45 Ways To Add More Physical Activity to Your Day

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By Lisa Egan

Our culture is one of convenience. Technology has made it incredibly simple to get what we want with a click of a button. We just don’t move much these days.

This lack of physical activity is slowly killing us.

According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), too few Americans get enough physical activity, and the costs (physical and financial) are enormous. Here are some of the alarming statistics the agency reports:

  • Only 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 high school students fully meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
  • About 31 million adults aged 50 years or older are inactive, meaning they get no physical activity beyond that of daily living.
  • Inactivity contributes to 1 in 10 premature deaths.
  • Inadequate levels of physical activity are associated with $117 billion in annual healthcare costs.

Being physically active can lower your risk of the following:

  • early death
  • obesity
  • coronary heart disease
  • stroke
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • high triglycerides
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • metabolic syndrome
  • colon cancer
  • breast cancer
  • depression

Physical activity provides a massive list of benefits for body and mind for people of all ages. It fosters normal growth and development and can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. It makes people feel better, function better, and sleep better. Some health benefits start immediately after activity.

To attain the most health benefits from physical activity, adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking or fast dancing, each week. Adults also need muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least 2 days each week. If you’d like to learn more about putting together a comprehensive fitness plan, check out Bug Out Boot Camp.

Even if you can’t meet those guidelines, getting in any amount of physical activity every day (or at least on most days) is better than nothing.

Busy work schedules, family obligations, and, well, let’s face it – modern life – can make it difficult to get enough activity in. And as a preparedness-minded person, you know that you’ll need to be in decent physical shape if (or when, because it is only a matter of time) the SHTF. Improving your physical fitness will help you enjoy better health and have the strength and stamina to handle a disaster when it arrives.

Here are 45 easy ways to add more movement to your day.

  • Stand up and walk around whenever you can during your workday.
  • Take brisk walks on your breaks.
  • Keep walking shoes in your car so you are always ready for a quick stroll.
  • Brainstorm ideas with co-workers while walking around your office building.
  • Instead of emailing a co-worker, walk to their desk to talk to them.
  • Stand while talking on the phone.
  • Choose the stairs when possible.
  • Get a quick workout or walk in first thing in the morning.
  • Join a local walking group, or start one.
  • Drive less – walk instead, when you can.
  • Get on/off the bus or subway a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Pedal on a stationary bike while you watch TV, listen to audiobooks, or read.
  • Play with your children and/or pets at a park or in your yard.
  • Take a class at a fitness center or YMCA – options usually include swimming, water aerobics, yoga, aerobics, martial arts, and dance.
  • Ride your bike on errands.
  • Plant and maintain a garden.
  • Park far from your destination.
  • At work, use restrooms that are far from your desk. Taking the stairs to a restroom on another floor is even better.
  • Do housework and yard work yourself if you are physically able.
  • Take several short walks during your day – 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there…it all adds up.
  • Do squats and lunges while brushing your teeth, watching TV, waiting for food to cook, etc – any time you have a few minutes to kill, get some in!
  • Schedule exercise into your day – write it on your calendar.
  • Find a fitness buddy (or several) and schedule workouts with them. These can be short sessions – even a few 20 minute walks during the week add up.
  • Take a few extra laps around the grocery store when you go shopping (just make sure the wrong things don’t end up in your cart!).
  • Download a fitness app or two onto your smartphone or other devices and use the reminder feature. Here are a few to check out: The Best Fitness and Exercise Apps of 2019
  • Turn music on and dance around your house.
  • Plan family outings that involve physical activity.
  • Go skating with your friends or family.
  • Play frisbee at the park or in your yard.
  • Catch up on all those home repairs.
  • Do quick bodyweight workouts.
  • Organize your closets and shelves.
  • Buy a jump rope or a hula hoop and use them for short bouts of fun activity.
  • Invest in a portable gym system.
  • When the weather doesn’t cooperate, go to a mall, a museum, or an art gallery to get some walking in.
  • Take up an active hobby. Hiking, nature photography, indoor rock wall climbing, martial arts, and dance classes are all fun options.
  • Wash your car.
  • Buy a Wii Fit and schedule times to use it on your calendar.
  • Sign up for a charity walk and start training for it.
  • Do jumping jacks throughout the day.
  • Play backyard games like croquet, badminton, or horseshoes.
  • Go bowling.
  • Do some chair exercises. Here are some to try at work or at home: 11 Quick Chair Exercises That Work as Well as Going to the Gym
  • Sit on a fitness ball while you work. Consider swapping your desk chair for a firmly inflated fitness or stability ball, as long as you’re able to safely balance on the ball. You’ll improve your balance and tone your core muscles while sitting at your desk. Use the fitness ball for wall squats or other exercises during the day. Keep in mind that in some cases, an office chair may be more appropriate.
  • Volunteer: Look for volunteering opportunities that involve movement, like helping at a community garden, participating in neighborhood clean-up days, walking shelter dogs, and building homes with Habitat for Humanity.
  • Pick up a kettlebell and swing it around. These funny-looking objects that resemble a bowling ball or cannonball with a handle are incredibly versatile and can be used for a full body workout just about anywhere. Depending on your fitness goals, the kettlebell just might be the ONLY piece of exercise equipment you’ll ever need. There are at least 52 exercises you can do with this incredibly versatile piece of equipment – all in the comfort of your own home or yard. To learn how to use a kettlebell properly see the videos in this article: Want a Fat and Calorie-Burning Home Workout That Won’t Torch Your Bank Account? Try Kettlebells!

What do you think?

Have you found ways to sneak more physical activity into your day? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

About Lisa

Lisa Egan has been passionate about nutrition and fitness for over 20 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a minor in Nutrition. She is the owner of the website All About Habits.

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6 Responses

  1. I’m 53 and up at 0400 hitting it. It sucks some days and some days all I do is stretch but I put in as much work as possible every time I go.
    There are no excuses to not give your best.

  2. I wish people would NOT get up and come talk to me instead of emailing me. Not everybody likes to be interrupted. JUST EMAIL ME unless you’re hair is on fire!

  3. If you can possibly accomplish some tasks and errands by walking instead of driving, that will give you a lot of daily exercise. But i realize that for most Americans, driving is the only practical and safe way to get around. I once lived someplace where i had to drive a quarter-mile to the store because i would have been run over by a car for sure if i had tried to walk. It is both tragic and comical that Americans have to make an effort to find opportunities to walk.

  4. Love this article! I’m always looking for more ways to incorporate more exercise into my day. I walk my dogs 2/3 times a day, ride my bikes-either stationary or real, and do a series of exercises put together by my physical therapist. But more is more better! 🙂

  5. House Walkability

    In a recent real estate investors presentation I recorded, it was explained that especially for the millennials market, there is great value placed on the “walkability” of houses. That means that the more locations whether business or recreation, etc that a home owner can reach on foot, the greater the walkability premium they are willing to pay. I think that issue is of significant value to a lot more people than just the millennial crowd.

    Carrying capacity of goods

    Some people use the fold-up two or four wheeled shopping carts (that you typically see at large flea markets) to bring their groceries home on foot. That doesn’t create the impression of homelessness that a “borrowed” or flatout stolen grocery store cart does. Another folding and highly compactable system is a folding luggage cart … that was widely popular before wheels were added to luggage people used for airline travel. If you search on Amazon for FOLDING LUGGAGE CART, you’ll find many different offerings in the $30 to $60 range. Mine was $22 as an Aldi special and it’s rated for 150 pounds. That can handle a lot of groceries or other stuff, and it folds very well for airline travel.

    And, this guy hiked some 2,600 kilometers with his stuff on a 2-wheel hiking trailer. See the details in this 1 minute, 22 second video clip:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fSAiOS-S9A

    Strength and endurance training in limited spaces

    Author Paul Wade has several books on Amazon that have the phrase CONVICT CONDITIONING in the title. Based on his personal experience, he explains a lot of exercises that can be done without purchased equipment that work superbly in even the extremely limited space available to prisoners. It’s an easy search for those titles, and a couple of them also have cheap Kindle editions.

    –Lewis

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