Regular exercise can lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. Yet many people still aren't making physical activity a priority.
In its first-ever single-topic special issue, the September 2008 Harvard Health Letter offers 27 tips to get your heart rate up without going to the gym. Its recommendations include these:
1. Take the faraway spot. Walking from the farthest corner of the parking lot will burn a few calories. If it's a parking garage, head for the roof and use the stairs.
2. Get into the swing of it. Swinging your arms when you walk will help you reach the brisk pace of 3 to 4 miles per hour that is the most healthful.
3. Be part of the fun. Adults shouldn't miss a chance to jump into the fray if kids are playing on a playground or splashing around in the water. Playing along will strengthen muscles and bones and set a good example.
4. Clean house. Even if you have a cleaning service, you can take responsibility for vacuuming a couple of rooms yourself. Fifteen minutes burns around 80 calories.
5. Adopt someone as your walking, jogging, or biking buddy... Adding a social element to exercise helps many people stick with it.
6. Even a buddy with four legs. Several studies have shown that dog owners get more exercise than the canineless.
7. Be a stair master. Taking the stairs is good for your legs, knees, and cardiovascular system. Don't overdo; take one flight at a time.