You hate getting sweaty. You don’t have enough time in the day. You’re too tired. Everyone has their reasons not to exercise. I had used all the excuses many, many times over the years, and had slowly but surely achieved the status of “chubby girl.” I had pretty much convinced myself that there was no way I would ever buckle down and get myself on a consistent workout plan.
Then, one day I noticed even my “fat jeans” were getting a little snug, and my self-esteem plummeted. Something had to change. I decided that I was going to find a new way to exercise. A way that didn’t involve paying for a gym membership, only to have all the thin people gawk at me as I jiggled and bounced away on the treadmill. A way that didn’t take away from my video game addiction. A way that I could actually make myself stick to. In short, I needed to find a lazy way to exercise.
I am a scientist at heart. For many months, I researched, tested, and experimented to see what methods worked for me. The following is a list of my most enjoyable and effective ideas.
1. Drink lots of water. I know this isn’t really exercise, but it does help burn calories.
Everyone recommends this, but hardly anyone ever heeds the advice. Drinking cold water burns extra calories because your body has to use energy to warm the water up before it can be absorbed. Entire books can and have been written on the health benefits of drinking water. Not to mention, it will help keep you hydrated and replenish the sweat you won’t notice you are expending as you follow the rest of my tips.
2. Wear light weights under your clothes.
Wearing light weights under your clothes can help you burn extra calories without even realizing it. There are many kinds available, but my personal preference is to wear small wrist and ankle weights. While it looks a little dorky and you might not want to wear them out of the house, I find it is very effective to wear them as I putter around the house cleaning or doing laundry. After the first five minutes, I forget I even have them on. A word of caution, though: don’t wear heavy weights for too long. It puts unnecessary stress on your joints. Used in moderation, this is probably my favorite method of lazy exercise.
3. Work out your legs while you work or play games.
One of my best investments was one of those little under-the-desk stationary bikes, with no seat or handles. You put it on the floor under your desk, and pedal at a comfortable pace and resistance while you sit at your computer and work, play games, or surf the web. After a few minutes, you’ll be so absorbed in your other tasks that you will barely notice you are still pedaling.
4. Take the stairs.
This is another one of those good pieces of advice that regularly gets ignored. If you only have one or two flights of stairs to walk up, save the elevator space for people who need it and get rid of a few extra calories.
5. Park farther away from the door.
This is based on the same principle as the last idea- save the closer parking spots for people who need them, and take the opportunity to walk the extra distance. If you are parking downtown in a big city, it’s likely that the more inconvenient spots are cheaper anyway.
6. Before you sit down, do ten jumping jacks.
This is another idea that works best when practiced in the privacy of your own home. It may not sound like much, but it can help. If you’re like me, you stand up and sit down multiple times a day. You are moving around trying to get things done, and then you sit down for five minutes before you’re up again because you have forgotten to do something important. That can add up to a lot of jumping jacks. If you are the kind of person who likes to sit still for long periods of time though, it might be helpful to increase the number of jumping jacks since you won’t be doing them as frequently.
These steps may sound silly, but after I got used to them, I actually started having fun with it. There are actually a lot of methods of lazy exercise and ways to burn extra calories in your day; this is just a list of my personal favorites. You can feel free to do some experimentation and modification with this list. The secret is just to stick to them, and take the opportunities to move around when you can. If you know you won’t make yourself exercise in large chunks every day, then doing little bits here and there might be the answer for you.