We all got the memo about Americans changing work habits. Our sedentary skill-based workplaces have us gaining weight and losing muscle mass every day. But you don’t need to reconfigure your entire lives to revolve around a fad exercise program or move into the basement at a fitness center to get moving.
Avera McKennan Fitness Center Certified Personal Trainer Cecilia Bohls said there are six really easy ways to burn a few calories and feel a lot better. She focused on three areas — everyday habits, around-the-house healthy moves, and outside activities that will make you say “Hey, this isn’t so hard.”
“If we think of our goals in the abstract, we’ll more than often fall down,” Bohls said. “Instead, let’s make it concrete, get moving and just try things out. Not all of them will become new habits, but some might. Small efforts add up to make big differences.”
1) Walk Faster: This simple change, picking up your pace as you head down the aisle of a store or across the parking lot, can boost your endurance, work your leg muscles and pay off in the long run. Do not run, but notice your pace and see if you can speed it up, even if you’re on time.
2) Pre-Meal Walks: If your family sets an hour aside for supper together, make it 70 minutes and get everyone together and walk for 5 minutes in one direction. You can even use a timer on a phone to know when to turn around. Once you head back, see if you can reach your starting point before it goes off again. Now you’ve slid a 10-minute walk into your day without even noticing, most likely. Bonus tip: Include a big glass of water in your ‘pre-meal’ routine. It will help promote a feeling of satiety, aids in proper digestion and helps curve overeating, Bohls said.
Around the House
1) Water Jug: Sounds too silly to be true, but if you keep your drinking water in a 1-gallon jug, you’re going to get a mini-workout each time you remove it, pour from it and refill it. You’re actually combining two good-for-you habits when you do this, because you’ll be drinking more water.
2) Brush and Exercise: While you brush your teeth in the morning or before bed, stand with your feet flat on the floor and rise up on the balls of your feet, hold for 2 seconds, and then sink back down. Try to reach 20-30 repetitions while you brush. You can work this little mini-routine into washing dishes or standing in a line, too. Simple things are the key – exercise while you watch Netflix or during a break – it all helps.
1) Power Tool Blackout: Weed your garden, rake or do any chore by hand, because every time you leave a power tool on the shelf and do it by hand, you’re burning some calories. Plus there’s the satisfaction of doing it yourself. Bohls said shoveling snow is a great workout to look forward to this winter!
2) Work the Edges: It’s an oldie, but it works: park on the perimeter of a lot. Even if you only walk an extra 100 steps because you parked farther from the door, you’ll walk that extra 100 on the way back and over the course of a year, it’ll add up. So pass those close-in spots and hike the lot. It’s a great strength exercise to carry your groceries all the way to the car, too.
These tips can help you get moving today. If you’re on the lookout, you’ll find more and more ways to chip away at fitness goals with a little creativity and an “I can do it” attitude.
You can also talk with your provider about other ways to increase activity.