You don't need to join a gym to be active and in shape. Everyday life offers plenty of opportunities to incorporate physical movement into your routine. Because both diet and exercise are important to maintaining good health, the key is to find a balance that you can maintain without feeling suffocated.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Walk as much as possible. Experts recommend taking a minimum of 10,000 steps a day to maintain good health and overall physical fitness. If your job is sedentary, find ways to incorporate walking into your daily routine. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Park your car at the far end of the parking lot. Walk to the office rather than taking the bus.
Use your lunch time productively. Instead of having a quick bite at your desk, bring a sandwich and go out for a walk. Make your way to the nearest park and walk the hiking trails for 10 to 15 minutes. Or make a few loops around the block. If you bike to work, take your bike out during lunch time for a quick tour of the surroundings. A 20-minute ride burns up to 250 calories, improves cardiovascular resistance and tones lower body muscles.
Incorporate exercise into everyday tasks. Do squats while brushing your teeth or lunges while watching TV. Clean with a passion rather than paying somebody to dust over the bookshelves and sweep the floors instead of vacuuming. Use a headset or a cordless phone so you can talk to people and walk around at the same time.
Bring your own lunch to work. Restaurant food is usually high in fat and sugars. Make your own food instead, and make sure it provides a combination of whole grains, lean protein and good fats. A good example would be turkey on rye bread and a handful of nuts on the side. Healthy, wholesome food will provide you with lasting, steady energy that will make it easier to remain active throughout the day.
Make meetings with friends an activity. Rather than having lunch together, go for a walk or hike the local trails. On dates, go swing dancing or play tennis.
Move anytime you can. Small things like changing the TV channel by hand instead of using the remote control or taking your dog for longer walks do add up in the end. Even window shopping, mowing the lawn and playing Frisbee with the kids can burn tons of calories if you do it often enough.
Tips & Warnings
Get a pedometer to measure how active you are in an average day. If you're walking a lot less than 10,000 steps a day, start making some changes to your routine.