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.
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.