Believe it or not (let for-profit gyms wail) many scientists and nutritionists believe that becoming more active in our daily lives can actually be more effective than structured exercise. By integrating more activity into all parts of your life, you’re sure to get a much more varied, much more integrated, and much more complete workout than a steady regime of, say—running, running, and more running. Not only that, but it’s easier, more enjoyable, and doesn’t require dragging yourself out of bed at 6 am.
Starting with the basics— things that you can do pretty much any, and everywhere:
1. Breathe to enhance your metabolism. Breathing rhythmically from your stomach is enough to help keep your metabolism healthy. It’s as simple as that. Try some of these breathing exercises.
2. Sing! Believe it or not, it burns about 135 calories an hour.
3. Eat chili peppers. They boost your metabolism, increasing the rate at which you burn calories.
4. Eat slower than you usually do. You’ll eat only what you need to, and not more.
5. Stand as much as possible. Standing (duh) burns more calories than sitting, strengthens your lower back, speeds up your metabolism and helps combat the obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and the depression that are all linked to schedules filled with sitting. Are you ready to get started? Try using a standing desk.
6. Move, move, and move some more. Tap your feet, drum your fingers on your desk, shrug your shoulders periodically, clench and unclench your butt: all of these are small, but consistent movements that can help increase your body temperature and metabolism.
7. Whenever You Can, Stretch. Do arm circles, wrist circles, leg swings, toe touches, torso twists. Stretching feels great and enhances your blood flow.
8. Wear a weighted vest (wherever you feel comfortable wearing one). This way, you’ll get in a bit of an extra workout, no matter what you’re doing.
9. Don’t stress eat, stress walk. Walking off your stress is a lot more effective, and actually beneficial to your health.
10. Walk up the stairs fast. And then in bounds. And when you are really good at it, run.
Things that you can only do at home:
11. Exercise while doing daily activities that require a lot of waiting. While microwaving, do jumping jacks. While cooking dinner, do squats. Stretch in the shower. Jog in place while you’re brushing your teeth (if you can manage it).
12. Take your time getting dressed in the morning. Each outfit you try on burns at least 11 calories.
13. Use your T.V. time to work it! Try these workouts designed to be done during your favorite TV shows. During commercials do the stretches and exercises of your choice. Consider weight lifting, push-ups, sit-ups, or even jump roping. Little known fact? Changing the channel 33 times by getting off of your seat to press the button on your television burns 100 calories.
14. If you are a video game player, try using a Kinect.
15. Play more games. Try ping pong, basketball or soccer. Go bowling, or fly a kite. Even playing scrabble burns 100 calories an hour.
16. Have sex.
17. Mow the lawn, and start on your other home improvement projects. Clean your house. Dust, rake, shovel, weed, and vacuum. If you have one, milk your cow.
18. Go on a Picnic.
20. Get a dog. Now, go walk it.
Things to do on your way to work, and at work:
21. Use your commute to exercise. If you can’t walk or bike to work, use public transportation and get off a couple stops earlier. If you can’t use public transportation, park a few blocks away.
22. Mind your posture while sitting at the office. Good posture does wonders for your health. If you can, try a stability ball, which works your back, abdomen, and hips—just by sitting down.
23. Use your breaks to walk around as much as possible. Visit a co-worker. Go to the bathroom, get water. During lunch, go for a walk.
24. Keep dumbbells at your desk, and get into the habit of doing around fifteen repetitions of your favorite weightlifting exercise a day.
Last, but not least:
25. Dance! At clubs, at home, in the rain…