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How To Fit Exercise In To Your Daily Life

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Alternatives to consider to fit exercise into your daily life are the following:

  • Walk when you can. For instance:
    • Get up a few minutes earlier and take a brisk walk.
    • Park at the far end of the parking lot, or around the corner. Better yet, walk or use a bicycle.
    • Get a dog that suits your lifestyle, borrow one from a neighbor or foster care for one from a local shelter.
      • Dogs require daily exercise. Walking them gives you exercise (and fresh air as well). It's also fun to chase them around the yard.
      • Dogs (like other pets) provide additional benefits such as relief from depression, loneliness and stress. They also help reduce blood pressure, and the effects of chronic pain.
      • To learn what you need to know about living with a pet, click here.
  • Use stairs whenever possible. For example:
    • Instead of an escalator or taking an elevator for a few years.  
    • Get off an elevator a few floors below where you want to go.
    • Use the stairs when going from one floor to another at the office.
  • At home
    • While watching television,instead of using the remote, get up to change channels.
    • Exercise while watching television or reading. 
      • For instance, on a stationary bike, walking up and down the room, doing push ups or leg lifts, lifting small weights.
      • If exercise disturbs your concentration, exercise during commercials.
    • In the kitchen, or when doing handy work, use hand powered utensils and tools instead of electric ones.
    • Exercise equipment does not have to be expensive.
      • Check sources such as CraigsList offsite link or your local Pennysave for inexpensive used exercise equipment.
      • Repurpose your bicycle. Put the rear wheel on a training stand. It creates a stationary bike.
    • Form a workout group with friends. 
      • You can work out to a DVD, or one of you can be the leader. 
      • If you can't get people together in person, do it on the phone, or see each other through Skype  offsite linkor video on smart phones.
    • Household chores 
      • Do household chores yourself to the extent you can instead of hiring someone.
      • Do chores faster than normally. 
      • Use human power whenever possible instead of modern conveniences. For example, a push lawn mower instead of electric or gas power.
      • Instead of carrying everthing at once, carry half what you would normally carry so you have to return to collect the other half.
    • While brushing your teeth, stand on one foot for 60 seconds. Then switch.  When it becomes easy, try balancing while lifting a leg to the side.
    • Dig in the garden. Rake leaves.
    • While on the telephone, pace -- or at least stand up.
  • On the way to work, school or elsewhere
    • Consider biking to work or walking - even if only for part of the way.
    • Alternatively, consider taking the bus. Walking to and from your bus stop  and getting off a stop or two early to walk the rest of the way will increase your daily activity
    • Park a few blocks from the office or get off the bus a few blocks earlier.
    • Do isometric exercises while waiting for the bus/subway/ride.
    • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • At work:
    • Walk to see a colleague instead of using the phone.
    • Pace when talking on the phone instead of just sitting at a desk.
    • If your day includes a lot of chair time:
      • Stand at your desk instead of sitting.
      • Sit on a stability ball at your desk for 20-30 minutes a day.
      • Stand up and walk around frequently
    • Learn exercises to do when you take a short break, such as with elastic bands.
    • Keep an exercise machine or ball handy.
    • Take a fitness break. Consider exercising at lunch.
  • Travel
    • Before you travel, build exercise into the plans for the trip. For example, stay at a hotel with a gym or pool. Carry a jump rope or exercise band.  (See If You Travel, below.)
    • Walk while waiting in the airport. (Some airports have gyms. Check the airports you will be using before traveling).
    • Explore a new city on foot or by bicycle.
  • In the car:
    • Do isometric exercises  when stopped at a light. For example, :
    • Hold onto the steering wheel with both hands. Clench and unclench your hands.
    • Breathe in, then gently draw your navel towards your spine as you exhale. Repeat until the light changes. 
    • Park as far away from an entrance as you can - at the end of the parking lot, or a few blocks away.
    • When filling-up your car, contract and hold your abs until the tank is full.
    • When traveling, stop every 45 minutes and walk around
  • When socializing:
    • Instead of meeting friends for a meal, meet for a walk or a sport.
    • Visit an art exhibition or museum. The bigger, the more walking.
  • Do an activity you love, that also involves movement. For instance:
    • Dance - even at home by yourself.
    • Make walking as a family to a local park a weekend activity.
  • Do activities you enjoyed as a kid - such as jumping rope, throwing a Frisbee or using a Hula Hoop.
  • Wear a pedometer. At least one study shows that wearing the step-counting device can motivate people to take an extra 2,000 steps a day.

For additional tips that were created for people with cancer, but which apply to everyone, see: Getting Active, Staying Active from American Institute For Cancer Research. The guide is available online. You'll be asked for your e-mail address. See: offsite link

NOTE: Do not exercise right before you go to bed.

  • Exercise within an hour before sleep can contribute to poor sleep. 
  • Appropriate rest and sleep are essential to healthy living. 
  • For information about sleep, and how to get it, click here

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