Typically, exercising and proper diet are the keys to a fit body and a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, for some of us, the time to practice those things perfectly does not always seem like it is available.
While it is true that in order to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, one must MAKE time and must incorporate it into their every day lives, it is also true that making small everyday lifestyle changes in movement (specifically) and also diet (we will discuss dietary tweaks in the next post) can bring about a big difference: especially if trying to work through a fitness motivation plateau.
So, in order to burn more calories today and continue to stay active, I've compiled a list of five (5) easy ways to do that even when running a busy life at work, home, or school (or all of those). Here goes:
1) Take the stairs: not the elevator.
You've probably heard this one a thousand times, but for good measure: it's true! When given the choice to use an elevator or stairs at work, in the mall, at school, etc...always take the stairs. Similarly, if you are presented with an escalator, opt to walk up the escalator at the same time as you are moving: the more steps the better.
Additionally, if you are given the opportunity to make multiple trips up and down the staircase as opposed to one trip with multiple goals in mind, choose to take multiple trips. For example, take the stairs down to the bathroom and return to your desk. Later, take the stairs again to deliver an envelope to the accounting department as opposed to doing both of those tasks at the same time. Your boss may not appreciate it, but your body WILL!
If anyone asks about additional trips up the stairs at work, just tell them, "I am choosing to live a more active and healthy lifestyle; and I am pretty sure that our insurance company would appreciate that if all employees made that choice and as a result lower our premiums."
How on earth can anyone argue with THAT? 🙂
2) Park further away.
We've all been guilty of driving around in the grocery store parking lot for what seems like hours trying to find the "perfect" parking spot. While I can't argue against being a master of getting "the spot", especially during the busy holiday seasons, I can say that a mentality change is in order here.
Instead of searching aimlessly for a good spot, change your mindset to park further away. Think of it like this, the time you will take walking the extra distance will be SAVED through not wasting time looking for a parking spot. In addition, you get a nice brisk walk in AND you can park so far out that no one else will park next to you, thus effectively avoiding those accidental "kid door slams" into the paint job of your nice new car.
All around, it is a total Win-Win situation.
3) Get up and walk around.
Stuck behind a desk all day and going insane staring at a computer monitor? Or, maybe you're studying in a library and going stir crazy after hours of sitting in the same place. The solution is pretty simple: get up and take a walk around every so often (30-45 minutes).
This helps you burn extra calories, keeps your blood flow going, and also provides you that hint of sanity that you so desperately crave when sitting and working for HOURS on end. Get up and walk!
4) Set a minimum driving distance.
If you want to be really creative, set a minimum driving distance. Anything under this minimum distance you will have to transport to through manual means: unless of course, the timing of the arrival is dire and urgent and you are running behind. In all other cases though, set a minimum.
My minimum driving distance is a quarter of a mile. If I have the choice to hop in my vehicle and drive between buildings at work or take a nice walk, I will walk barring terrible weather conditions (rain, snow, storm, etc...). Also, if I have to go somewhere around the neighborhood or around town, if it is under my minimum distance (and on a nice day if I have time, even if it is over my minimum), I will bike or jog instead of drive. Sounds odd, but very do-able.
5) Break-up your exercise.
Although I have argued against breaking up workout sessions in the past for multiple reasons, there is some benefit to shorter workouts that are more intense and concentrated.
I used to argue that breaking up cardio can take a 45 minute session into three 15 minute sessions and take away the ability to enter a "fat burning state" (typically, under low intensity conditions, fat is not burnt for at least 15-20 minutes). While there is truth to that statement, it can be overcome by using those 15 minute blocks for high intensity (at least at the start of each workout) intervals to bring the body into fat mobilization quicker.
I used to argue that breaking up weight training sessions into smaller ones can defeat the purpose of tearing muscle fibers and giving them ample time to build up. Again, while there is truth to resting muscle groups for 48-72 hours, breaking up your workouts into shorter more frequent training sessions doesn't mean you have to hit the same muscle group more than once during your recovery period.
For example, instead of a full-blown 45 minute shoulder workout, why not try an insanely intense 10 minute shoulder-press only workout and then a 10 minute bicep dumbbell curl workout later? I would simply go back and hit the remaining shoulder exercises the next time I cycle to that part, which, because of increased frequency of training, would come back around within the next two days so I can do something like lateral raises next.
If you would like more information on breaking up weight training sessions, please hop on our fitness forum and ask. Someone will be more than happy to elaborate and help you with your workout schedule.
That's it. That's my list FOR NOW. I realize there are probably hundreds of ways you can choose to burn more calories throughout the course of the day TODAY that I probably missed: but that's what the comment section is for.
I need you to jump on the comments via either registering on the blog OR simply logging into your Facebook account and posting.
Your comments will help us add to this post (list) and will help others make small steps towards huge successes in their fitness journeys over the next course of a lifetime. I can't wait to hear from you!