This is an edited extract from Lorna Jane Clarkson’s forthcoming book, More of The Fit Woman’s Secrets.
One of the important things about active living is that you make a conscious effort to move more on a regular basis in your everyday life.
So for those days when you are finding it absolutely impossible to block out an hour, or half an hour to work out, don’t despair because I’m here to tell you that you can still increase your heart rate and burn off some of those extra kilos by incorporating small amounts of exercise into your daily life.
It’s called “incidental exercise” and it’s a great way to get fit and burn some extra calories without noticing. All you need to do is find a few extra minutes here and there. After all, even a small amount of exercise is better than none at all.
For me, incidental exercise includes things like walking my dog, which I do twice a day, taking the stairs, walking to the local store instead of hopping in the car, and running my own errands at work instead of asking one of my staff to do them for me.
Here are a few of my tips on hot to fit a few minutes of incidental (but highly beneficial) exercise into your busy day:
1. Turn a get-together into an exercise opportunity. You’re off to meet someone for lunch or coffee. Why not meet and go for a walk first? It’s amazing how enjoyable exercise can be combined with a little stimulating conversation and the company of a good friend. Make it a regular date; you’ll be helping a friend get fit and there’s always that cappuccino waiting for you when you finish, for a little added motivation.
2. Walk more. Take a walk in your lunch break, or walk your dog on the weekends. It’s a great way to clear your head, get some fresh air and escape the house or office. Another good idea is to walk your kids to school. As well as being good for your health and the health of your children, time spent without the distractions of TV, homework and computer games will do wonders for your relationships.
3. Do two things at once. Learn to look at every activity as a chance to exercise your body. Dance a little while you dust; do leg-lifts or knee bends while you’re brushing your teeth. When you’re on your mobile do some stretching or walk around the room. You could even do some pelvic floor exercises while you’re making dinner or watching television. Have some fun with it and use your imagination. The only rule is to keep moving.
4. Play with your kids. Instead of using the excuse that you can’t exercise because you’re looking after the kids, why not get outside and join them? Turn off the TV and play cricket, go bike riding or have a go on the swings. You’ll have a whole lot of fun too.
5. Turn shopping into a workout. I was telling everyone prior to Christmas that shopping was my cardio! So why not stick to that mindset and get a mini workout while picking up a few of your favourite things? Park a little further away than usual from the shops and walk further. Take the stairs instead of the lift and if you use the escalator, use it as a Stair Master and get those legs moving to improve your cardiovascular system and tone your buttocks and thighs. Lastly, resist the temptation to put everything in a trolley. Carry your shopping and use the weight of the bags as the muscle-toning resistance on your way back to the car.
Incidental exercise is a perfect example to show that by simply changing your mindset you can easily find ways to move a little more on those days when you just can’t find that 30 minutes or full hour of dedicated workout time.
Lorna Jane Clarkson is an entrepreneur and founder of Lorna Jane fitness stores. More of The Fit Woman’s Secrets will be available from July 2013.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.