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For me, getting exercise in with a full-time job and two little kids can be quite a challenge. While I have a gym membership that I used quite frequently before our second child was born, it has become increasingly difficult to get out of the house for the block of time necessary to go to the gym, exercise, then come back and shower before getting back to taking care of the kids. I needed an easy way to burn calories without going to the gym.
Exercise is very important for both your overall health and for keeping weight gain in check so I’ve designed some workarounds that help me get in some exercise every day while not taking away from time with the kids.
Here is a quick list of 15 ideas for easy ways to burn calories
I try to get to work a few minutes early in the morning and use that time to do some walking. I work on a floor with a hallway that goes all the way around the building. One of the first things I do when I get to work is to go to the break room to get water. This gives me the opportunity to get moving.
If you plan to walk as a way to get some daily exercise, your shoe choice is very important. These days I wear mostly flats so I usually can sneak in some extra walking wherever I am. For those who prefer to go for more fashionable footwear that is not walking-friendly, an easy solution is to stash a pair of tennis shoes or flip-flops at your desk. That way you can slip those on for a quick walk whenever you get the chance then put your fancy shoes back on in time for your next meeting.
Wearing comfy shoes is essential for the next tips on the list. These are my absolute favorite work flats – they look super cute with lots of outfits and are soooo comfortable!
Take the stairs
Taking the stairs every chance you get is a good way to not only add steps but to also work your legs and butt. I take the stairs, both up and down, any chance that I get. It’s an easy way to burn calories without much effort. The only exception to this rule for me is when I’m in an unfamiliar building and I can’t find the stairs.
Set a daily goal
Setting a goal is important so you know what a successful day looks like. My goal every day is to get between 10,000 and 15,000 steps. I check my steps periodically to make sure I’m on track against my overall daily goal total. I usually try to beat the previous day’s step count, which gives me something more specific as a target. You don’t need a fancy step tracker – I just use my phone. However, if a fancy step tracker will keep you motivated, then get one by all means.
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Set your day up for success
As I mentioned, I track my steps with my phone and I have a certain goal in mind each morning for how many steps I would like to get before 8 a.m. I leave my water bottle in the breakroom while I make a few laps around the hallway until I reach my goal number of steps. Then I fill up my water bottle and head to my desk to get the day started with a little bit of exercise under my belt. Another easy way to burn calories – check!
Take walking breaks
About mid-morning, I’m done with my tea and hit a small energy slump. This gives me the opportunity to get away from my desk and stretch my legs. I’ll grab my phone and either listen to a podcast, music or make a quick phone call as I take a brisk walk for another easy way to burn calories. This allows me to get a few more steps in and I come back to my desk a few minutes later with a fresh focus, ready to tackle my next task.
Set up mini goals
Another trick I use is to set up mini goals throughout the day. These serve as checkpoints on how I’m doing with my step count and allow me to ramp up my activity if I see I’m not close to hitting my targets. I have a certain goal step count for lunch and another one as I leave the office for the day.
Walk during lunch
Another great chance to get some steps in is to go for a walk after lunch. It’s actually a good idea to take a walk since it lets your food settle and start digesting. It can also help with the sleepy feeling that follows after a big lunch. I like to make a few laps around my building since I work in a more industrial area of town but if you work close to a neighborhood or a park, this could be a great opportunity to relax and unwind as you get out of the walls of your office and enjoy some fresh air.
Go small for water and coffee
Drink water and coffee out of a small glass/cup. This will force you to get up and walk to the break room so you can refill it multiple times a day. It’s also a great way to ensure you don’t sit stuck at your desk for too long and will give you a nice break from staring at your screen. It may seem like just a few steps but those add up over time and it’s such an easy way to burn calories.
Walk when you are on the phone
If you need to make a phone call for any reason, either talking to a friend or during a conference call where you don’t need to see your computer screen, use your cell phone. This allows you to plug in your headphones and walk during the call. That way you can get away from your desk and clear up your mind (it helps me!). Any chance you have to walk during a phone call is a bonus.
I have discussed this before with my co-workers and they are very open to it (we haven’t tried it yet!). A walking meeting would be a great way to get some exercise instead of being stuck around a table staring at each other. Most people are open to it so next time you have a small meeting scheduled where you only need to talk, ask the other 2-3 people if they would like to do a walking meeting. You may be surprised at the results.
Park far away
No list of tricks to get you to walk more will be complete without the time-honored mention of parking far away from the front door so you can get more exercise walking to and from the building. This is an easy way to burn calories, get a few more steps in, and, as a bonus, it makes it much easier to find a parking spot.
Walk if it’s close
Are you going to a store that’s within a one- to two-mile drive from your house? What about a coffee shop or a bank close by? Put on your walking shoes and walk those errands that are close to your house. I can’t do it every time because of time constraints with two small children but whenever I get a chance, I find it’s a great way to get in some more exercise and to make my errands a little more pleasant.
Walk when you are waiting
Are you waiting at the doctor’s office before an appointment? Or at the pharmacy when you are filling a prescription? Often times you can get up and walk around the clinic or pharmacy instead of sitting around, playing Candy Crush on your phone. It’s a quick and easy way to burn calories while you wait. Just make sure to let the staff know that you will be stretching your legs and either leave a cell phone number or ask them when you should come back so you don’t miss your appointment. If you stay within the walls of the clinic, they may be able to just call your name over the intercom.
Take a family walk
When the weather is nice, we like to take the whole family out for a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. It allows our food to settle and the kids have a chance to get some fresh air. It’s always fun to go out and explore our neighborhood and helps everyone wind down after a full day.
Take the dog for a walk
If you have a dog, that’s an automatic excuse to go for a walk. In fact, people who own dogs walk 22 more minutes per day on average. It’s just one of the many benefits of owning a furry friend. It gives you an excuse to get out of the house and enjoy nature as your dog gets out some of that pent-up energy.
These are just some of the ways I have found to sneak in extra walking so I can get exercise every day without going to the gym. Walking is a great low-impact way to burn some calories and can be worked into even the busiest of schedules.
What are some of the tips and tricks you have used to get in more exercise into your busy day without going to the gym? What have you found is an easy way to burn calories? Share in the comments.