To be at our best we should live active lives and exercise regularly. But it can be quite difficult to integrate a routine of exercise into our busy lives. Here some simple hacks for more daily exercise without
Whether we need to take more than 10,000 steps per day or less is debatable, but we cannot deny that walking is a very natural way to burn calories and stay in shape. And this can be achieved easily.
You can walk to your office back and forth every day. If that total distance is 4 km (2.5 miles), that is around 7,000 steps per day. With an extra walk around lunch or in the evening, the 10,000 steps are easily reachable.
Whether you live closer or farther from your office, or you still work fully from home, this is doable. How? Take a walk to something in your town that you usually use your bike/car for. Get off the bus/metro a few stops earlier. Walk while you talk to a friend (on the phone or in person). Do a nice long walk after dinner or lunch. Also great for your digestion! It helps to burn more calories when you walk briskly, so not too slow.
Walking stairs are a great workout as well. Taking them provides you with a free dopamine boost! Choose them over the escalator or elevator at work, the metro station, your apartment building, etc.
If you do something daily it becomes a habit. And then you don’t have to do several lengthy sport exercises per week. Ten or fifteen minutes per day is sufficient, really.
You can vary with 2 (or more) types of exercise routines. For instance on day 1 a 10-15 min Yoga session (loads of good YouTube videos for this), on day 2 a Tabata exercise of 10-15 min. And then on day 3 a Yoga exercise again.
For doing a Tabata work-out you can use the free app “Tabata”. For instance, configured on 17 sets of 42 seconds (exercise) with 8 seconds of rest in between the sets. In these 42 seconds, try to do as many “clean” (using the full range of motion) repetitions as possible.
Then you can do a stretch while calming your breath and bringing your heart rate back to normal. It’s great to do right before showering, so it can become part of your morning routine!
If your default work position is standing and walking around (when on the phone) you minimize the hazardous sitting down. You can use (lunch) breaks to sit down, instead of vice versa. When you stand, you don’t ‘shut down’ your legs, your biggest muscle groups, as you do while sitting. You can build up your time standing gradually. And of course, working while standing requires a different desk and computer setup.
Check out this article by Harvard on the pros and cons.
Stretching before going to bed will help you to calm your nervous system, ease tension from tight spots and release stress. It activates your ‘rest and restore’ parasympathetic nervous system, the opposite of the ‘fight or flight’ stress response.
Stretching is great in general, but before going to bed it will help you to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.
Check out some relaxing stretch exercises here.
A great and easy exercise. You could literally do this at your apartment building or at a park close to your house.
Basically, run up and down 20 times at a high staircase. These are approx. sets of 5 minutes. With breaks of a few minutes and 2 to 3 sets, this work-out will cost you a maximum of 20 minutes. You can sprint on your way up, and run down calmly. In this way, it’s like interval training. Read this article on some staircase running exercise routines.
Another life hack is taking a cold 1-min shower. It’s quite intense, but a great exercise for your veins and great for your blood circulation in general. It has many other health benefits, it releases more endorphins for instance. It’s much easier to take a cold shower right after a work-out because then your body is already warm and craves to cool down.
You can start by finishing your hot shower with 30 seconds of cold. Your body will get used to it if you do it daily. The next step is to start with cold water right away. Tip: make your arms, legs, and head wet first, then use soap, and then rinse everything off in 30 seconds or so. It is a great water saver as well!
Really, exercising doesn’t have to be a time-consuming activity. Just build in some time to move your body more and be conscious of when you’re not actively using your body for a few hours. Invest in your body now, so you don’t have to endure body pains and malfunctioning later in life.
So tell us, what are your exercise hacks and practical tips to get more exercise throughout the day?
Check out our whole overview page on Physical Health, including (video) podcast here.
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