washing the car or planting some trees in the garden—you'll meet two goals at once. 
2. Do it to music 
Dance class in community centre
Sign up for classes in swing dancing—or flamenco, folk or African dance. All of these provide a terrific workout and a lot of fun.
"Listening to your favourite songs makes the time go faster"
Or listen to music while you work out—listening to your favourite songs makes the time go faster. 
3. Be a bookworm 
Listen to the latest mystery or suspense novel on tape while you exercise. If the book's a page turner, you'll look forward to that next session to hear the next plot twist
4. Don't sweat it
Women doing yoga together
If a damp T-shirt is not your idea of a good time, try gentler forms of exercise such as yoga, t'ai chi or pilates; these are now offered at many gyms. 
5. Partner up
Exercise is more fun when you do it with a friend.
"You're more likely to stick with the programme to avoid disappointing your exercise buddy if you partner up "
And on days when your motivation is low, you're more likely to stick with the programme to avoid disappointing your exercise buddy. 
6. Plan your exercise
Young woman pinning exercise card to a wire frame
Make your daily physical activity a priority in your schedule. Plan your exercise every night for the following day. 
7. Train with an expert 
It's an expense, to be sure, but a personal trainer will help you set goals, help you design a personalised fitness programme and vary your routine to keep it challenging. 
8. Join a club 
Seniors exercising in a park
Make fitness part of your social routine by joining a running, walking, hiking, biking or tennis club. You can even join a team-sport club
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