Stepping onto the bathroom scale with confidence, you study the window that indicates your weight. Your heart drops. Instead of the expected two-pound loss for this week, the scale shows barely half a pound less than last week.
With a sigh you step down, wondering what went wrong. Despite sacrificing cookies, candy, and soda, you still aren’t losing weight very quickly. Sure, you know you should exercise, but who has time?
A common scenario, many busy people struggle to build an exercise program that fits their daily schedules. If you’re having problems getting to the gym or walking after dinner, here are a few encouraging tips that can help you burn calories via routine activities during the course of a normal day.
Take the steps. Instead of sending one of the kids upstairs to retrieve a forgotten item, do it yourself. Or head to the basement to look for that long-lost photo album you’ve been wanting to see again. While you need not run up and down the steps for no reason (though it’s not a bad idea), use the reasons at hand to make an extra trip or two during the day.
Do the same thing on the job. If there’s a restroom on the floor above or below the one where you work, take the steps to use it. You’ll burn a few extra calories for each step. If you work on the second or third floor above ground level, consider taking the steps instead of the elevator, provided the stairwells are safe and well lit. Taking the stairs a few extra times each day can burn off enough calories over time to require a smaller dress size, not to mention the added benefit of toning thighs and buttocks.
Step on it. Get a step counter that can be strapped around your ankle to count the number of steps you take each day. At work, you will need to wear it under slacks, of course, but at home, it won’t matter. Check with your doctor before “stepping up” your daily movements, but reach for a goal of 10,000 steps per day. Even if you’re doing just 4,000 daily now, gradually increase your activity. You may find it fun to meet the challenge and enjoy the results, too.
Play with the kids. From “Simon Says” with the little ones to a one-on-one basketball shootout with your teenager, enjoy a half-hour of pure fun acting like a kid again. Just don’t overdo it! Learn how to check your heart rate to be sure you don’t exceed the maximum recommended increase per minute.
Do a few chores. Weeding, trimming, or mowing the lawn can work up a major sweat. Sweeping the sidewalk, vacuuming furniture, and dust mopping floors will make both the house and you look great, and win your family’s appreciation.
Get a hobby. Plant flowers, paint the shed or build a birdhouse to attract your feathered friends. Spending time with these activities instead of watching television or napping will have a positive effect on calorie cutting.
It doesn’t take much to burn a few extra calories with each routine activity. Just put a little more time or effort into it, and chances are you’ll see less of yourself on the scale next week.