We all know that exercise is good for our health. But how many of us pick up a gym membership in January, only to have it gathering dust before February has begun? Here are ten easy steps that you can take (no pun intended, see below) for better health without going to the gym. And we’re not just talking exercise!
1. Get creative
Many of us enjoy picking up a paintbrush, a sketching pad, a scrapbook, a pair of knitting needles, or even a better microphone. We know it’s fun, right? We often see creative arts as fun pastimes or hobbies, rather than an integrative part of our physical and mental well-being.
Engaging in creative pursuits is entertaining and relaxing, and it has been proven to do wonders for our mental and physical health.
2. Add an extra challenge into everyday moves
Here’s an example: stand on one leg while you brush your teeth. You can practice your balance and strengthen your core this way.
Another example: when you go to sit down, sit down slowly so that you are basically doing a low squat. Try these slow squats every time you sit down. If you can feel your glutes and your hamstrings at the end of the day, you’ve made fitness progress!
Finally, whenever you want to reach something up high, stand up, and really stretch for it rather than grab a chair.
3. Get sneaky with hidden ways to exercise
Rather than sit on a chair, sit on an exercise ball instead. Play around with finding your balance, lifting your toes off of the floor. Not only is this more fun than a conventional chair, but you’ll be working your core too!
Here’s another sneaky exercise trick. Loop one of these booty bands around your legs, either around your thighs above the knees or around your calves. While you’re sitting at your desk, push out to the sides with your legs to further tighten the booty band. Your legs will thank you!
4. Create fun ways to add more steps to your day
OK, so we all know to take the stairs rather than the elevator, right? Or to get off one stop earlier from the bus and walk the rest of the way… we know the usual ways to add steps to your day.
But what about doing a walk for charity? Or organizing a Monday office walk? Or a Sunday family walk?
How about playing a game to see how many trips you can take to bring the laundry downstairs, the aim being to make as many trips as possible? (Yes I’m saying bring one sock at a time if you have to!)
If you’re thinking why be inefficient with the laundry, let me tell you why: climbing stairs burns more calories per minute than jogging!
5. Participate on the playground
Rather than sit on a bench while your kids play, get involved in the game with them. Climb the monkey bars, go down the slide, jump across the stepping stones. Your kids will thank you, and your heart will too.
6. Work with people you get along well with
Researchers have found that people who get along well with their coworkers tend to live longer. Funnily enough, getting along well with your boss makes no difference to your longevity. So check out your colleagues carefully!
7. Be part of a connected community
People who live as part of a friendly community or have good relationships with neighbors tend to be more relaxed and live longer and healthier lives.
8. Take advantage of free online workout videos
If you like to exercise and want to do it at home, there are many free exercise videos online. Find a 30-day challenge that appeals to you and start there. It’s free and effective!
And no need for weights or other equipment. For a full workout that does the job and improves balance and flexibility as well as strength, look for routines that use resistance bands.
9. Cultivate happiness and optimism
Experiencing happiness, optimism, hope, and laughter has been proven to benefit the cardiovascular system. A Harvard study was done showing that those people who hope more have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
10. Get a massage
Treat yourself to a massage: studies show that massage can slow the heart rate as well as lower stress hormones and blood pressure.
You can book in a massage as a reward to yourself for having followed the above tips for better health!