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5 ways to sneak more activity into your everyday life

Small amounts can make a difference

“I don’t have time to exercise.”

How often have you said that to yourself? In our modern, fast-paced world, we barely allow ourselves time to get up from our desks to eat lunch or set aside some time to spend outdoors on a warm night. Not to mention, find time to get the kids to and from school, make dinner, and drive to the gym.

So, how do you fit in physical activity when you're crunched for time?

How to get moving — sneak it into your daily routine

Research from the CDC External Site shows that less than half of all adults get the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week. And, an estimated 67 percent of adults External Site report sitting for more than eight hours per day, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

While you may not have time to hit the gym five days a week or you can't get away from your desk job, there are some simple things you can do to sneak more activity into your daily routine.

  1. Get up and take a walk

    If you spend the majority of your day in front of a computer screen, it's important to take regular and frequent breaks. Taking a walk is one of the simplest, safest and most effective forms of exercise and can substantially reduce the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes while also helping control weight, reduce stress, and improve muscle tone.

    Not only does taking a walk have a whole host of health benefits, studies show it can also boost productivity External Site. So, no need to feel guilty for taking a quick step away.

    Pro tip: Keep a pair of tennis shoes near your desk so you can lace up quickly when you have the time for a quick stroll. 

  2. Walk to lunch or dinner instead of ordering in

    A brisk walk to a lunch or dinner spot just 10-minutes away, five times a week, gets you two-thirds of the way to the recommended physical activity goal. That’s a 20-minute walk there and back per day!

    Proximity to restaurants and weather are factors, but sometimes a little life hack can be just what the doctor ordered when your time is at a premium.

  3. Take the stairs

    Exercise doesn't mean you have to go for an intense run. In fact, studies have shown that stair climbing actually burns more calories per minute External Site than jogging. No matter your fitness level, taking the stairs is sure to get your heart pumping and strengthen the muscles in your legs, abs, arms and back. 

  4. Make activity fun

    Make exercise fun and get your family and friends involved. When the weather is nice, go outdoors for a family walk, hike, or hit the bike trail. Maybe you want to train with a friend to run or walk a race in your community External Site.

    If you're looking for a shorter race to kick your motivation in gear, consider the Grand Blue Mile External Site. The one-mile event is in downtown Des Moines. It's a great option no matter your fitness goals or level. If you're a marathoner, casual jogger or just getting active — this race is for you.

  5. Multitask while watching your favorite show

    If you want to end your day vegging in front of the television, no worries. You can still take advantage of this time to fit in some activity. Jogging or walking in place, lunges and wall push ups are all easy ways to increase your heart rate, yet keep your eyes on the latest series you're watching.

Need more workout motivation? Check out all our fitness articles to find training tips, new workout ideas and much more!