Helpful tips for increasing your daily activity

You have to want to change if you want to get fit and healthy. Once that mental focus is achieved, choosing more active alternatives will come easily. To get you going, here are some helpful tips that can add 30 to 45 minutes to your daily exercise while barely changing your routine.

Helpful tips for increasing your daily activity

Take at least two flights a day

  • Research shows that taking just two flights of stairs a day can add up to a two and a half kilograms (six pounds) of weight loss over a year. Regular stair climbing also improves bone density, aerobic fitness and levels of good cholesterol.
  • Always take the stairs at work and while shopping. If you have stairs at home, make one trip up and down before and after work to be sure you get in at least two flights a day.

Make a meal of it

  • Cooking dinner burns more than twice as many calories as phoning for a pizza. Prepare and cook dinner at least one night a week, and preferably more.

Stand up to meetings

  • Instead of sitting for long periods of time in meetings, suggest regular breaks. Stand up, stretch and walk in the hall. Stay standing until the meeting resumes.

Be an active spectator

  • Your children's or grandchildren's sports practices and games are perfect opportunities for extra movement. You can pace the sidelines. You can walk around the field. The added activity will really give you something to cheer about.

Take the farthest parking spot

  • If you drive to work or church, or anywhere else, park as far from the entrance as possible, to get the longest walk.

Try computer exercises at your desk

  • Once an hour you should straighten and bend each leg 10 times, stand up and rise up and down on your toes 10 times, and stretch your arms to the ceiling.

Start a walking bus

  • Launch a "walking school bus" to help your children, grandchildren or even the neighbours' children to fend off future heart disease. Talk to the school and parents and get their agreement for you to meet the children in the morning and walk them to school, following a set route. Then meet them after school and walk home. If the school is too far away, pick a central location, such as a park, where parents can take their children, and use that as the pickup and drop-off point for your trips.

Think on your feet

  • Stand up whenever you need to write a list or jot down notes. It means that you'll get up and stretch your legs a few times a day.

Turn TV break time into active time

  • Fit in chores during the commercial breaks in your favourite television programs. Getting up to load the washing machine with laundry, empty garbage cans or gather up the dirty dishes can add up to 14 to 24 minutes of activity in an hour.
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