Fitness Routines You Might Be Forgetting

Add fitness to your life by adopting new habits that fit with your old ones.

It's important to get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. But who has a free hour that magically appears, every day, to devote to a fitness routine? No one, least of all parents juggling kids, jobs, homes, school, pets, kids' activities and so on. So look for these 6 hidden opportunities to exercise. If you can add a few of them to your weekly or daily routine, you'll be taking an important step to better health.

Walk to school or work.

Walking to school is an ideal fitness routine.
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You have to get there anyway, so use your muscle power to do it whenever possible. It is well worth the extra few minutes to start your day with some physical activity and fresh air. If you can't commute actively (on foot or by bike), try to add at least a few steps by parking at the far end of the parking lot, or taking a quick lap around the block once you get to your destination.

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Use waiting time wisely.

My kids are old enough to be dropped off at activities, sports practices, and friends' homes, but not old enough to walk or drive themselves there alone. So rather than bringing a magazine or playing games on my phone while I wait for them, I pop in some earphones and take a walk. That's doable almost anytime, anywhere (I'm not above walking in a mall if I have to, or climbing stairs). If you're near a gym or a park with a fitness circuit, even better.

Walk and talk.

When you have a one-on-one or small group meeting, make it a moving one. Walk while you talk, whether it's for business or pleasure. At work, short meetings can often be accomplished on the go (plus: It'll probably make them shorter). Same with school or sports volunteer get-togethers and social hangouts with friends.

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Change your work habits.

If you spend a lot of time at a desk, consider altering your environment to add fitness to your work routine. You could sit on a balance ball instead of a chair. You could use a standing or treadmill desk (even for part of the day or week).

Alternatively, add 2- to 3-minute mini workouts to your work day. Once an hour, get up and move around: Climb a flight of stairs, do a plank, wall-sit, or set of squats. Hit the floor for a few crunches or do some office stretches.

Pay yourself.

Using a fitness tracker can be very motivating. It reminds you to do things like take the stairs or park farther away from your destination so you'll boost your daily step count. For some people, the gamification or social aspect of the tracker is enough. If you need more motivation, set up your tracker so it can help you win cash and prizes.

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Do your chores.

Speaking of trackers: I find that if I wear one on a normal weekend day of errands and housework, I achieve 10,000 steps without a dedicated walk or run. Both gardening and indoor chores can allow you to rack up a lot of activity. So instead of putting them off or outsourcing them, use them as a workout.

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