And it's as easy as adding short bursts of physical activity throughout the day, according to a new Canadian research. But the key is to aim for a cumulative 30-minute increase in moderate physical activity throughout the day to reap cardio-respiratory fitness and long-term health benefits.
"It's encouraging to know that if we just increase our incidental activity slightly -- a little bit more work around the house, or walking down the hall to speak with a co-worker as opposed to sending an email -- we can really benefit our health in the long-term," says Ashlee McGuire, the study's lead researcher and a graduate student in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. "Best of all, these activities don't take up a lot of time, they're not difficult to do, and you don't have to go to a gym."
Of course, they're no substitute for regular exercise, but for those busy days when you have no time to hit the gym, you have no excuse not to stay fit. Try these tips to "move more":
- When you are getting ready in the morning, stretch your calves while brushing your teeth.
- Get up and stretch while you watch television or talk on the phone.
- Walk -- instead of drive -- to the convenience store.
- Do household chores (such as vacuuming and scrubbing) with more energy.
- Schedule walking dates with your spouse or neighbor.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park your car farther from your office and walk.
- Walk to your co-worker's cubicle to talk face-to-face instead of phoning or emailing.
- Go to the bathroom that is farthest away from your desk.
- Stand up and stretch at least once an hour.
- Do light stretches and exercises while sitting at the computer.