Despite your best intentions to stick to your exercise regimen, when cold weather sets in, it may get the better of your morning run. At least on some days. And that’s okay! Chances are, there’s more movement built into your day than you realize. We compiled this list to help you identify and maximize your movement potential. Some you may do already, some may be new, and all meet the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
Planks, push-ups, crunches, and jumping jacks — these tried and true floor exercise can help you build strength as well as free weights. If you were previously inactive, start small, with two 15-minute sessions per week. If you were active, strive for a session each and every day. Either way, make sure to educate yourself on how to do them correctly before getting started. Because floor exercises are designed for strengthening, rather than building, the risk of strain or injury should be low. But, if you feel you need recovery time, it certainly won’t hurt to take a day off.
Learn to be more flexible, and flex your calves, by taking a different route on your walking commute. When you describe the “best” route, you probably mean the shortest and easiest, but longer you are “kept on your toes,” the more calories you will burn, and the more mental flexibility you will earn. Plus, there’s evidence from the world of psychology that suggests doing something different than what you’d normally do – like taking the road less traveled – could increase your creativity and ability to innovate.
How long does it take to clean your house? The average American spends one hour a day on household chores. You can burn up to 250 calories an hour doing housework, and even more when raking leaves or shoveling snow. Other ways to increase intensity are extensions of Tip #1 and Tip #2. While waiting for the washing machine to ding, do squats and push-ups on the floor or against the wall or simply march in place. Schedule chores to maximize the number of times you go up and down the stairs. Do dishes downstairs, and then make beds upstairs. Who needs a Stairmaster when you have the real thing?
Kids and pets make the best workout buddies. They prefer fun, active games to running, and bring a boundless energy that’s contagious. Classic games, like fetch and tag, don’t translate well to the indoors. To extend Tip #3, invite your kids and pets to join your “housework workout.” Teach them to pick up their toys, while playing energetic music. Have a spontaneous dance party. Once the job is done, play find the treats with your dog or teach your kids to make their own treats. This is a great way to instill the importance of healthy eating and movement at a young age.
Take your foot off the pedal and get on your feet! In the time it takes to find that perfect, close-in spot, you could have made it to the door and back. Once inside, if there’s a choice between the escalator and the stairs, take the stairs. If the escalator is your only option, there’s no rule against walking it; “stand right, walk left.” While waiting for your shopping buddy to finish up, take a few laps around the mall, or stroll up and back the strip.
Tis the season for charity and goodwill. This year, put your time and energy toward the causes that you care about. At your local food bank, you can unload donations from trucks, sort goods, and stock shelves in their retail store. At a walkathon, you can keep on your feet at the registration table or handing out water to walkers. Find a volunteer opportunity that fits your interests and schedule at VolunteerMatch. They are a national network of charitable organizations that posts opportunities down to the date and time. Keep in mind that family and workplace volunteering around the holidays is growing in popularity and spots will fill up. Register early!
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