How to Exercise Without Knowing You are Exercising

If you hate exercise, like so many people do, then this article is for you. Everywhere we look, we are told that exercise is good for our health. National health guidelines state that we need to get a minimum of 150 minutes per week of exercise in. In our busy lives, where can we possibly fit this in?

If we break it down to 22 minutes per day, it doesn’t seem so bad. There are 1,440 minutes in every day. If we take out 480 minutes for a good night’s sleep, that still leaves us with 960 minutes to fit in only 22 minutes of exercise. That is less than 2.5% of our awake hours. That is really not a big time commitment. But it is an important health commitment.

So, what if you really hate to exercise? I get that. You don’t like going to a gym. It’s too sweaty and smelly. It’s crowded with people. It’s intimidating if you are new to it, especially if you are overweight. Believe me, I have been there. I still don’t really like going to the gym. And maybe you haven’t started running yet, and feel intimidated about that. Or perhaps you just don’t like running. That’s okay. Not everyone likes to run.

Find a sport you like doing

If you like doing something, you want to do more of it. According to the World Sports Encyclopedia, there are over 3,000 sports around the world. I would bet everyone can find one thing they like out of 3,000. You just have to keep trying them out to find the one you love. And, by trying out different sports, you are exercising. Sneaky, right! So, if you haven’t found the sport you love yet, try a new sport everyday for just 22 minutes. It will take you 8 years to get through all 3,000 sports. Just trying sports could be your thing. Here is a list of 2 weeks worth of sports to start you off:

  • golf
  • dancing
  • tennis
  • bocce ball
  • bowling
  • basketball
  • fencing
  • baseball
  • skating
  • cross country or downhill skiing
  • rollerblading
  • cycling
  • swimming
  • Frisbee golf

Walk more

A great majority of us have to walk at least a little during our day. Why not expand on this and walk more. It’s easy to add a few extra steps here and there during your day. Once adding a few extra steps into your day becomes a habit, you hardly notice you are actually exercising. Some ideas to get a few extra steps in can include:

  • parking at the farthest end of the parking lot
  • walking to work
  • taking the stairs; avoiding people movers, elevators and escalators
  • going shopping at a mall or grocery store
  • walking the cart back to the store, not just the cart return in the parking lot
  • carrying shopping bags from the car one at a time
  • going to a local fair and walking around the fair grounds
  • walking to a neighbor’s or friend’s house
  • hosting a walking meeting at work
  • walking your children to school or the bus
  • walking your dog
  • going for a hike in the forest; bird watching or looking for plants or animals while walking
  • joining a walking or hiking group

All these steps add up. For the average person, 22 minutes would equal about 2200 steps, if you were walking at a brisk pace of 3.5 miles per hour. If you can walk an extra 2200 steps per day for one year, a 2013 study showed that you can reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke by more than 8%. Now that is worth the little extra effort, isn’t it?

Household chores and gardening

I have to admit that I hate cleaning my house. I would rather run 10 miles than clean. But, if you don’t like to exercise, it can be a good way to move without knowing you are actually exercising. Pick a chore, and do that for 22 minutes per day. Don’t be shy, crank the tunes and really get into it. Get your heart rate up. Bead up that sweat on your forehead. As an extra bonus, your house will be spotless and you will have just lowered your risk for diabetes and heart disease. Some of the top calorie-burning chores are:

  • sweeping floors
  • vacuuming carpets
  • mopping or washing floors
  • tidying and dusting
  • rearranging the furniture
  • cleaning windows
  • cleaning the bathroom
  • washing the car
  • kneading bread
  • walking to water flowers with watering can
  • pulling weeds
  • mowing the lawn or shoveling snow

Exercise doesn’t have to feel like exercise

To be sustainable, you need to like what you are doing. If you like doing it or if you develop a mindless habit of doing it, it is exercising without knowing you are exercising.

Do you have any tips for getting your 22 minutes of exercise in a day? Comment below and let us know your secret.

Please share!

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