A group of scientists recently suggested, in a review that appeared in the International Journal of Obesity, that Americans are simply spending too much time talking about how our toxic food environment and our couch potato ways are making us obese. Perhaps there are other reasons that we’re plumping up, besides diet and exercise, they proposed. Among their alternate theories: we’re not sleeping enough, air pollution messes up our metabolism, we’ve adapted to air conditioning—and so we don’t need to regulate our internal temperatures by ramping up our metabolic rates (thus, burning more calories). At EatingWell, we still believe that eating right and exercising are the cornerstones of weight management. For those of you who haven't found a physical activity they love, we present you with some excellent ways to exercise without even knowing it.
1. Wash your car.
Embrace the summer heat—with a hose: Burn calories and make your car look beautiful as you wash, dry and get it (and you) buff.
2. Do your own yard work.
Tell the teenage kid from down the street that you’ll mow your own lawn—and pay him to make some iced tea instead. While you’re at it, weed the vegetable garden and toss some new mulch around the perennials out front.
3. Reinstate the “water cooler.”
Everyone needs a periodic work break, but instead of e-mailing witty quips to your buddy in the next office, walk to the water cooler to dish about your latest Netflix guilty pleasure. Bonus—you'll likely stay hydrated.
4. Get started on that home-improvement project.
Painting, hammering, hoisting—it’s all exercise (some of it moderate to vigorous, we’d say). And don’t discount all the walking that you’ll do as you wander around the big home-improvement warehouse looking for that specific hinge (or someone who can help you find it).
5. Dog sit.
For a puppy, ideally. You won’t be able to sit on the couch for long—unless you don’t care about your carpet—or your shoes. Know anyone with a dog? Ask if they’ll be heading out on holiday this summer, sans pet. You’ll sneak in a week’s worth of exercise—and probably earn yourself a nice bottle of wine upon their return.
6. Eat al fresco.
Pack a picnic—one that requires schlepping a big ice-filled cooler across a field or a park. Bring a ball or a Frisbee for after-eating activities. Try our Healthy Diet Collection for delicious recipe ideas.