The art of a healthy, happy life

Sneaky ways to add exercise to daily activities


“I really want to exercise but I just don’t have the time!”

clockheadEver said this excuse out loud? Uh-huh…that makes two of us. Truth is, we all have time to exercise – some of us just don’t make it a priority. The good (or bad) news is there’s a sneaky solution that doesn’t let us off the hook. The trick is to incorporate more physical activity into the sedentary tasks we do all day!

It’s really easy and pretty excuse-proof. Here are some ideas to get you started:


  1. Replace your office chair with an exercise ball. While you won’t burn too many calories worth bragging about, you WILL strengthen your core muscles – the very muscles that can give you a regal posture and the strength to do a sit-up like you mean it. And for those of you who suffer from back pain…BONUS! A balance ball can take pressure off your lower back, reducing or alleviating pain altogether.
  2. Get a standing desk. According to an ABC News report, some scientists claim that prolonged sitting is as bad for your health as smoking – and even regular exercise doesn’t seem to cancel out the bad effects of sitting in a chair for hours on end. For these reasons, more and more people are investing in standing desks – some even with treadmills. Fans say they’re losing weight, reducing back pain and feeling significantly more peppy through the day.
  3. Make phone calls standing up. If you’re not convinced you should rush out to buy a standing desk, commit to make all your phone calls standing up. This will help boost your circulation and may even encourage you to take a short walk.
  4. Take a walk during your lunch break. Whether it’s a walk around the block or just to the nearest bench where you can eat your salad, a bit of exercise and fresh air will do wonders for your energy-level and well-being (assuming it’s not freezing cold outside or pouring with rain!) If you can recruit a group of co-workers to join you – even better. Exercise doesn’t seem nearly as much of a chore with friends.
  5. Skip the elevator, take the stairs. This is possibly one of the best and easiest ways to elevate your heart rate in a short amount of time. And if you have more than 10 flights to climb, consider yourself lucky…that’s a pretty good work-out!
  6. Take your dog to work. Unless you enjoy picking up or mopping ‘things’ off the floor, dogs are one of the best ways to make going for walkies completely non-negotiable. However, be sure to run this one by the boss (with any luck, that’s you).


  1. Get your tush off the couch and onto an exercise ball. Same good reasons as replacing your office chair.
  2. Do a short burst of exercise during commercials. Why hear about the latest medications (that come with a million side-effects) when you can take steps to avoid them?! Do a couple of sit-ups, push ups, curls – or whatever floats your boat – while you’re waiting for your program to come back on and before you know it, you can plop your lovely self back onto the couch, guilt-free.
  3. Get a dog (or borrow the neighbors). Dogs make great exercise buddies. The only caveat here is that you actually need to walk (or run) with your pooch – not just let him loose to do his own thing.
  4. Dance to your favorite tunes. Did you know you can dance while you wash dishes, vacuum or do other household chores? Well now you do! Play music, shake your booty and reap the benefits by burning calories, releasing endorphins and having a ton of fun while you’re at it.
  5. Play! Whether it’s with your children, significant other or friends, there’s NO better way to get your heart and blood pumping than through play. Ideally, you should aim to spend time outdoors – bare toes in the grass, lungs inhaling gloriously fresh air. Game systems are another way to play and get active, but definitely a distant second to the outdoors.

So there you have it…implement just one or two of these ideas and you might be amazed by the results. And if you have any of your own great ideas or strategies that work for you – please share, share, share!

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