By now, most of us know too well the bullet-proofing body benefits of regular exercise; however, we might not always have time to work up a sweat in a gym multiple times a week. But what if you knew how to increase your physical activity without changing too much of your busy lifestyle? Well, good news: There are, in fact, ways to sneak more exercise into your life. You just have to think outside the box a little about what it means to "work out."
If you require any more persuasion that exercise is actually the magical elixir for a longer, happier life, how about the fact that studies have shown that moving around more can improve the intensity of your orgasm? Or that research has shown that exercise can help treat anxiety and depression, thanks to the increased level of endorphins released in your brain from the activity? Exercise is really and truly great — although unfortunately, many of us aren't able to prioritize it in our increasingly busy lives. Indeed, in 2014, less than 20 percent of Americans ages 18 and over were getting the recommended amount of physical activity per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It's true that a long work-out involving a lot of sweating is the best way to exercise. The CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, to make it worth your while; as such, it's worth not skimping on the hard stuff. However, for when you're pressed for time, here are six subtle ways to sneak a little more movement into your everyday life. Every little bit helps, right?
1. Tone Up While You're Waiting In Line With Isometrics
Who said sit-ups were the only way to craft a rock-hard core? Try practicing isometrics incognito and you'll have toned up without ever sitting foot in a gym. Isometrics is the exercise of an isolated muscle group, such as your abs, glutes or biceps. Tensing these can be done easily, without drawing too much attention to yourself. So next time you're waiting in line at the bank or supermarket or standing up on the subway, try doing some reps of 10.
2. Carry Your Shopping Instead Of Using A Cart
Lugging heavy bags around the grocery store for an extended period of time is a great way to work out your arms, shoulders, and back. Next time you don't have a huge grocery shop to do, forgo the shopping trolley in favor of one or two large, reuseable bags which you can throw over your shoulder, or carry normally in each arm.
3. Do Your Housework
Finding time to exercise and keep your house or apartment clean is no easy task, hence why some of us choose to pay someone else to help out. But instead of taking your car to a car wash or getting your neighbor's kid to help out in the garden, doing these tasks yourself can both get you moving and save a few pennies at the same time. Mowing the lawn for an hour, for example, actually gets some pretty good cardio in, as does sweeping and mopping the floor for the same length of time, according to Reader's Digest.
4. Balance During Your Blow-Dry
There aren't too many times you can stand on one leg and not be the recipient of a few funny looks, so doing this one when no one is around is probably best (unless you don't care what other people think, in which case feel free to do it whenever): Balancing on one foot improves core stability and enhances good posture within your spine, so why not multi-task? Fitness guru Brooke Marrone told Marie Claire that if you "stand on one leg for half the time of your blow-dry, and switch legs for the second half," you can reap the benefits of this simple fitness routine while getting ready for the rest of your day.. She added, "Your standing leg gets a pretty good workout, too". (This is harder than it sounds).
5. Stand Whenever Possible
The dangers of sitting too much have been frequently touted in recent years. One study, for example, found that those who sit for seven to 10 hours a day increase their risk of heart problems by a whopping 147 percent; meanwhile, another showed that we take in more oxygen when standing, therefore improving our cardiovascular health simply by staying on our feet more. Standing or walking meetings at work are therefore a great idea, as are stretch breaks. And next time you're racing for that seat on the subway, maybe let someone else get it instead.
Now, I'm not saying you can laugh off yourself fit (if only it were that easy), but research has shown that laughing increases energy expenditure and causes the heart rate to speed up by 10 to 20 percent. This means that 10 to 15 minutes of giggling can absolutely contribute to your daily activity quota — which is absolutely no joke.