Add Steps, Lose Pounds

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

It's a busy world. Lots to do every day. Drop off the kids, put in a full day at the office, pick up the kids, go to your daughter's soccer game - yep, it's a busy world. And trying to squeeze in an hour of exercise every day is just impossible. You don't have enough time to do what you already have to do - so what do you do?

No problem. You can make exercise a part of your everyday routine without actually changing your routine. See if any of these tips work for you.
  1. Park far from the entrance. Then walk.
    Whether it's the entrance to work, school or the mega-mall, don't drive up and down looking for a spot near the door. Choose a spot away from the entrance. Then hoof it. You'll add a few thousand steps a week to your routine - and that's more than a mile of walking that you didn't do before.

  2. Take the stairs.
    You've heard this one before, but that's because it's a fine idea. Don't take the elevator or the escalator. Take the stairs. Walking up a few flights of stairs carrying a briefcase, laptop, purse and lunch will get your heart pounding a little bit, providing aerobic benefit. You'll also give your calf and leg muscles a nice work out, and still be on time for that important meeting.

  3. Stretch.
    If you sit at a desk all day, your muscles stiffen and you feel achy. Every hour, on the hour, stand up and stretch - a big stretch from head to toe. Work out the kinks before getting back to the keyboard. Your muscles will thank you for the effort.

  4. Butt Crunches Stuck In Traffic
    Try this the next time you're stuck in traffic.Tighten your butt cheeks, hold for 5-10 seconds, then release. Repeat that a few dozen times each day to and from work and you'll have a firmer butt in no time. Just don't miss your exit.

  5. Aerobic House Cleaning
    You don't need an aerobics instructor to get some aerobic exercise. Make house cleaning exercise. Move quickly (but carefully, of course) and get your heart beating and your breathing a bit heavy. Keep up the pace and, not only will you get this loathsome chore done faster, you'll also feel better when you're finished.

  6. Take the stairs two at a time (except when you're carrying groceries).
    How many times do you go up and down the stairs everyday? Ten times? Twenty? 4389? (It feels like it some days.) Okay, start taking the stairs two at a time for a little mini-workout 12 times a day. You'll work your thigh muscles and strengthen your knee joints and the ligaments that hold those knee joints in place.
See, it's not hard to build exercise into your hectic life. In fact, you can stretch just about anywhere without drawing attention to yourself, and you can work your underused muscles and joints by changing a few habits. You'll feel better, look better, work and play better - and you won't even feel as though you're exercising - perhaps the biggest benefit of all!