5 Easy Ways to Add More Physical Activity to Every Day

Tips for fitting mini bouts of activity into your daily routines
Author: Donna Behen

Remember the advice to do jumping jacks or other types of exercises during TV show commercials?

Today, thanks to the popularity of streaming services and digital video recorders (DVRs), it’s possible to watch television without ever having to pause for a commercial break. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of other opportunities throughout the day to squeeze in a little physical activity.

Regular exercise is good for your health in a multitude of ways, including helping to relieve stress, improve sleep and boost your overall mood. And it’s a lot easier to meet the recommended goal of getting 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity physical activity when you can count mini bouts of exercise, even if they only last a few minutes.

Here’s how to easily add more activity into your everyday routines.

In the kitchen

While you’re waiting for the microwave to ding or the kettle to boil, do a few minutes of jumping jacks, squats or pushups at your kitchen counter. If you’re preparing a big meal and spending a lot of time in the kitchen, try these exercises recommended for chefs.

Waiting in line

We’re all in lines a lot more these days, now that stores and other businesses are limiting the number of people in indoor spaces due to the pandemic. Instead of immediately pulling out your phone, use that time in line to do a few sets of standing crunches. Stand up tall and pull in your abdominal muscles as though you’re about to be punched in the stomach. Hold for 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat this five to 10 times.

At work

If you have a desk job, make it a priority to take frequent breaks throughout the day to stand up, walk around and do some simple stretches. Set a timer on your computer as a reminder. Even when you’re sitting in front of the computer, you can add in some easy exercises. Even just the simple act of fidgeting while you sit can be good for your cardiovascular health.

Doing housework

Cleaning and doing other chores around the house definitely counts toward your physical activity goal, but you can increase the intensity by adding some strength training moves.

While you’re binge-watching

A 2018 study found that sitting for long periods of time while streaming a television series carries the same health risks as taking a long-haul flight. In between episodes, pause the TV so you can get up and do a few minutes of exercise, such as jumping jacks, stair climbing or jogging in place.