Losing weight, as well as and maintaining a healthy weight, is all about calories in and calories out. Not everyone has time to or even enjoys hitting the gym. That’s where everyday life comes in handy. You know that slightly out of breath feeling when you’re scrubbing a tough stain on the floor or running to catch a plane? That feeling means you’re exercising your body hard enough to enjoy real health benefits. Making small adjustments in regular daily activities can give your metabolism a boost, slim your waistline and help you live longer.
Use the following 10 tips to increase your activity level and watch your body change for the better!
1. Power Parking Yes, it’s hot but just park it already! No more scouting out the spot closest to the door. Park as far away as possible and walk quickly or even jog to the door.
2. Stick with Stairs You’ve heard it before but are you doing it? Stairs elevate your heart rate, work your core muscles and gluts. Run up the stairs for 10 minutes and an average size woman (132 pounds) will burn 150 calories.
3. Happy Horseplay Playing with your kids can be a fun, easy and hardcore workout! They love to be tossed around, chased and twirled. Be the horse and let them hop on for a ride. Push them fast down the hall in the laundry basket. Play tag for 10 minutes and burn 50 calories.
4. Pillow Pushups Fun in the bedroom has many rewards. Not only will you and your spouse or partner reconnect and feel closer, you’ll burn 45 calories for every 10 minutes of passionate sex. Cuddling not included.
5. Home Improvement Get the dual benefit of exercise and a better living space when you tackle home improvement projects with gusto. Feeling a little bored with your living room? Spend the afternoon trying new configurations and you’ll burn 60 calories for every 10 minutes of furniture moving.
6. Yard Yoga Both weeding and pushing a lawn mower burn around 50 calories for every 10 minutes you do. Incorporate 10-20 lunges for each leg as you slowly push the lawnmower and feel the burn that comes with strength training.
7. Take a Stand Standing requires you to use your core muscles. The un-activity burns 36 more calories per hour than sitting. Choose to stand while talking on the phone, waiting for your plane to board or working at your computer (easier to do if you have a wireless laptop – but some work places will adjust your desk height). Even better than taking a stand, take a walk the next time you need to talk to a co-worker rather than picking up the phone or sending an e-mail.
8. Power Play Many recreational activities have devices that cut down on the energy you expend – so do yourself a favor and don’t use them. For instance, if you play golf, walk the course rather than renting a cart. Run after your own tennis ball rather using a bucket of balls to work on your serve.
9. Shop ‘Till You Drop Brisk walking around the mall (no sauntering or meandering) can burn between 3.5 and 7 calories per minute depending on factors such as your age, metabolism and weight. Even better, take a trip to the car after every purchase to increase the benefit. Just make sure you don’t negate your hard work by downing a grande Frappaccino® in the food court.
10. DIY It’s time to fire the housekeeper and do it yourself. Don’t buy one of those automated robot vacuums or one that pulls and pushes for you. See a spot on the floor? Take 10 minutes to really scrub your floor you’ll burn 55 calories. Instead of driving through the carwash, grab a rag and bucket for the benefit of 45 calories for every 10 minutes of elbow grease. Walk your dog at a healthy clip. Sprint to the mailbox. It all adds up to a healthier you.
Kristen Horler is the founder and CEO of Baby Boot Camp , an innovative stroller-fitness program designed to help moms maintain or enhance their pre-pregnancy fitness levels and meet the challenges of parenting by emphasizing strength in a supportive environment. Kristen lives in Florida with her husband and 2 kids.