Easy and Creative Ways to Add More Exercise to Your Day

It’s easy to assume the only way to really stay in shape is by eating right and working out. Yes, those choices are necessary for wellness, but abiding by a strict diet and finding time to squeeze in a hardcore gym session alone won’t ensure total health and happiness. A fit life requires an ongoing commitment to an active, balanced routine. Since most of us are so busy, we need to get a little more creative. Here are five clever tips to keep you healthier throughout the day.

1. Plan gym time (or chores) around your favorite TV shows

woman working out in front of TV on yoga mat

Working out in front of the TV might motivate you to work out every day. | iStock.com

If you go to a gym that has personal televisions on their cardio machines, promise yourself you’re only allowed to watch your favorite show while you’re there. Not only will it be a time to get your sweat on, but it’ll also give you something to look forward to on those evenings you’re not too motivated to get yourself to the gym.

Furthermore, if you find yourself doing chores at night, use fall’s TV schedule to your advantage. Fold the laundry on the floor, sitting with your legs stretched wide. And run piles of clean clothes upstairs during commercial breaks, being as speedy as possible. Or, regardless of whether or not you’re doing chores, commit yourself to taking to the floor for some stretching during at least one of your favorite shows each night. If you’re on the floor, you probably won’t be as tempted to snack, either. Sinking into the couch with a bag of chips is a bit more appealing than doing so on the ground.

2. Turn your desk into a motivating work space

man at standing desk, woman on floor working on laptop

Sit on the floor, or create a standing desk of your own. | iStock.com

In a culture driven by technology and consumed by the latest and greatest in gadgets, it’s common practice for most of us to be hunched over a computer for at least several hours a day. Don’t let yourself fall victim to poor posture, though. When it comes to taking a stand against a sedentary life, you have options.

You’ve heard the case for standing desks, but they can often be pricey and bulky. So, get creative. If you need to work at a desk all day, turn a countertop or other tall surface into a standing desk by propping your computer on a stack of books. And to make it even better, incorporate a product like the Simply Fit Board into your setup. Advertised as a piece of workout equipment, this board is perfect for standing for extended periods of time. It will work your core, strengthen your legs, and boost your balance. Plus, it’s fun!

3. Strategically place everyday items on different levels of your home

man walking up a staircase

Try taking the stairs more often in your home. | iStock.com

You know taking the stairs is better than riding the escalator, but what about simply trying to use your stairs more often while you’re at home? Purposefully place items on different floors so you’ll be forced to go up and down the stairs throughout the day. Rather than keeping your laundry basket next to the washer and dryer, keep it on a different floor so you have no choice but to climb the stairs with each load. If you typically keep your cleaning products in the kitchen, relocate them to the basement or top floor. If you’re lucky enough to have a multi-level floor, use it to your advantage.

4. Take dance breaks

Michael Scott from The Office dancing at work

Michael Scott definitely knows the importance of fun, and dance breaks, at work. | NBC

Shaking your groove thang to feel-good music releases endorphins and reduces stress, and it also gives your mind a much-needed, break. Even Ellen DeGeneres makes a habit of dancing on each and every episode of her show (and have you seen how many smiling faces are in her audience?). And the best part is dancing requires no equipment or special gear. Simply fire up your favorite tunes, and let the music take control. Do it a few times throughout the day if you work from home. If you work in an office, gather your co-workers and start a daily dance break tradition with everyone on the floor. It’s guaranteed to boost everyone’s mood.

5. Keep free weights in the kitchen

Back of athletic woman with muscular physique holding a pair of dumbbells

Keeping a pair of free weights handy is never a bad idea. | iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

If this sounds strange, it’s because you haven’t tried it before. But consider this: How often do you find yourself putzing around the kitchen or mindlessly snacking during dinner prep? While you’re waiting for your meal to heat up in the oven or on the stove, why not make the most of the downtime? Keep a set of free weights right on your counter. Instead of snacking (and ruining your appetite) or heading right for the couch, grab those weights and bust out some moves that’ll leave you feeling just a bit better about yourself before settling in for the night.