You’re busy, right? Really busy.
Aren’t we all?
What you need are ways to squeeze in a little exercise into the gaps of ordinary life.
Here’s ten simple exercise solutions. Try a few or do them all.
1. Park in the Farthest Spot Available
It’s funny how people operate. The fittest guy or gal, even when driving to the gym for a vigorous workout, will usually pick the closest, most convenient parking spot. It makes zero sense when you think about it. Forget about driving around the mall or the airport trying to find the best spot. Park way, way out there, and burn some calories on your way in/out of wherever you’re going.
Another bonus to this tactic: never having to fight with other drivers over parking spots.
2. Take the Stairs Instead of the Elevator
Three floors up? What’s the problem? Bypass the herd waiting outside the elevator doors and sprint for the stairs. As far as time spent, taking the stairs will cost you…what? An extra 5 seconds per floor? Instead of standing idly inside a big metal box, you can stretch your legs out nicely.
Bonus: Carrying luggage while scaling the stairs.
3. Take the Stairs Two at a Time
Ever notice how close stairs are to one another? It’s almost like they were built to accommodate children and octogenarians. So why are you, a robust thirty or forty-something, taking them one at a time? Come on, man! Move those legs and climb at twice the speed!
Bonus: Taking stairs two at a time…while on an escalator
4. Do One Set of Pushups Every 20 Minutes (while doing household chores)
Stop. Drop. Give me twenty.
You’re doing laundry? Do a set of pushups after hitting ‘Wash’ on the machine. You’re waiting for pasta to boil on the stove? Do another set. You’re waiting for your computer to boot up? Drop to the floor and knock yet another set out. I’ve been doing this for years, and sometimes at day’s end I look back and realize I’ve banged out 500 pushups. You don’t have to do 500. Just do what suits you…while setting aside only a fraction of the time you would have for an actual trip to the gym.
Bonus: Set weekly pushup goals. Then shatter your own records.
5. Buy a Push Mower
Sometimes I peek out my front door and see my neighbor (who’s twenty years younger) riding around his tiny little yard on a $1,500 John Deere mower. And sometimes I see my other neighbor, a former marine, striding slowly behind his self-propelled mower. First of all, these machines cost way more than a typical walk-behind mower. And second of all, these guys are mowing outside on a beautiful summer day…somehow getting no exercise at all. You can get a push mower for $150-$300. Slap on a mulcher (bagging your grass will slow you down) and get going! Studies show that with a medium-sized lawn, you can walk 1-2 miles while mowing.
We have another word for all that walking: exercise
6. While Playing Video Games, Ride a Stationary Bike
This one is among my favorites. I’m a video game nut (see this and this) and yet there’s possibly no activity in the world that’ll kill fitness quite like plopping on the sofa and not moving for hours on end. Solution? Buy a stationary bike and pump out the miles…while crushing your favorite games. I’ve found that the higher energy level the game requires, the faster you’ll tend to bike. Once, while playing Zelda – Breath of the Wild, I biked for two-and-a-half hours without really even noticing.
And afterward, I’d gotten both a gaming fix and a really satisfying workout.
Bonus: Play Mario Kart while on a bike and pretend you’re racing along with the game. Seriously. It works.
7. Take the Printer out of your Office
Humans are always striving to increase their level of convenience. But at what cost? This suggestion isn’t just about printers or other office hardware. It’s about purposely not obsessing about convenience. So you’ll have to get up and walk thirty steps every time you print something? Big deal. Just do it. So you’ll have to carry your laundry upstairs? I’m not sure I see the problem.
Force yourself to move. Get out of your chair. Savor every step you have to take.
8. Carry Hand-Baskets in the Store instead of using Shopping Carts
What’s that you say? A shopping cart with just six things inside? Nope. That’s hand-basket territory. You know what a hand-basket is, right? The little things with handles stacked just inside the grocery store entrance.
Bonus: If you must use a shopping cart, push it all the way back into the store rather than into the cart corral
9. Install a Chin-Up Bar in a Household Doorway
They don’t cost much. They’re surprisingly safe. And chin-ups are an awesome way to tone your shoulders and boost your core strength. My suggestion is this: install a bar in a doorway you pass through 5-6 times every day. And then…every single time you pass through that doorway…pump out 5-10 (or more, if you’re buff) chin-ups. Even if you can only do 1-2 chin-ups per pass, it’s fine. They’re quick, and it’s a fantastic exercise.
10. Walk Faster
No, don’t be a fast-walking robot. Just be swift. While taking a stroll at the park, pick up the pace a little. While watching the kids play at the park, walk brisk circuits around the playground. Slogging along through grocery stores, parks, and parking lots is the same as sitting in traffic. Get off the surface roads and onto the highway. Move those feet and get your heart-rate rising!
Bonus: On moving sidewalks, actually walk. (Most people just stand there and let the sidewalk float them into oblivion.)
You’ve started exercising your mind.