Grab a basket instead of a cart at the grocery store
Totsapon Phattaratharnwan/ShutterstockThe next time you run in to grab a few things for dinner, grab a shopping basket instead of a cart. "Walking around the store carrying your groceries will help you build core and shoulder strength," explains Marie V. Ande, a certified strength and conditioning specialist. And just think of all the money you'll save by skipping unnecessary (and heavy!) impulse purchases.
Drop it like it's hot
Tiko Aramyan/ShutterstockHow many times a day do you bend down to pick something up off the floor, lift your child, pet a dog, tie your shoe, or put away something under the bed? Make the most of these impromptu squats by making sure you've got good form, says Richard Sullivan, a senior fitness specialist. When bending over, make sure to pull in your abdominals, tighten your core, and slightly arch your back without twisting. Or, instead of bending from the waist, squat down with your legs—you'll get a mini core workout, and it will help protect you from throwing out your back.
Perfect your posture
stockfour/ShutterstockStanding up straight is actually hard work. "Maintaining good posture while standing, sitting, walking requires that you engage and tighten multiple muscles—so much so in fact that most people cannot maintain proper posture for even one minute," Sullivan says. Practice standing and sitting up straight, with your core tight, and your shoulders pulled back and down. Here are 7 ways you can improve your posture. Bonus: It's also a way to instant look slimmer.
Deliver a message in person instead of sending an email
stockfour/ShutterstockTexting, email, and voicemail are wonderful time savers but they're not doing your waistline any favors, says David Greuner, MD, head surgeon and co-founder of NYC Surgical Associates. If you need to convey a message to someone within walking distance, stand up and walk over and talk to them. "You'll get a nice change of scenery, a little exercise, and improved work relationships," he explains.
Stretch before you step out of bed
F8 studio/ShutterstockGiant early morning stretches aren't just for cartoon characters and soap opera stars. In fact, taking a few minutes to really stretch before starting your day is one of the simplest ways to help get in shape, Greuner says. "Easy, simple stretches wake up your mind and body and increase blood flow and inflow of nutrients to your muscles," he explains. Try these 6 easy yoga stretches designed for weight loss.
Pick the remote printer
Andrey_Popov/ShutterstockOffices aren't generally known for helping people get in shape but you can fix that by adding extra physical activity to your day. When you need to print a document, send it to the printer farthest away so you'll need to take a little stroll to pick it up, suggests Christel Oerum, certified personal trainer and founder of DiabetesStrong.com.
Schedule walking meetings
adriaticfoto/ShutterstockAnother office trick is to schedule face-to-face meetings in a place where you can stand, or better yet, take a walk together. Not only will you get some extra steps in but walking has been proven to help increase creativity so you'll get more done. Being able to walk and talk is one of the 9 ways you may be more fit than you think.
Put the "real" back in reality TV
Ekaterina Iatcenko/ShutterstockLove watching weight-loss competitions? Don't just be a bystander, participate, Oerum suggests. If they squat, you squat. If they lift weight, grab a couple of gallons of milk or soup cans and join in. At every commercial break, do jumping jacks, sit-ups, or burpees until the show comes back on. Check out these 9 resistance-band exercises that will work your whole body.
Download a break reminder app
GaudiLab/ShutterstockScheduling breaks throughout your day to take a few stress-relieving deep breaths, do some lunges, or take a brief walk is one of the best things you can do for both body and soul—that is, if you remember to do it. Take the guesswork (and guilt) out of the equation by downloading a reminder app, Oerum says. When it beeps, drop what you're doing and take a health break.
Get a funny chair
Andrey_Popov/ShutterstockThere's a whole world of active sitting chairs that let you bounce, rock, sway, or integrate some other form of movement to help you get fit while you sit, says David Skolnik, doctor of physical therapy and certified strength and conditioning specialist. Yoga balls are a popular choice, requiring you to keep your core tight the whole time you sit. For more fun and fitness in the office or at home, he also recommends the Tic Toc, which creates a gentle rocking motion and the Swopper (also available on Amazon), which allows you to bounce and rock simultaneously.