We know movement is beneficial, but finding the time isn’t always easy! Between kids, work, school, commitments… and just life, exercise isn’t always priority number one. While you’re certainly not alone in feeling this way, it’s important to remember that even on the busiest of days, when we’re stressed and tired, physical activity can actually help reduce stress and increase energy levels!
In fact, moving more throughout the day can have numerous health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, weight management, increased muscle strength and endurance, improved mood and energy levels, and reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. However, despite this long list of benefits, according to the CDC, 60% of U.S. adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity, and an estimated 25% are not active at all.
We get it, there may be days when you can’t fit in a longer workout. But, regular movement is still possible! In fact, by incorporating small bursts of movement throughout the day, getting in movement is easier than you think. And to make things simple, we’re here to show you how. From walking work calls to living room dance parties, here are the best ways to sneak some extra steps into your day!
The Importance of Physical Activity
We all know exercise is important. Our bodies are built to move, so when you stop, it will start giving you hints that something’s got to change. Unfortunately, no matter how long you’ve been working out, if you go without movement for too long, you’ll start to notice a decrease in your physical strength. Ugh, I know, it can be such a bummer! But here’s the good part, we have some tricks up our sleeves to keep you active and benefiting from regular exercise no matter how crazy your schedule may be.
How Much Physical Activity Do You Need?
Adults should aim to get at least 150-minutes of moderate or 75-minutes of high intensity cardiovascular exercise per week and two days per week of resistance training that targets all major muscle groups. The good news is that you can sneak in small bursts of exercise throughout your day and still lose weight, build muscle, improve your health, and get all the feel-good chemicals of regular exercise.
20 Sneaky Ways to Move More Even on Those Super Busy Days
#1 Take Your Work Calls on a Walk
If you can turn a video call into a phone call, do it, and take it outside. You’ll give your brain a boost (this is especially beneficial for creative or brainstorming meetings), burn fat, and get your heart rate up and blood pumping. If you can’t get outside, you can always do squats and lunges around your home.
Plus, walking is a natural stress reliever! It can help to improve mood and reduce anxiety, which may be just the thing you need in the middle of a long or stressful workday.
RELATED: What You Need to Know About Walking For Fitness
#2 Squat While You Brush
How many squats can you do in two minutes? Tone while you clean your teeth and challenge yourself to do squats or lunges while you brush those pearly whites. You brush at least twice a day (right?!), so there’s an easy four minutes of activity towards your daily allowance.
And think of it this way — squatting is a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups (such as our quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core). By simply incorporating 20 squats here and 15 squats there, you can improve lower body strength and endurance, increase metabolism, and burn extra calories!
#3 Get a Standing Desk… or Move to a Countertop
Standing burns more calories — according to research, 170 more calories — than sitting! It’s also better for your posture, reducing back, neck, and shoulder pain.
If that wasn’t enough, don’t be surprised if your standing desk helps support your mental health and cognitive health, too! By increasing blood flow throughout the body, you’re increasing blood flow to the brain. This can help improve alertness, focus, energy, and mood!
#4 Take The Stairs, But Really
You’ve heard this one before, I’m sure. So are you doing it? Taking the stairs burns up to three times the amount of calories of walking or standing. Convinced yet? Let’s go!
#5 Take a 15-minute Break to HIIT It
HIIT is one of our favorite ways to blast calories, build muscle, and reset in the middle of a busy day. Especially because it only requires 15-minutes of your time. With a library of free, quick HIIT workouts, the FitOn app will keep you motivated and accountable.
#6 Don’t Just Wait in Line At The Store…
Still waiting in long lines to get into the grocery store? Turn it into a quick workout. You can do alternating lunges, push-ups on nearby benches, air squats, and/or just march in place. And if you’re worried about anyone judging you, just wait until they see the results. If you want to keep it low-key, we get it! Try calf raises, or simply engage your core.
#7 Do 10 Push-ups Every Time Before You Scroll Through Social Media
How many times a day do you estimate you get on to social media? Now, what if you did ten push-ups (squats, lunges, Burpees, etc.) before every scrolling sesh? That’s a lot of push-ups.
RELATED: 7 Effective Push-up Alternatives + How to Do Them
#8 Turn TV Time Into a Fitness Game
You don’t need to choose between your favorite shows and your workout. Set a timer and do ten reps of an exercise every time the timer goes off. Or, make it into a game! Choose a word they use a lot in the show and make a promise to get up and move every time they say it. Or, if there are commercials, use the breaks to get moving.
RELATED: 6 Quick Toning Exercises You Can Do Between Commercial Breaks
#9 Set a Timer Every Hour and Stand Up
Set a timer to make sure you stand up every 60 minutes and do something active, even for just a couple of minutes. You can walk around the block or your home for 10 minutes, do some jump squats, or grab your dumbbells and get in a set of rows. Just keep moving!
#10 Plan Active Social Events
Turn your bestie happy hour into an evening hike, have a friend join you for a morning walk and coffee, or go for a bike ride around town.
#11 Have a Living Room Dance Break
Nothing is more fun than dancing when no one is actually watching. Dancing also burns a lot of calories and helps you burn off stress from the workday. Put on your favorite three to five-minute song and go for it!
#12 Cleaning Up Counts Too!
When you realize how many calories cleaning burns, you’re going to look at vacuuming dog hair so much differently. You’ll have a clean home and get in five to ten minutes of activity!
#13 Wind Down The Day With a Stretch
There are so many benefits to sneaking in a brief yoga flow or stretch at the end of your day. Aside from the added movement, you’re benefiting your muscles and joints, alleviating stress, and helping prepare your body for a deep, restful sleep. Simple, yet oh so effective!
#14 Don’t Just Watch Your Kiddos, Play!
Running around chasing your kids or partaking in their games will make you the coolest parent in the world and also get in some heart-pumping activity that will get you closer to your goals. This is your excuse to feel like a kid again and have some fun… if you needed one!
RELATED: 8 Simple Healthy Habits For The Busy Household
#15 Always Park Further Away
This is another common tip that never gets old because it really works. Parking far away can add as much as an additional two minutes of walking to and from your destination. It’s just too d*mn easy not to do!
#16 Stay Hydrated
Another reason to stay hydrated, you’ll pee more, which means you’ll have to stand up more, and walk to and from the bathroom more. See what we did there?
#17 Ditch The One Trip Club
If you’re like me, you are willing to lug a handful of grocery bags from the car to avoid multiple trips. Though efficient, it doesn’t add much activity to your day. However, if you have to take two or more trips, that can definitely get your heart rate up and squeeze in a few more steps.
#18 Cook And Sculpt
Do some toning exercises, like squats, lunges, push-ups, or mountain climbers, to burn a few extra calories while you wait for the water to boil or chicken to roast.
#19 Get Up 20 Minutes Earlier
You can do it, we promise! It’s only 20 minutes less of sleep to get in a workout, and it’s so worth it. Even better, go to bed 20 minutes earlier to not compromise sleep for activity.
#20 Join a FitOn Challenge
Need some extra motivation and accountability to fit in your daily activity? Join FitOn’s monthly challenge to keep you on track to reaching your fitness goals. You can also create your own and invite your friends to get in on the fun!
Consistency Truly is Key
Being fit comes down to creating an exercise habit. If you can only squeeze in ten minutes of activity, do it. Once you train your body and mind to expect daily movement, it will become harder to stay sedentary than to motivate yourself to exercise. Sounds crazy, but it’s true! And if you need a little help staying consistent and haven’t joined our community yet, you can sign up for free and get access to unlimited free workouts.