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It’s The Little Things: 10 Unexpected Ways To Add Cardio To Your Daily Routine

Tuesday, April 2014

It should come as no surprise that exercise is a key contributor to health and happiness. Beyond the endorphin rush from a runner’s high, exercise is closely linked to a higher quality of life, improved health, and boosted mood levels. So what do you do when you can’t fit a full workout in to you week? Here’s a surprise – falling active doesn’t have to completely fall by the wayside just because you’re too busy!

Sneaking some cardio into your daily routine is an efficient way to work on your fitness – and sometimes it can even be on par with the benefits of a scheduled sweat session. More time getting moving in our day-to-day activities means less time sitting, which can lower the risk of nasties like heart disease, diabetes, obesity… and early death. While intense exercise is good for us, it doesn’t completely erase the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, so making an effort to get your blood pumping during the day can have some serious long-term benefits for your lifestyle!

So… how much cardio is enough, and how can you fit it in to your hectic schedule? Experts recommend that 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise, plus two days per week of strength training, is an appropriate level of exercise for most people. If it’s 30 continuous minutes of activity, or three 10 minute sessions, we’d like to show you 10 simple ways that even the busiest of folk can get active, at home, work or play!

At the office

1. Be a stair master: But consider taking them one at a time, not two. Researchers found that while the rate of caloric expenditure is higher when taking two at a time, the burn over an entire flight is more when taking one at a time. In one study, participants climbed a 15-meter stairway five times a day with an average of 302 calories burned per week using one step and 266 calories per week using the double step.

2. Please stand up: Think of your phone ringing as an alarm to get up out of the chair. Throw in a few bodyweight exercises before sitting back down (and check out this list for some great ideas).

3. Hydrate often: Getting lots of H2O means more trips to the bathroom (drinking water might also help ramp up metabolism). Pick a bathroom on a different floor, and visit it often.

4. Walk and talk: Make like the West Wing and hold walking meetings. While moderate walking uses almost two-and-a-half times the energy of sitting in a meeting, mobile meetings can also strengthen work relationships, improve health, and boost creativity.

On the Go

5. No more lazy layovers: Stuck in the airport because of a delayed flight? Don’t just sit there. Do terminal laps — but skip the moving sidewalks!

6. Ditch the drive: Bike or walk to work instead. In addition to adding stress, commuting via public transportation or car can rack up sitting time and lead to weight gain. Just make sure to follow some basic safety precautions and rules of the road!

Chores Galore

7. Made in the shade: While running errands, park in the shadiest spot, not the closest, to log more steps and keep the car cool.

8. Take a lap (or three!): Browsing the perimeter of a grocery store can do more than just promote healthy food choices. Take a couple of laps to compare prices and rack up some steps! Pushing a cart around the grocery store uses 105 to 155 calories in a half-hour. Bonus points for lugging home the groceries!

Weekend Fun

9. Hit the dance floor: Shake it to your favourite beat (but we’re not talking Taylor Swift). Just 30 minutes — or about seven or eight songs — of fast dancing can use up 180 to 266 calories.

10. Take an active date: Challenge your date to a game of tennis. In addition to burning 210 to 311 calories in 30 minutes, tennis may improve bone health, reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, and lower body fat.

Little bits of exercise throughout the day can add up — just get creative! Pair some of these sneaky cardio boosters with unexpected strength training to vary the routine and meet the weekly recommendations for exercise.


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It’s The Little Things: 10 Unexpected Ways To Add Cardio To Your Daily Routine