Finding time to exercise in our busy lives can be tough, but even short intervals of exercise (10 minutes or less) can have long-term health benefits. Research shows that exercise can help prevent cognitive decline, lower the risk of heart disease, manage weight, improve muscle and bone strength, and boost morale. Keeping physical activity in mind, here are eight ways to make time for it every day.
1. Walk Up and/or Down Flights of Stairs
Taking the stairs is an easy one to fit in, especially if you work in an office and normally take the elevator. Making a habit of taking the stairs instead of elevators or escalators anywhere you go will add up, increasing your daily step count and elevating your heart rate throughout the day.
2. Use Activity Trackers on Your Smartphone
You don’t necessarily need an Apple Watch to track your steps — your smartphone can likely do that for you! If your phone has a built-in health app, like the ones you see on iPhones, you can use it to keep an eye on your calories and steps, and also set reminders so you remember to stretch or stand up throughout the day.
3. Make Time for Exercise at Home When You Wake Up
Getting up a bit early to exercise can be an excellent way to stay in shape without disrupting your routine too much. Before you start work or any other commitments you may have, block off a half hour or so after you’ve woken up to do an at home workout. They don’t have to be exhaustive — pushups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, dumbbell and/or kettlebell exercises, and planks are great examples!
4. Bike To and From Places More Often
Biking as a form of transportation is a great way to get a good chunk of your daily exercise in! Whether you have a bike of your own or you use your city’s public bike system, this is a great way to not only improve your cardiovascular health, but to also get your legs moving when they’d otherwise be stationary in a car.
5. Make a Habit of Going for Walks During Lunch Break
Whether you work at home or in an office, try going for a short walk — 15-20 minutes, if possible — while you’re on break instead of just sitting at your desk or the communal lunch table. Besides adding in activity, you’ll also get some fresh air and feel revitalized and ready to take on the second half of your work day.
6. If You Take the Bus, Get Off a Couple Stops Earlier Than Normal
Whether it’s to work, a friend’s house, or wherever you may be going, try getting off the bus a bit earlier than you usually would if you’re not short on time. Walking part of the way will help you get in more steps and give you time to take in your surroundings and serve as a mental break before arriving to your destination. You can even pick up the pace to a light run if you’re wearing the proper footwear!
7. Walk to Get Groceries, Instead of Taking Your Car
If the grocery store is close enough to your house that you can walk there, then you can kill two birds with one stone! Carrying your bags home will not only be a form of cardio, but you’ll add weight to your steps and strengthen your arms, too!
8. Go for Walks While Talking on the Phone
We get it; some calls may require you to sit an focus (think important work meeting), but most calls could probably be taken while on the go. Plug in your wireless earbuds, put on your sneaks and hit the pavement! This will add a little extra exercise into your day, while you still complete your personal tasks and catch up with friends.
Once you’re in the groove and you’ve made the little tweaks to add more exercise into your daily life, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. Here’s a list of 10 mistakes you could be making while working out!
Dave MacIntyre is a freelance writer based in Montreal, Canada. His main beats are music and sports, but dabbles in other subjects. Currently, Dave holds a spot on the 2023 Polaris Music Prize jury.