We know how busy life can get and the thought of trying to fit a full-on fitness routine into an already packed schedule can put some people off getting fit before they’ve even begun.
However, you don’t necessarily need to a run a marathon or cut out all unhealthy food to make yourself healthier. By simply making a few small tweaks to your daily routine you can improve your fitness and health without totally reorganising your schedule.
Read below to find out 8 ways you can make small changes to lose weight and improve your fitness. While these changes won’t give you a six pack in a month, they will provide a good foundation on which to build your fitness. If you start to incorporate these 8 changes into your daily routine, you’ll start to feel fitter and healthier and be more likely to want to do some tougher exercise down the line.
Small Changes, Big Difference
1. Take the stairs
It can be a difficult choice – it’s first thing in the morning, you’re not quite fully awake and you’re carrying your laptop into work. The escalators and lift look so tempting but if you can resist you’ll add a little workout into your morning routine. Not only that, it’ll get the blood pumping and get you out of your morning daze and ready for the day. On average, a walk up a single flight of stairs burns around 10 calories, while taking the escalators burns one or two. If you climbed four flights a day, that adds up to burning 40 calories a day or 200 a working week – the same as a doughnut or a pint of lager.
2. Choose fruit
We’re not talking about fruit smoothies or fruit juices but actual pieces of fresh fruit. A smoothie might seem healthy but they often include apple or orange juice that can be full of sugar. Opting for a piece of fruit cuts this sugar out and also means you’ll be getting the added benefit of the extra fibre in the flesh that can often be filtered out by smoothies. Why is this so important? The fibre help slow your absorption of the sugars found in fruit.
3. Ditch the car
In the colder months it can be tempting to jump in the car and go to the shops – even if they are just half a mile down the road. This is not only bad for the environment and your budget, but also is hitting your health. By ditching the car and walking you can squeeze in an extra mile of walking every time – do this three times a week and that’s three miles. That could be an extra 175 calories burned.
4. Change one of your alcoholic drinks for a soft drink once a week
Let’s assume you’re one of the good guys and stick to the recommended weekly alcohol limit of 20 units. That’s around 8-10 pints a week, depending on strength. With the average pint containing 182 calories, by changing one of them a week to a glass of water you make a quick and easy cut to your calorie intake.
5. Small exercises at work
Unless you work in construction or do any other physical labour, there’s a good chance you’re sat at a desk for 8 hours a day. But this doesn’t need to be wasted time. You can squeeze in a few, small exercise throughout the day without your colleagues noticing. Try a few leg lifts under the table or, even better, some chair squats. Every time you sit down hold your position just an inch above your chair for ten seconds.
6. Don’t shop when hungry
A hungry shopper is not a sensible shopper. You’re much more likely to buy junk food and treats when you shop hungry. Go after lunch instead of before and see how different your trolley looks. Snacks and treats are like most things – out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t buy them, you won’t want them.
7. Make everyday tasks a little bit harder
Like your secret work exercises, you can also fit in a few stretches and squats when doing various household chores. Add a bit of extra weight to your vacuum cleaner to give your arms a work out or sneak in a dozen squats when brushing your teeth. If you’re cleaning, try using different stretching poses to get to hard to reach spots. If you do all these for 10 minutes a day, you could be burning off around 100-150 extra calories.
8. Visit a museum
Museums and art galleries are big and can take some time to get around. So, instead of going to cinema and sitting down for a couple of hours, visit a museum or gallery and walk for a couple of hours. A slow, 2mph walk for two hours burns off 277 calories.