Research has shown that regular physical activity can extend your life and help keep you active, flexible, and happy as you age. The secret is extensive amounts of light-intensity physical activity; those who engage in it on a regular basis are healthier than those who don’t. The good news for people who don’t have time to get to a gym every day is that you can get much of the exercise you need by incorporating easy-to-do activities into your daily routine. The following tips are very simple, but they can put you in a better place physically if done every day.
Use the Stairs
For most people, taking the elevator is second nature, something we do automatically. In doing so, we’re missing out on a rewarding workout that’s great for the cardiovascular system and for your metabolism. Climbing stairs may seem a daunting task at first, but don’t worry; you can start small and build your way up. Try doing three or four to begin with, then shoot for 10 after a week or two. Before you know it, you’ll be huffing and puffing all the way to your desk and feeling great for having accomplished such a feat.
Lots of Water
You’re probably familiar with some of the benefits of staying hydrated throughout the day. Water flushes out bodily impurities, and it’s also good for your skin and hair. Maybe best of all is that it helps control your appetite by making you feel full. Do you avoid hydrating because of the many trips to the bathroom? Why not use those trips as an excuse to get in some extra walking — every time you have to urinate, work in an extra lap around the office to increase the number of steps you take every day. It’s a small workout, but those can add up.
Get Into Gardening
Gardening is another good way to combine exercise with a positive and productive activity. It gets you outdoors, breathing fresh air while you move different parts of your body, thereby improving muscle tone and flexibility. Weeding, trimming the bushes, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, and tending a garden are all excellent ways to stretch out and improve mobility and overall physical strength. The only real restriction is the weather. Think of it as healthful multitasking: You’re getting a workout while growing foods that will support your physical health later on.
Indoor Air Quality
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality is, on average, considerably lower than outdoor air quality. This means our homes trap all kinds of unhealthy airborne pollutants and allergens. Keep your carpeting well-vacuumed, clean out the air ducts, and use an air purifier, which can make a sizable improvement in the quality of the air you breathe. If possible, get one with a HEPA filter to remove as many toxins as possible. Using an air purifier can make a tremendous difference for someone who suffers from allergies, has asthma, or struggles with some other pulmonary difficulty. Make sure to change your filters regularly for maximum performance. Keep in mind, however, that air purifiers cannot remove 100 percent of pollutants from the air.
Ride/Walk to Work
You can help protect the environment and improve your health by taking a bus part of the way to work, getting off, and walking or riding a bike the rest of the way to your destination. You’ll also save a bundle of money on gas and parking.
It’s surprising how many ways you can work physical exercise into your daily routine. In fact, you may be doing it without even realizing it (if you walk a lot in your job or getting to work, you are getting exercise). Try thinking outside the box, and look for opportunities to raise your heart rate and work your muscles.