6 Simple Ways to Get More Exercise Without Working Out

by Ashley Marcin on 18 June 2014 0 comments

By now we've all heard that getting 10,000 steps per day (approximately 5 miles) is the key to a more active lifestyle, weight management, and general well-being. Thing is, hitting that number sounds daunting — especially for those of us who work desk jobs and long hours. In fact, a 2010 study revealed that Americans are strolling only half the recommended guideline at just over 5,000 steps per day. (Related: 50 Ways to Walk More)

It's easy to get caught in a sedentary lifestyle rut. With a few tweaks to your routine, you'll be on the road to better health in no time. The best part: You can do it for free! (Related: How Being Healthy Saves You Money)

1. Exercise at Work

There are a number of ways you can move at your desk without working up a major sweat. Body weight workouts like pushups and sit-ups are quiet and perfect for lunchtime. You can stash a mat in your office to try some yoga or Pilates moves all while being discrete. If you're able to get outside for breaks, try walking outdoors or up stairwells. Even short bursts of exercise interspersed into your routine can add up to something big.

2. Take All Opportunities

If you're finding regular workouts are difficult to commit to in daily life, sneak in movement whenever and wherever it's possible. Park farther away from the grocery store. Walk to run simple errands like taking mail to the post office or picking up dry cleaning. Consider biking or walking to work. Ask a friend to take a walk instead of sitting in a coffee shop or at a movie. We all have opportunities; it's taking them that's the trick.

3. Skip the Gym

As much as I love working out, whenever I join a gym, I tend to stop going after a short while. Thankfully, you can exercise in your living room for free! There are numerous videos and tutorials online for anything from yoga to circuit training, and most of them don't require any fancy equipment. If you choose to work out from home, mix it up by getting a good blend of cardio and strength training to keep things interesting.

4. Join a Team

Cities and towns across the globe have free or low-cost soccer, basketball, baseball/softball, and other sports leagues for adults. If you don't like going to the gym or working out solo, these teams may be just the thing for you. Sites like Sportsvite help you find existing teams in your area or you can even form them yourself with other interested individuals.

5. Surround Yourself With Movers

Chances are if your friends and family are sedentary, you might be as well. The converse is also true, as "sociologists and philosophers have [long] suspected that behaviors can be contagious." So, examine your friendships to seek out good influences. That buddy always bugging you to sign up for a local 5K might be onto something. Plus, having the support of others is great way to keep yourself accountable and moving for years to come.

6. Get the Ball Rolling

Sometimes all you need to do to break out of a sedentary lifestyle is to move and keep moving. It might feel unnatural at first, but eventually you'll get into a groove. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't happen overnight, however. A 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology revealed that new habits become more automatic anywhere between 18 to 254 days, with the average being 66 days (or around two months) total.

How do you squeeze in a little more exercise each day? Please share in comments!

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