Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How can I be more active each day?

Every bit of activity you perform is a step in the right direction - even if you exercise only a few minutes a day. Increase your physical activity in a number of small ways throughout your day. This adds up and can make a difference in your health.

How to Be More Active at Work

  • Instead of sitting in a colleague's office to catch up or to have a brief meeting, have a walking meeting.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park your car at the far end of the parking lot instead of close to the door.
  • Get off the bus or train a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Ride your bike to work.
  • Instead of a coffee break, take a stretching or walking break.
  • Get up and walk to give messages instead of calling or sending an e-mail.

How to Be More Active at Home

  • Take a walk after work with your family or friends, or walk your dog. To help make this a habit, you can pick an event to link with it. For instance, every time you turn on the dishwasher to do the dinner dishes, go for a walk.
  • Carry your own groceries.
  • Do some housecleaning and be inefficient about it. For instance, make more than one trip up the stairs.
  • Stop using your kids or hiring someone to run errands for you - get the exercise yourself.
  • Work in your yard or garden.
  • Go out dancing, or dance to music at home.
  • Put up a badminton, volleyball, or basketball net in your yard and challenge family members or neighbors to play.
  • Pedal your stationary bike while watching television or reading.
  • When you travel, stay at hotels that have fitness facilities and use them. When waiting in the airport for your next flight, take a brisk walk instead of eating a fattening snack.
  • Plan active outings, such as hiking, swimming, canoeing, backpacking, and biking, that get your family or friends moving, too.