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Ways to sneak in more exercise during the day

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  February 6, 2013 02:17 PM

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RyanHealy100.jpgRyan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at She can be reached at

Remember; please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

If you’re like one of many Americans that sits a lot during the day at a desk, computer, sofa, or behind the wheel, it can be helpful to sneak in some extra physical activity during the day, even if you’re going to the gym regularly. Temporary breaks from sitting can help with blood sugar and blood pressure management. They give you a chance to stretch your muscles and increase blood flow. When we sit all day our body becomes much more prone to muscular imbalances such as tight hip flexors, weak and lengthened glutes, tight chest muscles, and poor posture. Here are some ways that you can help counteract these changes and fit in more activity during the day.

Do some stretches upon waking: Start your day off feeling right.
Park further away: Not only will you be able to find a spot easily at the back of the parking lot, but you can add on some serious exercise time to your day. If you parked 3 minutes further away each day, you’d add on an extra 30 minutes each week and about 1,500 minutes for the year!
Take the stairs: It can seem easier to take the elevator, but for small trips up or down a few flights of stairs, use muscle power instead. You’ll probably get there in the same amount of time.
Join a gym near work: If you get a lunch break then you can easily squeeze in a 30 minute workout if you have a fitness center near your place of employment. It’s a great way to break up the day and can leave you feeling more energetic and focused when you return to your desk.
Go for a walk on your lunch break: Getting some fresh air and sunshine is great for your body and mind! See if a co-worker wants to join so you have some company.
Use the bathroom on a different floor: This can also add several more minutes of walking everyday to your physical activity total.
Drink lots of water: Staying hydrated will mean more frequent trips to the restroom and the water cooler, both of which will have you moving around much more!
Take a stretch break during work: Make sure to target your chest and hip flexors!
Use commercials wisely: Instead of raiding the cabinets at night during commercials, use the time to do a set of squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, lunges, or planks. You can get a full body workout in while watching a 60 minute program!
Exercise with friends: As an alternative to meeting your friends for coffee and sitting down, see if you can catch up over a walk or through playing sports like tennis, basketball, or squash.

How do you fit in extra physical activity during the day? I’d love to hear your tips!

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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