Is the cost of a gym membership getting in the way of your personal fitness goals? Gyms, yoga studios and personal trainers are all known for their exorbitant price tags, but as recent studies show, these aren’t the only ways to stay healthy.
According to a study conducted at the Oregon State University, performing small amounts of activity throughout the day (think walking, stretching and generally moving around) can be just as beneficial as the longer bouts of exercise traditionally performed at the gym.
The study examined over 6,000 American adult participants who wore accelerometers to measure daily physical activity levels. One group performed “short bouts” of exercise throughout the day, such as pacing or stretching for as few as one or two minutes at a time. A second group of participants took a more structured workout approach, restricting exercise to longer gym visits.
Results showed that 43% of those who participated in the “short bouts” of exercise met the Department of Health’s recommended physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes per day. Meeting these guidelines is associated with the prevention of common health problems including metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Meanwhile, less than 10% of those in the longer exercise bouts met federal guidelines for exercise. This hints that the active lifestyle approach is not only more affordable, it is actually easier to maintain since activities can be performed throughout the day, rather than motivating oneself to get to the gym.
In an era when technology automates many of the activities that used to require manual labor, it’s easy to resort to the sedentary lifestyle. Often, we find ourselves driving rather than walking, sitting rather than standing and watching a screen rather than getting up and out.
Shifting your lifestyle from “lazy” to active comes down to simple but important decisions and activities throughout the day. Here are a few “small bout” exercise recommendations inspired by the Oregon State University Study.
10 Ways To Be More Active Throughout the Day
- Pace while talking on the phone rather than sitting
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Upgrade to a standing desk
- Invest in a step counter to track your activity throughout the day
- Bike or walk to work rather than driving
- Stand up and stretch once per hour while at work or home
- Get off the train or bus one stop early to get a few extra paces in
- Go for a walk during your lunch break; encourage coworkers to join for motivation
- Do quick exercises like sit-ups or push-ups during TV commercials
- Get up and do housework like cooking and cleaning
Looking to upgrade your lifestyle beyond extra walking and stretching? There are plenty of ways to stay fit beyond signing your money away for a pricey gym membership. For tips, check out 7 Ways To Exercise on a Budget, or if you’re glued to your smartphone, try out our collection of five free fitness apps.