How would you feel if one day you wake up and get through your day nicely and breezily and then TA-DA! you already had the exercise of the day? That 30 minutes your doctor asked you to do daily. What if the exercise turns out to be ‘effortless’ business? Well, I have been wanting to take over that kind of business for soooo long. Fortunately, it actually does exist in this world. The concept of natural ways to exercise was introduced to me by two of my beloved books: French Women Don’t Get Fat and Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris. The two books share the similar point of view regarding gym going that it is not really appealing in French culture. Despite the culture, French people still do not get fat. It seems like they have it and have it for a hundred years so why can’t us?
Upon reading these books, I have been trying to incorporate the idea into my life. Thus, I don’t have to go to the gym which means I save a lot of money, a win-win situation! So here it is 8 ideas for you to try the ‘effortless’ exercise while going on your day. Just any time you don’t feel like to be on a treadmill or an elliptical (happen to me so very often whenever I’m on a contract with any fitness), try these instead.
- Shopping, Hooray! If you have a free afternoon but do not want to be at the gym, go window shopping or maybe real shopping if you want. It’s now much more tempting to get dress and go out, right? The tips are walking fast and walk everywhere. This could be at an air-conditioned mall or an outdoor community mall, just simply walk around. Come up with several shop destinations in your mind that you long for and walk to them so you do not stop much along the way. I find that I can walk very fast and for 2-3 hours (yes, that long) when in an air-conditioned mall because I do not think I’m exercising so time fly! The mindset is everything.
- See the stair as an opportunity to exercise your glutes. Better than that, let’s make it a ‘STAIR’ day. Climb any stair you find that day, no elevator, no escalator. If you are on an escalator, you can still walk up (if it does not bother other people). Moreover, talking about productivity, you are traveling and exercising at the same time which saves both time and money. Walking up the stair burns almost twice calories as much as horizontally walking does, so let’s take advantage of it.
- Slip in the walking into your morning. My go-to coffee place is the farthest one so I can walk back and forth to my work and add at least another 1000 steps to my day. Choose the walking path that relaxes you and boost your mood in the right way. My morning path have big trees that provide natural and nice shade in the morning, I feel calm every time walking on this particular sidewalk. Look for one nearby your place and it can help to prepare you for the day ahead.
- Slip another walking at your lunchtime too. Can you pick a lunch spot far away from work? Do so if you can. It easily adds another 1000 steps and in the meantime improve your digestion.
- Go public transportation. It automatically adds standing, walking and climbing into your day. You can also strengthen the muscle if you learn to balance the standing by not holding the handrail on the train, think of it like practicing surf. I actually have a chance to do that every day because the train in my city is super packed and not enough hoop for everyone, see? lucky me 🙂
- Take the kids to the park. Choose your favorite park or it could be the zoo your kids love. Pushing a stroller, wearing a baby carrier or walking/chasing your kids around are the perfect ways to burn the energy. I love to walk all the way and take a rest for a small picnic and then walk back to the beginning. This way I am both exercising and having family bonding time. Bonus! No guilty feeling from spending hours away from my kids at the gym.
- Groceries shopping. This is my favorite one, I love walking in the supermarket. And yes, it is different from normal shopping, looking at all the nice presenting food/goods on the shelf, various kinds of products, wondering how it tastes or smells like. I wouldn’t mind going through every aisle. You can make your weekly or daily supermarket routine as one of your exercises. Just turn it to be an hour of active walking. Time the walk is also helpful if you want to have a feeling of exercise achievement.
- Housekeeping. Cleaning and exercising at the same time, why not? After all, we want to live and sleep in the clean place so let’s go for it. The cleaning that will use lots of energy includes
- Car washing: 120 Calories / 30 minutes
- Floor Mopping: 120 Calories / 30 minutes
- Bathroom scrubbing: 100 Calories/ 30 minutes
- Gardening: 140 Calories/ 30 minutes
(That’s calories for a 5 feet tall girl like me. You can check yours from here)
So the key is being active while you are cruising through your day. Exercise does not need to be at the gym (but sure it can be if that is your desire, go for it). The most important is to enjoy and take a pleasure in what you do. To another energized day, cheers!