My Four Pillars of Healthy Weight Loss

Food • Activity • Mindset • Sleep

• Mindset

Ways to Sneak More Movement into Your Day

You don’t need to hit the gym to get moving. Here’s how to fit

a little more exercise into your every day, according to the pros.

Gardening, perhaps?

Diana Kelly and Nicole Saporita

Research shows that something as simple as walking for two minutes after 20 minutes of sitting can improve resting blood pressure.

To help you get more action from your everyday activities, we turned to the fitness pros. Here, are their top tips for making moves.

At Home

Take a commercial break

OK, so you've had a long day at work, cooked dinner…and now you've got a date with The Bachelor. (Woo-hoo!) During each break—or during closing credits if you’re streaming—try doing a set of lunges, squats, sit-ups, or arm circles until your show returns.

Make an extra trip

Hauling all the groceries inside in one go or lugging an overstuffed hamper of dirty clothes to the washer in a single attempt feels great. But you know what feels even better? Breaking it up into multiple trips so you can boost your daily step count.

Save that episode

Calling all podcast fans: Instead of listening to one on your commute or during your downtime, schedule a walk or a jog around the block whenever a new episode drops. The secret here: temptation bundling. Pairing an activity you don’t enjoy as much (say, long walks or running) with something you do enjoy (like your favorite true crime podcast) can help motivate you to do the less loved activity more often, according to Smith.

Squat and sort

Cluttered floor or messy playroom? Turn cleanup into time for leg and butt work. Add a few squats as you bend to put away clothes, shoes, toys, and everything else that isn't where it should be.

Get into gardening

A full-body workout with a side of fresh veggies? Yes, please! While they may not seem like the most intensive activity, gardening tasks—like raking, digging, and weeding—can work a range of muscle groups. If you don’t have a backyard, clear a bit of outdoor space on your balcony, deck, or windowsill to start a container garden, or look for a local community garden in your neighborhood.

On the Go

Be a good sport

If your kids play sports, you’ve likely spent hours sitting on the sidelines while they practice. Next time, transform the waiting game into a workout. Walk around the field or parking lot. (Walking is one of the most beneficial forms of low-impact exercise.) Or try this simple interval exercise to mix things up: Find some space—it could be from one end of the field to the other or even from one parking spot to the next—and see how fast you can walk it. Slowly walk back to your starting point to recover and then repeat.

Pick a farther parking spot

Resist the urge to grab whatever parking spot is closest to the store. Instead, parking as far away as you (and your companions) can comfortably walk is a great way to add extra steps to your day, Smith says.

Go on a supermarket scavenger hunt

Instead of taking your usual route around the store, organize your grocery list so you have to go a bit out of your way to get everything. Almond milk might be one case over from the eggs but separate the two on your list so you have to grab frozen veggies in between, then come back to the dairy section.

Stick with the stairs

It’s a classic, but effective, piece of advice: Whenever you can, take the stairs. Stair-climbing is a low-impact way to raise your heart rate and strengthen muscles. And you don’t have to log hours on the stair climber to reap the benefits: A 2021 study found that after eight weeks, women who climbed stairs at home experienced a similar reduction in heart disease risk factors as did those who exercised at the gym. You can also start small by walking up or down the escalator as it moves.

On Vacation

Ditch the car

Turn an ice cream excursion into an after-dinner stroll. Bike to pick up groceries and snacks. Walk to a nearby playground with your children for an afternoon of fun—push them on the swings, do pull-ups on the bars, or play a game of tag. (And, no, you’re not too grown up to go down the slide.)

Dive into water sports

The possibilities for aquatic exercise during a beach trip are nearly limitless: swimming, bodysurfing, boogie-boarding, surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and waist-deep water walking. And don’t let the fun factor fool you—water movement is a great way to get active. It’s suitable for all ages, easy on the joints, and uses natural resistance to help strengthen muscles.

Play in the sand

Prefer to stay dry? Grab some buckets and shovels and work your arms building a large sand castle or sculpture. You can also make friends with your beach-blanket neighbors and organize a friendly game of volleyball, football, or paddleball.

See the city sights on foot

Headed to the city for a weekend? Schedule a walking tour, plan a day exploring a museum, or pick a new-to-you area and wander around to find hidden gems. And whenever you can opt for public transportation over cabs or car services—it’s not only better for your body and your bottom line, but also it’s often a quicker way to get around.

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