8 easy ways to sneak exercise into your daily life Even people with sedentary jobs or little time can sneak a little physical activity into their daily lives. Here's how.

Humans are built to move, but a lot of the trappings of contemporary life don’t mesh well with that. Most people don’t get the amount of exercise — typically 2.5 hours per week — that doctors recommend.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to fall into that, “most people” category. Even people with sedentary jobs or little time to work out can sneak a little physical activity into their daily lives. That doesn’t mean you can skip the gym and just take the stairs, though; combining regular workouts with a little exercise here and there is an excellent way to keep yourself healthy. After all, every little bit helps!

Read on for easy, painless ways to sneak a little more exercise into your daily routines.

Exercise at your desk

Even the smallest and shortest desk exercises make a difference if repeated several times daily.

Feeling chained to your desk? You can move around a little and burn some calories without getting up or being obtrusive. Stretching is great; lifting your legs up and down works, too. You can find a great list of other ways to exercise at your desk here.

Cook!

Making food from scratch often requires plenty of standing and moving around. And you’ll burn a lot more calories than you would answering the door for the pizza guy! One hour of cooking burns roughly 70-100 calories.  As if you needed another reason to ditch the takeout and hit the stove.

Keep the house clean

Housecleaning can get creative,

Keeping up with your chores is an excellent way to burn calories. And, hey, nothing beats a neat and tidy home! Cleaning burns lots of calories. One hour of housekeeping burns well over a hundred calories, nearly as much as an hour of walking.

Make the most of your workout time

You don’t have to spend hours in the gym each week if you make the most of your time. Work out harder for shorter spurts, not longer and lazier. Interval training, where you cycle between short periods of high-intensity workouts, low-intensity workouts, and rest time, is a really excellent way to burn more calories and boost your fitness level.

Do something while watching TV

Balance balls can be used in many daily situations.

After a long day at the office, who doesn’t like to wind down with some TV? It doesn’t have to be veg time, though — get up off that couch and move your body! Basic workouts like lunges, jumping jacks, and punches are great here. You can also invest in some hand weights and do a little arm toning. Or what about a balance ball (pictured)? At the very least, standing, not sitting, while watching the boob tube will burn calories.

Walk the dog

Don’t just let the dog out in the yard or take her for a quick trip down the block — turn your dog walking time into exercise! Be the best pet parent ever and burn some extra calories; it’s a win-win!

Take the long way

Skip the elevator.

Use the power of your own two feet. When you have the option, skip the elevator at the office. Park further away at the mall. Walk a few block out of the way before you get to your destination. Even these little steps can help you get in some much-needed exercise.

Get up every hour for 5 minutes

If you work in an office, get up out of your chair and take 5 minutes to walk. Propose walking meetings if that’s possible in your office. At home, do the same thing! Sitting for extended periods of time is not exactly the best thing for your health. So get up and move, even if it’s just a quick stroll around the block.

P.S. Protect yourself from the coming data-powered panopticon by getting a VPN.

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

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Natasha S.
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Natasha S.

Having pets is the best way to get exercise without actually trying. Walking the pooch–playing hide+seek with them+lugging tones of litter a week!