One of the biggest excuses I hear regarding exercise – from my clients, friends, and even from my own mouth – is not everyone has the time or resources to go to the gym multiple times a week. We’re busy, modern women! We’ve got shit to do! Who has the time to work out?!

I feel you. It can be tough juggling work, family, household responsibilities, and finding time to fit in a little self care. I’m doing it too! And I’m a culprit – I often put exercise off in favor of other, “more important” matters and tasks. But let me ask you something:

Why don’t you think your health is important?

Putting aside fad diets, societal standards, and body image (which could each fill up their own blog posts!), living a healthy lifestyle IS a worthy goal. Eating clean, living mindfully, and keeping your body in shape. I like to use my favorite analogy – your body is like a car. If you don’t use it – if you let it sit – it falls into disrepair! You don’t have to take it on epic journeys every day. A short drive to the grocery store or the park is enough to keep it running smooth until your next tune up.

Exercise doesn’t have to be an obsession – it shouldn’t be, in fact! And you shouldn’t exercise to achieve any sort of goal OTHER than feeling healthy. Don’t listen to broad, sweeping limits and restrictions. You know your body best. Do what keeps YOU healthy.

Okay, so we know why we should be exercising – but how can I fit it in??

Exercise doesn’t have to be restricted to the traditional images of cardio on a treadmill or weight training in front of a mirror. Don’t have a gym membership? No problem! Work a little physical fitness into your daily routine, and work up to the bigger stuff later.

Here are some of my favorite tips for including a little covert exercise into my daily routine.

  1. Ditch the premier parking spot.
    A crowded parking lot is a blessing in disguise! When I go anywhere, I purposely park as far away from the door as possible (and logical). It may not seem like much, but do it any time to go somewhere, and those extra steps add up without taking up a ton of your time!
  2. Use heavy bags to pump those guns!
    If you only have a few grocery bags, leave the shopping cart inside and carry your bags to your car. Slowly raise your arms up and down as you walk. Use those bags like you would hand weights at the gym! (Make sure the weight isn’t too much, start slow, and always watch for handles cutting off circulation to your fingertips.)
  3. Make use of TV time.
    Most people sit on the couch to watch television or a movie. Why waste that time?? Exercise your body while your brain takes a break. Do squats, sit ups, jumping jacks, run in place – anything that gets you moving and ups your heart rate. Kill two birds with one stone!
  4. Take the kids outside!
    I have a toddler at home. She wants to walk everywhere. And her favorite game is when someone chases her. So I take advantage of the opportunity to spend some quality time with my daughter! We go outside (if its nice) and I literally chase her around the yard. I’m not moving fast, but I move my body in a way that helps tone muscles as I go. I stand up and sit down multiple times a day as well, which I’ve heard is fantastic for my quads. 😉
  5. Clean House
    Cleaning works up a sweat and an appetite! Scrub floors, move furniture, climb stairs, pull weeds… anything that raises your heart rate is helping to burn calories, so put on some comfy clothes, take out the mop bucket, and make your environment AND your body healthy.
  6. Bust a Move
    Dancing is the PERFECT non-traditional workout! There’s a reason gyms all over are adding more and more “fun” movement classes like dance, jazzercize, zumba, and more. You don’t even have to go to the gym to benefit. Turn the radio up and go crazy while you do dishes! Make your next Girls Night Out a trip to a dance club. If you have a game console (and come on, I know you do), download a game like Dance Central or Dance Dance Revolution. Set a timer and play for half an hour or so during lunch or nap time. Get your kids or spouse in on the fun on the weekends.
  7. Window Shop til you drop
    Try to run your errands in a mall or shopping plaza, make use of tip number one (park far away), and walk! Do a couple laps around the mall while you shop. If you’re at a strip mall with multiple stops, drop your bags off at the car between each store and walk back. (Don’t forget to use those bags as weights while you walk!) You’re checking boxes off your to do list and getting in a work out at the same time.
  8. Go sightseeing
    Take a day trip somewhere – a state park, a tourist location, a nearby big city – and spend the day admiring the sights. If you can’t make the trip, why not walk around your own town or city? Pretend you’re a tourist for the day and see your home through someone else’s eyes. Not only will you get in a ton of walking, you may learn some new special spots, like hidden parks or yummy restaurants, and you’ll get to know your home a little better too.

These are only some of the many creative ways you can fit a little physical fitness into your daily routine. Make it fun, don’t make it a chore, and you’ll be living healthier and more mindfully in no time.

What are your favorite ways to incorporate a little exercise into your day? Do you have any other “alternative” tips? Let me know in the comments!

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