How to be more active without working out
by Tobias • 5 minutes read
Last updated: 23 Jun, 2022
We all try to keep fit and active, but sometimes it feels like the only solution is to go into a dark cramped gym and throw some weights around. I'm here to offer alternatives, easy ways to increase your activity without needing to go to a gym. Going to the gym can be expensive, with a gym membership and a personal trainer on top of that. Really all you need to help get your heart rate up and lose some weight is a few extra steps during the day.
Walk around the office
There are some obvious issues with only being active in the gym, the first of which this may only be 30 minutes or an hour a day, it's much healthier to keep moving for as many hours as possible. This is where the first recommendation comes in, taking short breaks at work to walk around and stretch. If you are on good terms with your boss you could float the idea of getting a "standing desk", they have mixed reviews but some people swear by them. There are some people that even go for a short "walking meeting". All these small activities during the day will start to add up over a week or month.
Clean the house
This entry might not be the most fun, but it could be the most rewarding type of physical activity in this list, when you are finished you will have burned calories and have a tidy home. It's a great to get your body moving without feeling like exercise, no one wants to be the lunatic doing jumping jacks in the lounge. Either way, it's certainly a lot healthier than sitting on the sofa watching TV.
A short bike ride can be a very effective way to strengthen your cardiovascular system without having to get all hot and sweaty. There are many types of cycling you could get all dressed up in the lycra suit and aerodynamic helmet, or you could go dutch and use a classic "step-through" bike to meet a friend at a coffee shop. If you are a fan of lycra then you'll be happy to know that you could burn a whopping 850 calories an hour, if you cycled at or above 14mph, now that will definitely help your fitness, even if you do end up a bit sweaty. If you are a more leisurely creature and see the bicycle as a tool to get from A to B then don't fret. Cycling, even at a more civilised pace, could burn 350 calories, with the added bonus of not needing a shower as soon as you get to where you're going.
Go for a walk
This isn't exactly the most ground breaking idea, but going for a simple walk can bring massive health benefits. In fact, if you were to walk outside in nature, studies have shown that it could reduce stress levels and restore mental fatigue. You could gain these benefits in as little as 30 minutes of walking every day, and you could even break these up into three 10 minute walks throughout the day. Continuing the theme of self improvement without torturing yourself, even a walk at a leisurely pace burns calories, for example a walk at lunch could burn over 250 calories an hour. If you did decided to pick up the pace a bit then you could increase the amount of calories burned, for example a brisk walk could burn 369 calories an hour. Walking really is fantastic for improving both your physical and your mental wellbeing.
Now, before I start, I appreciate this isn't an option for some people as they may not have a garden, or perhaps only a very small garden, but for those lucky ones with some space to do it, gardening can be a very beneficial activity. Gardening has been shown to burn about 300 calories an hour, depending on what activity is being done, obviously digging a massive hole will be more physically demanding than using a hose to water the garden. In fact for a 180lb man, watering the garden burns 120 calories an hour, whereas clearing brush burns 498 calories an hour. This is all calculated off the MET's data from the University of Arizona. For those without a garden of their own, there are alternatives, some areas offer community gardens, and within the UK at least you can apply to your local council for an allotment, here you can grow fruit and veg all year round. That's a double benefit, not only are you being active but you also have easy access to lots of healthy fruit and vegetables!
Sometimes there is no better alternative to a gym, for building muscle it stands alone. But we wanted to take the opportunity for all those people that don't self identify as a "gym bunny" or "gym rat" or any other type of sweaty rodent, that there is still plenty of other things that you can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We've only named a few here but hopefully it has opened your mind to other opportunities in your life to help you stay active and get some fresh air.
- Calorie calculators - https://captaincalculator.com/
- MET's data - https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/home
- Mental health benefits of "green exercise" - https://extremephysiolmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2046-7648-2-3
- Mental health benefits of exercise - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
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