Exercise boosts brainpower, builds muscle, burns calories, helps protect against heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases, relieves stress, and even helps prevent the common cold. And yet only 22 percent of American adults say that they do any meaningful exercise at all. Dr. Arthur Agatston’s book, The South Beach Diet Wake-Up Call, provides the Wake Up and Move 2-Week Quick-Start Plan, a day-by-day guide to getting started with interval walking and core-strengthening exercises. But getting a regular structured workout is only part of the exercise equation: Simply working more movement into your daily routine is also important, particularly if you have a job that requires you to sit in front of a computer screen all day.
Here are some creative, fun, and easy ways to move more at home and at the office:
timed superclean. Turn your
cleanup routine into a workout. Organizing your home is a key step in adopting
a healthy lifestyle. Once you’ve assessed the mess, set a timer on the oven or
your cell phone for 10 minutes, and then see how much of your house you can
clean up before the alarm goes off. Move quickly from room to room; go upstairs
and down. Under the pressure of the timer, you will move quickly to get through
your chores and burn more calories than if you weren’t trying to beat the
workout. Cooking more meals at home is
essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so why not combine kitchen tasks
with some quick exercises as well? You can easily fit in some calisthenics as
you’re cleaning up after dinner: Instead of just standing in front of the sink
when you’re doing the dishes, do 10 leg raises to each side and 10 to the rear
with each leg. Then, after you’ve cleaned the counters, do some half push-ups
right where you are. Stand back, put your hands on the edge of the counter,
lean in, and push back. Start with five and work up from there.
- Office mini-moves. The human body was not designed to sit all day. But when you must sit, do it right: To improve your posture and strengthen your core muscles, sit with your feet on the floor and your knees over your toes. Maintain a tight core, and keep your back straight and your neck relaxed. If your office allows it, switch your chair for a stability ball to achieve better balance and a stronger back and abdominal muscles. Also, make a point to stand up and move around whenever possible during the day (studies show that getting up for a 1- to 3-minute break every half hour or so is optimal). Pace while you’re talking on the phone. Instead of e-mailing or instant messaging your colleagues, walk over to their desks and talk to them in person. If necessary, set a timer to remind you to get up from your desk. Combine it with a trip to the water cooler for more frequent hydration.