Woman stretching

Easy ways to add exercise into your day without spending hours at the gym

Practicing healthy eating habits is the foundation to steady, lasting weight loss, but adding exercise into your routine can also lead to substantial health benefits. Whether you prefer cardio, strength training, or a mix of both, you can improve your overall health by adding exercise to your daily routine.

Not that it’s always easy to plan exercise into a busy day, but even with a packed schedule, there are plenty of opportunities to exercise that can lead to big results. 

This article discusses ways to add exercise into your daily routine without spending hours at the gym.

At Home

Wake up early

You don’t have to wake up at 5 AM every day to get in some exercise before you start your day. Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than normal and try to get your heart rate up before breakfast.

Take a quick walk, do some sit-ups or push-ups, stretch, or do a few jumpingjacks. When you start your morning with a few minutes of exercise, you won’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day.

Get fit while getting things done

Doing chores around the house isn’t the most desirable way to spend your time, but it can be a way to get in some exercise.

Scrubbing the floors, taking the laundry basket up and down the stairs, and vacuuming the house are simple ways to get you moving. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of a clean house!

Mow the lawn

Any time you mow the lawn with a push mower you’re getting in some cardio. Try fitting in other yard work exercises like raking leaves and sweeping your patio while you’re at it.

Don’t watch TV on the couch

You don’t have to be a couch potato to binge-watch your favorite shows. If you’re able, set up a stationary bike or treadmill in front of a TV in your basement or rec room. It’s the perfect way to get in some exercise while catching up on some TV.

This works for activities other than screen time. Put on a podcast, audiobook, or music and get moving!

Tend to your Garden

Watering flowers or getting on your hands and knees to pull weeds will keep your garden looking its best while adding some exercise to your day.

Walk the dog

Going on a walk with your dog is a great excuse to get outside. Take the scenic route or bring them to a dog park!

Play with your kids

It’s amazing how kids never seem to run out of energy. Follow their example, get some face-to-face time with your kids, and try to keep up.

Whether you’re running around outside, doing some imaginative play, or playing a sport, you’ll both be working up a sweat and making memories in the process.

In the Office

Park far away

You can stay active throughout your workday in a number of ways.  First, try parking further away from the front door. This allows you to get in a few extra steps every day before you take a seat at your desk.

Take meetings on the go

If you’re lucky enough to work from home, take advantage of phone meetings by going on a walk while you talk.

If you’re in the office, invite a coworker to take a meeting with you while you walk the halls of your office or walk outside.


Sitting at a desk all day doesn’t mean you have to sit still. Try doing a few squats or sit-ups during some downtime. You could also bring small dumbbells into the office and do some curls.

However, don’t feel like you need to work up a sweat at your desk. You can always spend some time stretching to get your limbs moving.

If you have a standing desk, then you’re ahead of the game. Getting work done on your feet is a great way to be productive and feel the burn!

Walk at lunch

You don’t have to spend your entire lunch hour on a walk, but if you can block out a chunk of time to be on your feet and move around, then you’re well on your way to getting in some exercise every day.

Quick tip: Consider getting a fitness tracker if you’d like to keep track your movement and stay motivated. You can have a daily steps goal and keep track of how well you’re doing throughout the day. 

Bike to work

If you live close enough to your office, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to exercise by biking to work. It’s great exercise and a good way to save on gas.

If you work from home, you could always ride your bike around the neighborhood for 10 minutes before returning to your home office, energized and ready to work.

Replace your chair with a yoga ball

You don’t have to sit on a yoga ball for the entire workday, but switching it up from your regular office chair for a short period of time is a great way to strengthen your core and build muscle.

Those hours spent getting a low-intensity workout during the day can add up to some good exercise.

Skip happy hour and start an active hour

Instead of going out for some drinks after work, use this time to invite a coworker on a walk or head go to the gym.

Any Time

Dance to your favorite tunes

You don’t need an intense workout to get your heartrate up. Put on your favorite playlist and start dancing.

You’ll get your whole body moving without feeling like you’re working out.

Tense your muscles

Whether you’re waiting in line or sitting in traffic, you can spend that time tensing your muscles to get in a mini workout. You can tighten your abs, biceps, or calf muscles for up to 10 seconds at a time no matter where you are. It will pass the time and could be a good way to relieve stress.

Use the Stairs

Opt for taking the stairs instead of the elevator any chance you get. Taking a few flights of stairs once or twice a day can add up to some good exercise throughout the day.


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