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Most of us have heard countless times how exercise is "good for you", and we also
know that regular exercise combined with healthy diet is a surefire way to good health.
However, with today's busy lifestyle, many people (especially working moms) have
trouble finding time to fit regular exercise into their lives.
The good news is you don't have to do vigorous-intensity workouts to achieve weight
loss and health benefits. Integrating incidental exercises into your everyday life
to keep yourself physical active throughout the day is one of the easiest ways to
successful, long term permanent weight loss without realizing you're actually exercising.
I've listed some easy ways to sneak in exercises, at work or at home, to keep your
metabolism going and burn those dreadful calories when you're busy. I strongly encourage
you to be creative and come up with some fresh ideas of your own. All you need is
to keep active for 150 minutes every week and you'll be on your way to a healthier
lifestyle. So, no more excuses and get your body moving now!
How to Fit in Incidental Exercises for Weight Loss if You Don’t Have Time?
1. When driving to your office or grocery store, park your car at the far end of
the parking lot (further away from the entrance) and briskly walk the rest of the
way. This will get your heart pumping real good and burn calories while shaping and
toning your legs.
Consider wearing a pedometer to track the number of steps and distance you walk each
day (aim for 10,000 steps daily). A pedometer also acts as a motivational tool to
get you to move around significantly. Alternatively, keep a walking log to note your
progress. Are you where you hoped to be? If not, come up with a revised weekly walking
plan that will help you achieve weight loss success.
2. Just once or twice week, leave your car at home and take public transport to work.
Get off the bus or train a few stops before your regular stop and walk the remaining
Better yet, walk or cycle at least part way to your workplace. You save money on
petrol, help the planet and squeeze in some exercise at the same time.
3. Replace car travel with walking or cycling if you just want to grab some bread
or milk at the corner store. Most people can walk 1-2 km easily and it's a great
way to enjoy the fresh air and soak up the warm sunshine on a weekend morning!
4. Did you know that standing burns about 50 percent more calories than sitting?
Even fidgeting and other unconscious movements such as tapping your fingers on a
table, fiddling with pens, and hair twirling can burn as many as 350 extra calories
So instead of sitting down for a chat phone with your friend, stand up or move about
and do some things around the house at the same time. If your job requires you to
sit and work at the computer, get up every half hour or so and move around to get
your blood circulating and your heart rate up just a bit. Walk to your co-worker's
desk instead of phoning or emailing to break up sitting time. The more you move,
the more calories your body will burn.
Reading the morning newspaper while standing, and doing standing leg raises when
checking text messages and email on your mobile phone are great opportunities to
sneak in exercises at home.
5. Doing housework chores the old-fashioned way will help you to melt pounds. Mopping
the floor, scrubbing the bathroom, cleaning the windows, pulling out the weeds, and
washing the car by hand are great full-body workouts, which has nothing to do with
treadmills, elliptical trainers, or weights.
Keep active – fold clothes, iron clothes, organize mail, prepare grocery list, do
some stretches, abdominal crunches, arm circles – while watching television. Don't
forget, even small amounts of incidental exercises are better than none at all.
6. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. I know stair-climbing may be hard for
overweight people, but if you climb stairs regularly, you'll be amazed at how easy
it gets with practice.
For a start, slowly climb a single set of stairs without gasping for air, and then
gradually increase the speed and the number of flights of stairs the next week. Also,
make sure to warm up and wear good supportive shoes such as aerobic or cross-training
shoes so that you won't slip and fall.
7. If you really don't have time for a full 30-minute exercise each day, then be
flexible and break the exercise into parts. Try to do two 15-minute or three 10-minute
segments in which you can engage in moderate to vigorous activities appropriate for
your age and fitness level. Multiple short periods of exercise won't seem as daunting
but will still offer beneficial health effects.
8. Instead of heading to your workplace cafeteria on your half hour lunch break,
I suggest you spend 15 minutes to eat a healthy lunch and use the remaining 15 minutes
to go for short walk and stretch. It's a great chance to get out of the office building
and the fresh air will energize you so you're better able to concentrate on your
work for the rest of the day.
9. If you love shopping and enjoy going to the malls, then walk through the mall
(window shopping) and lose those extra pounds. It may not be a vigorous workout,
but at least you're doing something that will increase physical activity. Another
plus, you're able to check out those little stores tucked around in a quiet corner
of the mall.
Some shopping centers open their doors early for mall walkers. Again, wear comfortable
walking shoes because those hard concrete surfaces can really take the pep out of
10. Turn your time with the kids into exercise. Instead of flopping on the couch
and watching your kids play, put on some high-energy music, and do funny dance moves
(great aerobic workout) with them in your family room. My 3-year-old son absolutely
loves it and he's getting a good workout too! There are many fun indoor activities
that you can do with the kids, such as jumping rope, hula-hooping or play hopscotch
If the weather is good, run around, pass the ball and throw a Frisbee with your children
in your local park. The main idea is to burn more calories through recreational activities
that works your whole body. And, if you've a dog, walk your dog around the block
By Diane Hanson
I'm slightly overweight, about 8 pounds heavier than the healthy weight range for
a 5 feet 5 inches woman. I know I need to lose weight and do more exercise, but I
don't have time to exercise. I've a crazy busy schedule with working full-time and
looking after 3 young children, so going to the gym regularly isn't a viable option
for me. Besides, I can't afford to get a gym membership. Please help me out with
how to sneak in exercise throughout the day. Thanks! – Cristina, Minneapolis.
Can't get motivated to work out every day, or find yourself making excuses not to
exercise all the time? We share some motivating ways to help you stick to your exercise
routine and get you back on track quickly.