We know exercise, including cardio, contributes significantly to your physical and mental wellness. More than simply getting a hit of endorphins, the long-term benefits include a healthy, happy and longer life. We talked about the benefits of staying fit here.
Essentially, exercise has a wealth of benefits. It’s possible to fit it into your day, even when you think there’s no chance.
Our generation sits a lot. In fact, too much. The average person spends 7 hours a day sat down, and the average 65 year old spends an incredible 10 hours each day lying down. Being more active is undeniably linked to a reduction in our risk of heart disease, type II diabetes, some cancers as well as mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and Alzheimer’s. The evidence tells us that we will live longer if we exercise more.
With this in mind, you might wonder how much you should be doing? Those in the know say 150 minutes a week, which is 30 minutes a day of moderate cardio and two sessions of strength training is the sweet spot.
No one is going to tell you how to break that down. You can do half an hour in one go, or 3 sets of ten minutes. There are so many ways you can sneak cardio into your day and we’re going to give you some ideas.
Take the stairs
If you can get a coffee or use the bathroom, printer or meeting rooms on another floor in your office, why not take the stairs? You can push yourself even more by taking them two at a time. You could burn ad additional 300 calories a week just by taking the stairs either one or two at a time during the week. If you get a little breathless, this is known as moderate intensity and is great for you.
Take meetings outside
Do you really need a meeting room? Unless you need a screen for visuals, it’s likely you and your colleague can walk and talk. A 15 minute walk can burn just shy of 100 calories. However, sitting down for this time would only burn 28.
Being in this novel situation will also stimulate your creativity. You might be surprised at how much you get done. If you need to take notes, how about using the voice note function on your smartwatch? The Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch both have downloadable apps which will let you do this.
Every time your phone rings, why not stand up to take the call? Can you walk around on your smartphone? Can you buy a standing desk? There is a range of options from cheap and cheerful monitor mounts to more serious desks. If you can’t change your furniture, you can set a reminder to get up and go for a quick stroll every half an hour.
How does this help get cardio in? Well, for one you’ll be walking back and forth from your source of water. Secondly, you’ll be needing more trips to the bathroom, which means more steps! If you add in our first suggestion of taking the stairs and use a bathroom on another floor, you’ll be well on your way to attaining your 30 minutes a day. You’ll also get the benefits of the additional water in take. It’s win-win-win. If you wear a Fitbit Versa, you can use the app to record everything from your stair climbs, distance travelled, calories burned, steps taken and even water intake.
On your days off
Cut some shapes
Before you think about opening that beer or packet of crisps in front of a film, consider having a dance about. 30 minutes works out to be around 8 songs and 150 calories burned. Make a playlist that will get you moving. Don’t worry about being a good dancer, there’s no requirement for that here, just have a good time and let it all go. It’ll boost your mood, too!
Make it a date
If you’re on the dating scene, you can easily get cardio in. Get your mind out of the gutter, we mean ditch those calorific dinners for a hike, walk in the park or stroll around your neighbourhood. You can get to know one another as you walk and talk.
You could try something more athletic like a tennis match, which would earn you 200 calories in your 30 minute slot. If you’re hardcore, an hour of spin burns around 700 calories. If you’re both gym buddies, why not spot each other? There are so many options to up your dating game and sneak in some cardio.
If you like the idea of a hike, you could utilise one of the five best altimeter smartwatches that we recommend in this article, here.
Make a game of it
Exergames are a thing. Think Wii Fit or Xbox Fitness. These clever things force us to use cardio techniques to play the game. It sure beats sitting down. Be mindful of what activity you do, though. A 30 minute session of yoga on the Wii doesn’t burn as many calories as you might like. To stay in the know of your calorie burn, we recommend a simple fitness tracker like the Miss Vapor X, which we’ve reviewed for you.
Out and about
Change up periods of inactivity
Here’s a novel idea you might not have considered. Are you stuck at an airport waiting on a delayed flight? Airports tend to be huge. Go for a walk! You’ll easily use up 30 minutes just exploring the stores. With the Diesel On Full Guard 2.5, you don’t have to worry about missing your flight. Use the microphone and Google Assistant to set yourself a reminder for when to head back to your gate.
Save your fuel
Save money on fuel by walking or cycling to where you need to be. Driving can be stressful whereas walking can really clear your head. Another win-win situation. Walking for 30 minutes can burn around 150 – 200 calories and will take you into that moderate-intensity range which is great for your heart.
Chores are an opportunity for cardio
Time for a clean
If you think you don’t have time to fit in 30 minutes of cardio a day because you have too many chores, did you consider your chores could count for those 30 minutes?
30 minutes of deep clean housework will burn up to 100 calories. If you’ve got jobs to do outside, this counts too. Gardening and doing things like raking leaves can burn just over 100 calories in the same time. Plus, you get the benefits that come with being outside. You can time and monitor your calorie burn during this period using apps like MyFitnessPal, which sync brilliantly with fitness trackers like the Fitbit Flex.
Don’t park so close
If your chores include errands then don’t park as close to the store. Park at the back and walk the additional distance.
Don’t be so efficient
If you’re out shopping, don’t plan a route around the store that gets you only to the items you need in the fastest possible way. There’s nothing wrong with doing several laps around the store. This will knock your step count up and you might not forget something you needed if you pass it two or three times!
Carrying the basket can burn up to 50 calories in just five minutes. If you have a smartwatch with NFC compatibility, like the 4th Gen Fossil Explorist, you can use it to see how many steps you’ve taken during your trip and then pay for your items when you’re done!
We hope you’ve learned that you don’t need an expensive gym membership or even necessarily more hours int he day to fit cardio into your day! Simple changes can really add up to achieve that goal of 150 minutes a week. Pair this with the features of a handy smartwatch or fitness tracker and you’re destined for success.
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