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Let’s face it. Most of us could use a little bit more exercise in our lives. We could all stand to eat more vegetables and fewer cookies. Some people naturally find the daily motivation to get up an hour earlier and run 5 miles before heading to the office. I’m not one of those people.
Chances are if you’ve clicked through to read this article, you’re not one of those people either. So we need a few ways to sneak exercise in throughout the day.
Here are 5 great ways to add exercise to your day, in order of increasing sneakiness:
1 – Park Further Away
This is so simple, but we miss so many opportunities to take advantage of it! Park, at the far end of the parking lot and walk to your office, the supermarket, your dental appointment, whatever. Any place that you drive to, and park your car, is a place where you can get in a nice little walk.
There’s nothing tricky about this. Just put one foot in front of the other and get from Point A to Point B, preferably via a longer path than yesterday.
2 – Take The Stairs
Similar to number 1, you probably could have guessed that this would be on the list. And yet, you could use a reminder. I’m lucky that my office has a large, open staircase and my desk is only two flights up from the entrance. It makes taking the stairs a much more inviting option. I took the stairs through my entire pregnancy and it wasn’t a big deal.
Now, let’s manage expectations here. You can’t show up to work sweating and panting. If, for example, you work on the 22nd floor of a building and taking the stairs all the way up to your floor would be a little crazy, take the elevator most of the way and get off with a few floors left to climb.
3 – Wall Pushups
Pushups are great exercise for your arms, chest, and core. That being said, you might not always be dressed appropriately to get down on the floor and do pushups. Also, if you haven’t done a pushup in a while, this version against the wall is much more attainable than traditional pushups.
Place your hands on the wall at chest height. Then take a step back, keeping your hands on the wall. Engage your abdominals to keep your torso in a straight line. Keeping your shoulder blades wide, bend your elbows to lean closer to the wall. Then slowly press away. Do two sets of ten repetitions.
You can do this exercise pretty much anywhere that you have a wall. If you’re outside, you can even do these against a tree. If you want to increase your resistance, lean down so that your body is at an angle to the floor, and push against your desk or a bench instead of the wall. Just make sure you push against something that isn’t going to move!
4 – Desk Chair Tricep Dips
The back of the arms is a problem area for many women. Dips are a great way to target the triceps. Admittedly, this exercise might seem a little bit odd to your coworkers. So maybe wait to try these until your work neighbor goes to the bathroom or pops out for a coffee.
Sitting in your desk chair, place your hands on the seat beside your hips, with your arms extended and your fingers facing forward. Scoot forward until your butt is off the seat. Bend your elbows to slowly lower yourself down and then push back up. That’s one. Do two sets of ten repetitions.
5 – Squats While You Brush Your Teeth
This is by far my favorite sneaky exercise. Squats are great for your legs and of course your butt. When you stand in front of the mirror to brush your teeth, look yourself in the eye and resolve to do a little tiny bit of exercise.
Most dentists say it takes at least two minutes to properly brush your teeth. In 120, seconds you can accomplish 20 really good squats.
With your feet about hip width apart, bend your knees and count to four as you slowly lower down. Keep your torso as upright as you can throughout. Push back up for a two count. Bonus points for holding one long, deep squat while you floss.
You can experiment with different foot positions to target different muscles in the legs. Placing your feet farther apart and slightly turning them out will target the inner thigh. If you’re really feeling adventurous, try single leg squats. You simply (but not easily) perform the same moves while holding one foot off the ground.
Remember, exercise doesn’t have to happen in hour long chunks of time and it certainly doesn’t have to be confined to the gym! Your exercise regimen doesn’t have to be super strenuous and time consuming in order to make progress and feel better about yourself. It just has to be a little bit better than yesterday. Sneak in some calorie-burning moves any time and any place that you can.