A blog by runners. For runners.

Step away from the TV: 7 ways to be more active when you’re not working out

7 ways to be more active when you're not working out
Sure, you walk and run for an hour or so of exercise each day. But what about those hours you aren’t on the trail or at the gym? Many of us are sedentary. And it’s not entirely our fault either. We’re certainly part of a culture that promotes sitting at work all day and sitting at home relaxing at night. All it takes to break out of this sluggish cycle are little activities here and there that add up to something big.

  1. Choose walking: If you live in an area that allows you get to places on foot, take full advantage. Literally run your errands. Walk to the library or post office. I live about a half mile from my daughter’s preschool and walk her to and from each day, adding two miles total to my daily routine. And the old suggestion still holds: park your car farther away from the store to easily add more steps to your day.
  2. Exercise at work: There are a number of moves you can do in your office chair to get a low-sweat workout when you’d otherwise be sitting stationary. Here are 8 desk-friendly workouts that will help combat the evils of sitting disease. My favorite? Seated yoga – helps work out all those kinks!
  3. Unwind and rewind: We all have our vices, and for many of us – myself included – it’s television. Rather than lay on the couch all night catching up on the latest episodes of your favorite show, head to the gym. If you time your workout just right, you’ll be able to walk or jog on the treadmill and kill two birds with one stone. Not playing what you want to see? Consider bringing your phone or tablet and watching (or listening) what you want.
  4. Get a dog: First make sure you’re ready for the extra set of responsibilities involved, but adding a furry friend to your family is a great way to get more activity to your days. You’ll want to walk your dog often, meaning you’ll have extra incentive to head outside and move your body. And certain breeds are even great running partners.
  5. Clean your house: Did you know you can burn up to 187 calories washing your floors for just 30 minutes? Washing your car by hand is another 153 calories. Spend the whole day cleaning, and the activity adds up fast. The bonus? Your place will be sparkling when you’ve finished.
  6. Stand more: Just by standing alone you burn 0.7 calories more per minute (around 50 calories each hour) than you do sitting. In a study conducted in the UK, volunteers were asked to stand versus sit, and beyond the caloric burn, their heart rates were up 10 beats per minute as well. If you add just 3 hours of standing to your day, in a year it can add up to 30,000 extra calories, or around 8 lbs of fat.
  7. Cook in: Cooking also burns between 68 and 102 calories per hour, depending on how vigorous you get with your chopping. The added benefit here is that you can control what ingredients go into your foods. Why not head to your local farmers market and take a brief walk while you’re there? That way, you’ve seamlessly added some nice, light activity to your day with a hot meal to boot.

Written by Ashley Marcin.