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Progress is progress, no matter how small, which is a good reminder if you’ve taken on the task of improving your health this year. That goal can look like eating better, moving more, or stressing less.
In terms of movement, incorporating more exercise into your daily routine doesn't always require major lifestyle changes or long workouts.
Making small changes can lead to improved physical and mental health, a better regulated metabolism, and even a longer lifespan.
Here are some small, manageable adjustments you can make to increase physical activity:
- Take the stairs. Opt for the stairs instead of elevators or escalators whenever possible. This simple change can add a regular burst of activity to your day.
- Walk or bike. Consider walking or biking for short trips rather than driving. If the distance is manageable, these alternatives can serve as both transportation and exercise.
- Stand more, sit less. Look for opportunities to stand rather than sit. For example, stand during phone calls or try working at a standing desk if available.
- Take breaks for movement. Incorporate short movement breaks into your daily routine. Stretch, take a quick walk, or do a few bodyweight exercises to break up periods of sitting.
- Try active commuting. If feasible, consider incorporating active commuting by walking or biking part of the way to work or using public transportation that involves walking to and from stops.
- Practice desk exercises. Engage in discreet yet effective exercises while at your desk, such as leg lifts, seated leg extensions, or desk push-ups, to sneak in extra physical activity.
- Park farther away. Choose parking spots that are farther from your destination, allowing yourself to walk a bit more as you go about your day.
- Do household chores with intention. Approach household chores with the intention of incorporating more movement. For example, brisk vacuuming, gardening, or reorganizing can provide physical activity.
- Consider active socializing. Instead of meeting for coffee or a meal, consider engaging in physical activities with friends or family, such as taking a walk or going for a hike together.
- Take exercise "snacks." Fit in short bursts of exercise throughout the day. Even 5 to 10 minutes of physical activity at a time can add up and contribute to overall fitness.
By incorporating these small changes into your daily life, you can increase your physical activity level without necessarily having to carve out dedicated workout time.
About the author: Michelle Ryan, an E-RYT 200 yoga teacher and fitness instructor, works as a marketing specialist for USA Health.