Only 1 in 4 Americans meets the recommended guidelines for physical activity put forth by the CDC
. They recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (or any combination of the two) each week. The CDC also suggests adding strength training for an extra health boost. That may sound like a lot of exercise, but if you briskly walk for 30 minutes, 5 days a week you can hit the mark. Breaking it up into shorter bouts is OK too, as long as they're more than 10 minutes.
Not everyone is a running fanatic or cross-fit junkie, though. Instead of forcing yourself to hit the gym in the morning or suffer through yoga, try to find an activity that you do enjoy. It might be having a dance party in your kitchen or making walking dates with your friend. If you haven't found an activity you love (yet!), here are 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. And no, driving through the carwash doesn't count!
2. Do your own yard work.
Mow your own lawn with a push mower. The steps and the pushing will have you breaking a sweat while keeping your lawn looking fresh. While you’re at it, weed the vegetable garden and toss some new mulch around the plants out front. Gardening can be a workout.
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. Even better, take a lap around the office or building or do toe raises or air squats while you chat (yes, you'll look a little weird but who cares?). 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. Borrow a dog.
Dog owners are more likely to stay active
, so if you're already a proud dog mom or dad, you're in good shape. Otherwise, offer to dog sit for a friend or neighbor in need or volunteer at a local animal shelter as a dog walker.
6. Eat outside.
Pack a picnic—one that requires schlepping a big ice-filled cooler across a field or a park. Bring a ball or a Frisbee to get some activity before you dig in.
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