Here are some proven strategies to get you moving.
A group of scientists recently suggested, in a review that appeared in the International Journal of Obesity, that Americans are simply spending too much time talking about how our toxic food environment and our couch potato ways are making us obese. Perhaps there are other reasons that we’re plumping up, they proposed. Among their alternate obesity theories: we’re not sleeping enough, air pollution messes up our metabolism, we’ve adapted to air conditioning— and so we don’t need to regulate our internal temperatures by ramping up our metabolic rates (thus, burning more calories). All that may be true, but that doesn’t change the fact that eating right and exercising are the ways to manage your weight. To that end, try incorporating some of these excellent ways to exercise without even knowing it. You may not think of the activities below as exercise—but at the end of the day, all of these strategies burn calories and get your heart rate up.
1. Wash your car.
Embrace the summer heat—with a hose: Burn calories and make your car look beautiful as you wash it, dry it and get it (and you) buff.
2. Do your own yard work.
Tell the teenage kid from down the street that you’ll mow your own lawn—and pay him to make some iced tea instead. While you’re at it, weed the vegetable garden and toss some new mulch around the perennials out front.
3. Reinstate the “water cooler.”
Everyone needs a periodic work break, but instead of emailing witty quips to your buddy in the next office, walk to the water cooler and dish in person.
4. Get started on that home-improvement project.
Painting, hammering, hoisting—it’s all exercise (some of it moderate to vigorous). And don’t discount all the walking that you’ll do as you wander around the big home-improvement warehouse looking for that specific hinge (or someone who can help you find it).
5. Dog sit.
For a puppy, ideally. You won’t be able to sit on the couch for long—unless you don’t care about your carpet—or your shoes. Know anyone with a dog? Ask if they’ll be heading out on holiday this summer, sans pet. You’ll sneak in a week’s worth of exercise—and probably earn yourself a nice bottle of wine upon their return.
6. Eat al fresco.
Pack a healthy picnic—one that requires schlepping a big ice-filled cooler across a field or a park. Bring a ball or a Frisbee for after-eating activities.
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