Countdown to Maui – Day 13: Upping Your Activity Level without Spending More Time at the Gym

Biking - morguefileWell I’m just under two weeks out from my anniversary trip to Maui! I’m excited, of course, but I want to make the most out of the next 14 days in terms of “shaping up” my body. I’ve made a lot of progress during this 50-day countdown so far, but hopefully I can make a just bit more before I hop on my flight.

I don’t do 10-day cleanses, or 3-day juicing diets, or anything like that. For several Hiking - morguefilereasons that merit their own blog post. I’ve been eating quite healthily during the countdown and don’t want to cut back on calories any more than I already do—they are important for muscle growth and recovery as well as my overall health and well-being.

So what can I do? If your diet is on track, your best option is to increase your activity level.

You can certainly add extra gym days and/or do at-home workouts. But if you’re already working out frequently, or if structured workouts aren’t your thing, here are some ways to increase your activity level with a few simple lifestyle tweaks:

  • If you live close enough to run your errands on foot, do it. When the weather is nice, my husband and I walk everywhere—window shopping, dining, movie theater, etc.
  • Choose to spend leisure days doing something active. Take a hike on your day off, go for a bike ride with friends instead of having a get together at the bar. Take a walk with your pals after you’ve chatted over coffee. You get the idea!
  • If you have a dog (or dogs), take them on extra walks, longer walks, or walk them on a more challenging route (hills!).
  • Instead of instant messaging or emailing your coworkers, walk to their desks and deliver messages in person.
  • Set up your desk or workspace so you can stand and work at times, and/or use an exercise ball as a chair.
  • Use work breaks and lunches to take a walk.
  • Bike or walk to work, if possible.
  • Find a sport you enjoy and sign up – many regions have local teams or activities at community centers. For example, you might find a local tennis or volley ball group. Even bowling burns more calories than watching a movie.
  • Go dancing! With friends, at dance classes, at home – wherever. Just dance.
  • Have a Wii or Kinect? There are lots of fun games that make you MOVE.
  • Do some yard work. Mow your lawn using a push mower, weed the flowerbed, plant some new flora, etc.
  • Like arts and crafts? Take on a new project. Building, sanding, painting – all of these things get you moving, and hey, you’ll have something tangible for all your efforts!
  • Been putting off painting that accent wall or hanging your photos/artworks? You’ll be surprised how sore you might wake up after a day of making home improvements.
  • Go swimming, run around with your kids, play fetch with your pooch, deep clean your house…

I could go on, but I think you probably see where I’m going with this.

Walking with child - morguefileThe idea is to incorporate more physical activities into your daily life (take a lesson from kids – they’re always on the go!). The more time you spend being active and the less time you spend on your butt, the more calories you’ll burn, the more muscles you’ll strengthen, the more energy you’ll have, the better your overall health will be…you get it, right? Yes, this will help you slim down and get in better shape if that’s your goal, but it should ultimately be your goal to make this your long-term goal as well. My Eat Up, Shape Up philosophy is: make healthy a lifestyle.

What are you waiting for? Stop reading and go DO something!

What are some of your favorite non-gym physical activities? How do you incorporate more movement into your daily life? I’d love to hear from you!

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