Just exactly how are we supposed to find 30 minutes a day to do exercise?

The problem with exercise is that most of us simply don’t enjoy it, and even if we do, actually doing it is just not that easy. In between all the other things we’re supposed to do – having a proper breakfast before we go out, fixing a healthy packed lunch for the kids to take to school, working the longest hours in Europe, talking to the kids about their day when they get home, listening to them read and helping them with their homework, sitting down to a proper, home-cooked family meal together – just where is that 30 minutes supposed to come from?

Here’s the answer

You don’t have to make special time to do exercise – just get more active as part of your daily routine. Do what you already do with a bit more oomph behind it and swap inactivity for activity where you can.

6 easy ways to get fitter and burn fat without doing exercise

It’s easy to burn an extra 300 to 400 calories a day and get your heart rate up for 15-20 minutes every day just by getting more active in your daily routine.  Here are 20 ideas in total.  I’ve split them up into lists of 6 so it doesn’t look too daunting:  the idea isn’t that you do all of this, you choose a few to do, experiment a bit, and find out what works for you.  Start by choosing just 1 or 2 and once you’ve integrated those into your daily life and are doing them automatically, add more in, one by one.  Also see my post how to keep going with your resolutions to help you keep up your new healthy habits.

There’s a great calculator which works out how many calories you can burn doing everyday activities as well as different forms of sport and exercise.

  1. If you can walk it in 15 minutes or less, don’t take the car – walk.
  2. Wear a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day.  If you don’t walk at all at the outset, start with a target of 2,500 and build up by 500 a day.
  3. If you’re walking, walk a bit faster – and only a bit faster can make a difference.  Moderately fast walking uses twice as many calories as strolling; very brisk walking uses nearly four times as many.
  4. If you do need to take the car, for example, to do the weekly shop, park it as far away from the entrance to the supermarket as you can.
  5. If you don’t have a garage or driveway and normally park your car on the street, park it further away and walk as fast as you can from the car to your front door.
  6. If you’ve got shopping, still park further away and carry your bags to the front door.

6 more

  1. In general, whenever you’re walking, take the long way round, whether that’s a slightly longer route to the station, the bus stop, the shop, somebody else’s desk, the stock room, the toilet – wherever.
  2. Use the stairs instead of lifts or escalators, or walk up the escalator as many steps as you can manage.  If all you can manage to start with is a few steps, that’s fine, build it up from there, one step at a time.
  3. If you already use the stairs, try to go a bit faster, or try taking 2 steps at a time.
  4. When you take a break at work, go for a walk:  even if it’s just a stroll round the office, but even better, go for a quick walk round the block.
  5. If you can’t get away from your desk, or when you’re sitting there doing whatever you do, jiggle your knees, rotate your ankles or stretch.
  6. If you’re sitting, stand instead whenever you can – so when you pick up the phone, stand up and pace around as you talk; if someone comes to your desk to talk to you, stand up to talk to them.

And another 6

  1. If you’re moving, exaggerate your movements or put a bit more power into them:  stretch a bit further when you push the vacuum cleaner away from you; make big, sweeping movements with the cloth when you wipe down the table; work faster when you scrub the bath or wash the car; jog along with the lawn mower; squat further and faster when you unload the dishwasher.
  2. Don’t use a remote control:  get up to change channels.
  3. Don’t let clutter pile up at the bottom of the stairs and then take it all upstairs back to where it belongs in one go: take each item up one by one instead.
  4. Wash dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher.
  5. Move as you wash the dishes – move from one foot to another; stand up on your tiptoes and back down again over and over; bend your knees a little up and down, over and over.
  6. If you must use the dishwasher, squat-and-lift rather than bending down to load and unload it.

And 2 for luck

  1. Make the bed every day and do it as quickly as you can.
  2. Sweep hard floors by hand with a broom instead of vacuuming.