10 Small Steps to a Fitter You

Just keep moving. It really pays off!

By FamilyTime


Exercise gurus and other fitness experts tell us to “carve out time every week” to exercise. They say the type matters less than the activity itself.

Sounds good, right? Mark the calendar and problem solved.

Not quite! For busy moms — with kids and jobs and houses and friends — that hour at the gym is often the first casualty of an on-the-go life. (Not to mention that missed gym dates can be tough on the pocketbook, too.)

You still want to be healthy, so what can you do to grab a little exercise during your busy day? Here are 10 ideas to add to the tried-and-true advice about parking at the far side of the parking lot and taking the stairs rather than the elevator. (Both excellent suggestions.)

  1. Talk While You Walk:Whether you’re calling the plumber or your long-lost BFF, get into the habit of walking while you talk on the phone. Use an ear piece and walk around the block, or barring that, walk around your house or up and down the stairways in your apartment building.
  2. Get Some Sleep Without enough sleep, you’ll never feel like working out. No one’s body does well without a good seven or eight hours of sleep every night. If that sounds like an indulgence, put that thought out of your head. Insufficient sleep leads to poor health, lagging productivity, and lousy moods.
  3. Get Up Early: Although we suggest a good night’s sleep, it pays to frontload those hours so that you can get up a little early (15 or 30 minutes ahead of the usual) and take a brisk morning walk, practice yoga, or join an exercise class on TV.
  4. Crunch during Commercials: Yikes, there are so many commercials on television nowadays, you can practically write the Great American Novel during the breaks. Instead, drop to the floor and do a few leg lifts, crunches and squats.
  5. Stand Up:Studies show that standing rather than sitting is good for your body. If possible, try a standing desk. Otherwise, stand as often as you can — when you’re on the phone, for example — or set an alarm to remind you to stand up for a few minutes every hour.
  6. Walk the Dog: Grab the leash and get going. Fido will be happy and so will you. Try to keep your best friend moving. Too many stops along the way to sniff and smell (the dog, not you!) counteracts some of the benefits. (No dog? Plug into your favorite music and walk by yourself.)
  7. Dance in the Kitchen: You’ve heard it before. Dance like no one is looking. When you’re in the kitchen, laundry room or bedroom, chances are this will literally be the case. Crank up the music and dance. If your kids are young enough to join in (rather than roll their eyes), encourage these dancing-with-the-tykes sessions. So much fun!
  8. Log onto the Gym: Online fitness is all the rage and many gyms have apps or programs you can log onto to so that you can join a class or do some at-home weight training. There are other online exercise programs out there, not associated with gyms. Find one that you like and you won’t have to leave home for a good workout.
  9. Stand on Your Toes: When you’re standing in line or at the stove, rise up on your toes, hold it for few second, and then slowly return to the floor. These up-and-downs will strengthen your calves.
  10. Play with the Kids: Shoot a few hoops, kick the soccer ball, or play Frisbee with the kids whenever the opportunity arises. If your children are little, pull them in wagon or plop them in the stroller and get moving.