8 Easy Ways to Get More Exercise That Work for Me

This post is about exercise and weight loss.

We humans are inherently programed to conserve energy — and I am not talking about putting insulation in your attic.

Few people take the stairs when there is an elevator handy. Few people get up to change the channel when there is a remote control on their lap. And few people go for a 12-mile jog when they can watch Seinfeld reruns instead.

 

So it is a natural question: If we are programmed to conserve energy, why do we need to exercise at all?

Our walk to school

How my kids and I walk to school.

Here’s why. You can improve your health and lose weight by following a healthy eating plan (watch out for my upcoming ebook, The Satisfying Diet), but only with exercise can you maximize your health gains. 

It turns out that not exercising is as bad for your health as smoking or being obese. Here is what a respected team of doctors wrote in the Lancet medical journal in 2012:
“Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.”
If people who sit around alot were to become 10 percent more active, 533,000 fewer of us would die each year. A 25 percent increase in activity would help 1.3 million people save their lives, the science shows.
From that perspective, my gym membership doesn’t seem overpriced after all.
Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic puts it this way:
“We know that as soon as somebody gets out of their chair, their blood sugar improves, their blood cholesterol and triglycerides improve. Every time you get up it gets better. Every time you sit down it gets worse. If you add up the fact that you sit many, many hours each day, the cumulative impact is very bad.”

8 Easy Tips for Exercising More that Work for Me

If you’re going for a walk, why not pick someplace beautiful? These people are walking at Bondi Beach, in Sydney where I live. Photo by Brian Giesen, Flickr.

Notice that Levine is talking about getting up out of your chair. He did not say you had to run a marathon to get healthy. You just have to get moving.

My wife and I have added more exercise to our routine, and as a result we feel healthier and happier. Here are eight of the ways we did it:
  1. My wife goes for morning walks. She tends to wake earlier than I do and often goes first thing in the morning, for 30 to 60 minutes. She comes back with sweat glistening on her cheeks and a big smile on her face.
  2. I walk the kids to school. Not only is this good exercise for me, it is great for my kids. Somehow, when we are walking we always have more fun than in the car. We discover flowers, insects, birds. For them, it’s a little adventure.
  3. I bought a second-hand bike for $250. If I have a quick errand to run, sometimes I just hop on the bike and zip down to the store, pharmacist or whatever (especially now that I have a working bike pump, thanks to my sister-in-law). When I get home again, I always feel full of energy.
  4. We take the kids for walks on the weekend. Not far from our house is a nice walking path. We often go there and amble around. It still amazes me how enjoyable it can be to just go for a stroll with the people you love.
  5. When we have to go shopping, I like to park far from the stores we need to visit. We get a slightly longer walk and fill up our health account even as we deplete our bank account.
  6. Both of us take the stairs whenever we can at the office. The big frustration is when stairs are meant to be fire escapes and are designed to let you get out – but not in. In some buildings, for example, opening the fire stair door sets off an alarm.
  7. I have stacked some big binders on my desk. Now I can stand at my desk for part of the day and still comfortably type on my computer, instead of having to stay seated. I find that I shift my weight and move my feet frequently when I am standing and working. The first time I worked standing up with a pedometer, I was shocked by how many steps it added to my day — at least 2,000. (You can also buy an adjustable height desk for less than $500. Use this affiliate link to check out the Ergotron Sit-Stand Workstation.)
  8. We use a pedometer to encourage walking. Just keeping track of how many steps you walk is a good reminder to look for opportunities to get on your feet instead of on your butt. You may surprise yourself with how fast you get to 10,000 steps — the recommended daily amount.[20]

What You Can Do Today

You don’t have to exercise for weight loss. But, I do recommend it as a way to improve your well being.

You can join a gym, or just walk more. How you get moving is up to you. I hope my tips help. Pick one and start using it today. Keep it up for one month, and see how it makes you feel.

Free Resources:

Free Worksheet: Calculate Your Body Mass Index
Free Daily Food Log: Help Yourself Eat Better and Lose Weight
Free E-Newsletter: Stay Motivated, Keep Learning
Free Weigh Loss Quote of the Day or Quote of the Week: Get Inspired Again, and Again, and Again...

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