How to Exercise Without Realizing It

My favorite exercise is walking. For me, walking isn’t a chore; it isn’t boring; it’s not ever something that I force myself to do. Walking comes as naturally to me as sleeping (and also yoga, but that’s for another post).

Do you think you hate to exercise? Maybe you’re just bored of the usual suspects – spin, pilates, aerobics, kickboxing, and so on. Here are my favorite ways to exercise without even realizing it.

  1. Walk. Walk your heart out. I can easily get in upwards of 10,000 steps a day (that’s about 5 miles) if I just make a little bit of effort: get off the subway 1 stop early, go on a walk to the farther coffee shop (Organique’s free-coffee-Wednesday perhaps?), walk on your lunch break, walk after dinner (this is great for digestion), walk to meet a friend… You get the picture.
  2. Dance. Dance in the kitchen, in the living room, the bedroom, and any other rooms you have. (I only have those rooms because I live in Manhattan, but if you live outside the city you probably have a lot more space.) I like to turn up the music while I cook dinner or clean the house and as I cook/clean I spin around and move. It’s fun. It’s also really uplifting and will make a bad day good really fast.
  3. Skip the elevator (at least once a day). Okay, I have to admit that at work I usually take the elevator. I work on the 12th floor! But I try to take the stairs at least a few times a week. I usually have to do this when I know my co-workers won’t see me coming out of the stairwell because they’ll think I’m crazy. I happen to live in a 4th floor walkup which is also good exercise.
  4. Stretch. Instead of sitting on the couch while you watch TV, sit on the floor and stretch. Do some yoga poses to feel better. Try a triangle pose or standing splits. I like doing these Diance von Furstenberg stretches that I found in her old Book of Beauty.

Hope this will encourage you to do more fake exercise. I actually think that getting into the habit of adding in unrealized exercise will keep you fit and healthy for life. These are all things that anyone should be able to do at any age. I want to be walking, dancing, skipping, and stretching for many many years to come.

Do you like to “exercise” without realizing it?

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11 Comments on How to Exercise Without Realizing It

  1. Wei-Wei
    18 May, 2010 at 4:16 am (4 years ago)

    I love walking. I love all of the activities on this list! Good to know that my daily walk isn’t so unimportant… After all, some exercise is better than none! :)

    Wei-Wei

  2. April
    18 May, 2010 at 7:32 am (4 years ago)

    Mike and I went bike riding the other day and it was so much fun. It didn’t seem like exercise.

  3. leslie
    18 May, 2010 at 7:47 am (4 years ago)

    one of my favorite parts of living in the city is how much you move without even realizing it – i do so much walking, climb up and down subway stairs, carry heavy groceries across town, all as simple parts of my lifestyle. i really love that urban life is active just by its nature.

    and agreed that dance parties are instant mood booster – nothing like flailing yourself around to make yourself smile, right?

  4. brandi
    18 May, 2010 at 9:17 am (4 years ago)

    Yes, I love exercising in these ways!

    Walking around cute little towns or just sightseeing is a great way to get a lot of steps in without realizing it.

    Hiking is one of my favorite things in the world, but it still never feels like a “set workout” because I enjoy it so much.

    I always take the stairs and try to park farther away from where I’m going. Every little bit helps!

  5. Meg
    18 May, 2010 at 10:21 am (4 years ago)

    I LOVE walking, it’s so relaxing. Stretching during TV is a good idea, I need to stretch more. My body is so sore after a good strength workout, and I think stretching could work that out.

  6. Cindy
    18 May, 2010 at 11:05 am (4 years ago)

    I love to get a hearty vacuum session in along with a weed pulling.

    I know I am burning muy calories and at the same time my house and yard look sparkly clean!

    perfect.

    also I walk every day on a tread mill or jog. boring but effective!

  7. Kim
    18 May, 2010 at 12:19 pm (4 years ago)

    Pretty much the only exercise I get is the unforced, natural, enjoyable kind. I love going for walks. It really clears my head. Sometimes, I make phone calls while I walk. Other times, I come up with writing ideas. It’s so soothing and, yes, exercise! I also LOVE to watch TV and movies, so I incorporate yoga and stretching into that (what can I say? I’m a multitasker). I do some weed-pulling and cleaning on weekends, and I count that as exercise :) I don’t think exercise has to be formal. I don’t aspire to be a hardcore athlete. I just want to be healthy :)

  8. Jill
    18 May, 2010 at 1:38 pm (4 years ago)

    Walk to the store! I love doing that if you can.
    Dancing in the apartment is a great one.
    I live on the third floor so I’m hauling my baby and baby paraphernalia up and down all day.

    Phew….and typing is a workout too :)

  9. Gaby
    18 May, 2010 at 11:45 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m a big fan of squeezing in little bits of activity throughout my day as opposed to taking a big chunk of time to go to a gym. I can just never motivate myself to do a long strenuous workout or go for a long run, and it takes much more planning. Instead I love walking or biking when I can (I wish Houston were more pedestrian friendly!), I get in stretching or yoga at home while watching tv and it’s especially helpful to break up the workday when I’m working from home. For example: 20 min yoga in the morning, another 15 minutes ab exercises or whatever I’m feeling for a mid morning break, maybe another workbreak in the afternoon to walk the mile or so to the library or go get a cup of coffee. Also, sometimes I squeeze in some cardio and find that I concentrate better if I take my books to the exercise room in my apartment and sit on the stationary bike.
    Oh and I love a good solo dance party!

  10. Lara (Thinspired)
    19 May, 2010 at 1:43 am (4 years ago)

    I’ve been walking a lot more lately in place of other exercise, and I think it’s so underrated! You are definitely ahead of the curve in preaching it :)

    I remember your post about the DVF exercises, but I am going to go back now and read it again. Seems like a good little routine!