So You Want to Exercise More in 2020? 31 Easy Ways to Get More Exercise

Health & Wellness

January 01, 2020

You're motivated and ready to get more exercise in the New Year. Here's good news: you don't have to join a gym, sign up to run a 10K race, or brave Indiana's cold, gray winter weather.

(Though kudos if any of those are part of your plan.)

Pumping iron, Zumba® classes and running can certainly help you meet your exercise goals said IU Health primary care physician Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber. But there are also easy ways to move more that you probably haven't even thought of.

"For a healthy lifestyle, getting more exercise is about incorporating activity into your daily living," said Rohr-Kirchgraber.

It's the approach consistently used by people living in Blue Zones, a name first used by author Dan Buettner. He studied areas of the world where people live exceptionally long lives. He found that people in Blue Zones don't carve out daily time at the gym. They build exercise into their lives through gardening, walking and other daily chores and activities.

Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend adults get 150-300 minutes of exercise a week. That means 30-60 minutes of moving five times a week to raise your heart rate. They recommend adults get muscle-strengthening activity at least twice a week.

31 Ways to Get More Exercise

  1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  2. Park at the far end of the parking lot.
  3. Stand instead of sitting to burn more calories.
  4. Walk at lunch or on breaks.
  5. Walk or bike instead of driving.
  6. Use an exercise ball instead of a chair at your desk to build core strength.
  7. March in place, stretch or ride a stationary bike while watching TV.
  8. Move—march in place, sit-ups, jumping jacks, dance—during commercials.
  9. Tighten your abdominal and glute muscles while driving or sitting at your desk.
  10. Play outside with your kids.
  11. Take the baby or kids for a stroller or wagon ride.
  12. Walk or run as your kids ride their bikes.
  13. Walk the sideline or bleachers during your child's sporting event.
  14. Get a dog and walk it.
  15. Do squats, lunges or march in place while microwaving food.
  16. Do squats while brushing your teeth.
  17. Do calf raises while getting ready in front of the bathroom mirror.
  18. Plant and tend a garden.
  19. Take a walk with a friend instead of lunch or coffee.
  20. Have walking meetings instead of office meetings.
  21. Use hand weights while on calls or listening to webinars at work.
  22. Crank the music and dance around the house.
  23. Scrub the floor, run the vacuum, wash the windows.
  24. Wash the car by hand instead of the drive-through car wash.
  25. Get off the bus one stop early and walk to where you're going.
  26. Shovel snow instead of using the snow blower.
  27. Rake leaves instead of using a leaf blower.
  28. Ditch the golf cart and walk the golf course.
  29. Get up and move after sitting for 30 minutes.
  30. Sit at the end of your chair to use full body strength.
  31. Wear a fitness tracker and aim for 10,000 steps a day.

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