Sometimes when you are just starting out with your fitness journey, it can be a challenge to do designated workouts all the time, especially if you’re a bit sore. I like to encourage people to gradually increase their incidental activity throughout the day as a technique to help them get that little bit closer to their goals without it all feeling like too much.
Today, I’m going to talk about how you can gradually become more active in your everyday life to keep edging toward those fitness goals. Every little bit counts. It’s all too easy to get involved in a all-or-nothing type mentality when you start out and feel like only a killer workout with a trainer will be enough but I want to remind you that all the little things can really add up and have great benefits overall. It’s certainly a great start to any fitness journey.
Park further away from the shop entrance
I’ve always found it a little off that perfectly able-bodied people are often willing to spend forever waiting for someone to load up their car and leave just so they can get the spot next to the door. These days, I try to park near the back of the car park. I go straight there and find a spot immediately and walk inside before the person in front of me who went straight for the entrance has even found a spot. Not only have a walked a little further, I have saved some time! Now, if you’re just starting out and getting around is a challenge, try starting with just going one row of cars back. Once that is easier, add another row. Like I said before, every little bit counts.
Get on or off the bus/tram/train at a different stop
There are a couple of options here. You could start with one and add the other down the track when you’re feeling up for it. When heading off, leave a little early and walk to the next stop along the line. Alternatively, when coming home, you could jump off a stop early and walk the rest of the way. It’ll only take a few extra minutes in most cases and really starts to add up if you do it frequently. Start small and build up – you might like to try just one way initially before building up to both and/or walking multiple stops.
Do something active during the ads on TV
Most of us watch some TV, especially at night. Every time an ad comes on, get up and do something. You could do some housework (put away some clothes or dishes, sweep/vacuum/mop, wash the dishes, generally tidy up) or you could do some body weight exercises (push ups, squats, crunches etc – at whatever level you are comfortable with). You could get quite a bit in if you do this for every ad break in a TV show. You could start with a 30 minute program and then give a 60 minute one a go!
What you do today can improve all your tomorrows – Ralph Marston
Use stairs instead of lifts where possible
Now, this one can be a challenge if you’re just getting started. Even one flight can be a huge effort if it’s been a while since you exercised. It is worth giving a go if it’s just one flight. Start with just the one flight. Once it becomes easier, go for two and build upon it if possible. If one flight is too much initially, you might like to start off by practising some small step ups at home or practice on a smaller flight of stairs such as at someone’s home (up to the door or into the backyard).
Exercise while cooking
Be a bit careful doing this! Often we find ourselves standing around waiting for things to boil, heat up, simmer, roast etc. If you find yourself without anything much to do but stand there and supervise some pots and pans, why not use the time for a few exercises? Start with things you are comfortable with and can safely do in the space you have. Consider push ups against the bench, squats, front kicks, stick ups etc. Just be careful not to knock anything hot or sharp flying.
Walk around when on the phone
If you find you spend a lot of time on the phone, how about doing a few laps of the house while you’re talking? Again, you can start where your fitness level is at the moment. Maybe just try a couple of laps every five minutes if you find walking and talking at the same time a challenge at first. As your fitness improves, you’ll no doubt feel a lot more comfortable doing both activities at once and be able to walk for longer stints around the house.
Walk the kids to school
Obviously, this is for the mums and dads out there. If the kid’s school is within a comfortable walking distance from home, unless it pouring with rain or scorching hot, you might like to try walking them to school. It would be great for everyone. If it’s a bit far, try parking a few blocks from the school and walking the rest of the way. You can do the same at school pick up time. It will only take a few extra minutes but do it a few times a week and it really adds up.
Play with the kids instead of just watching
We all know kids love to play outside. If you tend to sit and watch them mucking around, try joining in next time. You might just play for a few minutes with them but you could throw a frisbee, kick a ball or just generally muck around. The kids will LOVE it and you can work on building up your endurance over time.
This is a pretty straight forward one. Put the remotes next to their devices so you have to get up to change the channel on the TV and the volume on the stereo. It might only be a few extra steps each way but every little bit will get you that little bit closer to reaching your goals.
Set aside part of your lunch break to be active
If you get a lunch break at work, see if you can dedicate a portion of it to be physically active. You might choose to go for a walk in the local area or do some exercises at your desk. You might start with just 5 minutes and build up to as much of your break as you can realistically take. If you’re at a desk all day, it’s a great idea to try to stand up and move around a little bit every 30-60 minutes – it’ll help recharge the batteries a bit!
As with everything, start with what you’re comfortable with and build up slowly over time. Try to avoid going too hard, too fast as you may become too sore or tired and become discouraged. We’re working toward a lifestyle change in a manageable and sustainable way!
What are some of your favourite ways to move more over the course of the day? Pop any others below in the others or let us know over on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!