How to Exercise Without Even Knowing It

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a quick way to exercise.

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a quick way to exercise.

Tricking yourself into exercising is a little more challenging than tricking your child into eating her vegetables -- you might be able to bend the truth a little for her, but it's tougher to fool yourself. But if you want to get in better shape and the idea of visiting a gym or going for a run doesn't remotely interest you, try adding short spurts of exercise to your daily life. By making subtle changes at home and at work, you can increase the amount you exercise without actually feeling as though you're working out.

Change your approach concerning your commute to work and how you get around your place of business. If you live within a reasonable distance from your office, consider walking, cycling or in-line skating to work one or more days per week instead of driving. If you take public transportation, catch the bus or subway at a stop farther away from your home for a moderate walk, rather than the stop closest to where you live. At work, take the stairs instead of using the elevator and replace calling or emailing your colleagues with walking to their desks.

Take a hands-on role regarding chores around your home. If you're busy, it's easy to pay a neighborhood child to wash your car, rake your leaves or cut your lawn, but each of these activities is an effective way to burn calories -- not to mention save a few dollars. Weeding your garden and home repair tasks such as painting, tiling and cleaning are other effective ways to burn calories without feeling as though you're working out.

Spend time being active with your family instead of watching TV or reading a book in the evening. If you have a child enrolled in organized sports, volunteer to help coach the team or head to the park to play catch or kick a soccer ball around with your child. Take walks, in-line skates or bicycle rides with your family around the neighborhood or walk the dog as a family, rather than assigning one child to do it.


  • Playing casual or organized sports is an effective way to keep active without feeling as though you're exercising. Check to see if your community has a co-ed basketball, volleyball, softball or soccer league.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week.


  • If you're largely sedentary and are unsure of how much activity your body can handle, consult your doctor.

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About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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