10 Ways to Get in More Activity When You Don’t Have More Time

2021 Summer to Shine Series, Part 1

We all know activity is essential for health and overall wellbeing, but some days it’s so hard to work it into the schedule. Don’t let a lack of time keep you sedentary, though. Here are some ways to add activity to your day without running yourself ragged.

1. Take the Stairs

Whenever possible, skip the elevator and head to the stairs instead. It’s a small action that doesn’t take a lot of time, but the benefits add up. Too many stairs to get where you’re going? Take the elevator part of the way and the stairs for the rest. Stair climbing is perfect for lunch breaks, too!

2. Move Around

It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re working at a computer. Use an app or a smart watch to set a reminder every hour to get up and move for a few minutes. Not only will your eyes get a break from staring at a computer screen, but you’ll be reducing your risk of forming blood clots in your legs from all that sitting. 

3. Walk More, Drive Less

Whenever possible, walk to your destination instead of driving. You’ll be increasing your activity and exploring local areas. Walking not practical? Try parking a block away, getting off the bus a stop earlier, or in the next parking lot over. If you’re already walking or biking to your destination, try taking a less direct route. This will help you add to your daily steps and you can control how much time you spend doing it. 

4. Track Your Steps

A fitness watch or simple step tracking app for your phone can help you see how many steps you take per day. If you don’t hit the recommended 10,000 steps per day, don’t worry! Start with 3,000 steps increase your goal by 200 steps for each day you meet your goal. You’ll be at 10,000 in no time.

5. Bundle Your Activity

When your day can feel too full, look for ways to bundle activity with other things you enjoy or even things you just need to get done. Get that next beach read as an audiobook and only let yourself listen while you’re out walking. Or, if you’re overdue for a long phone call with your mom, grab your earbuds and take her along for that walk. If you have a long report to read, try reading it on a stationary bike or treadmill. It won’t be your best workout, but it will be your most active reading session.

6. Break it Down

You don’t have to have large blocks of free time to be active. If you can’t find an hour, look for pockets 10 or 15 minutes. Chances are good that you’ll identify 4-6 of these windows in most of your days, so keep a short walking route or short workout routine in mind for those moments.

7. Dance it Out

Are you listening to music while making dinner? Doing laundry? Mopping floors? Add a little boogie to it! Dancing is a fun way to add extra movement to any activity. Enlist your family and make it a dance party. 

8. Stretch in Place

When in doubt, stretch! Stretching is a great way to relieve stress and get the blood circulating. Plus, stretches can be done while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew, the dryer to finish, or those toddlers to put on their shoes. Loosen up tight shoulders, limber up stiff wrists, or ease back soreness. Here are some stretches to try:

  1. Tricep stretch—extend your arm above you and bend it so that your hand is behind your neck. With your other hand, grab your elbow and gently pull it towards your ear. Do on both sides.
  2. Shoulder stretch—lock your fingers behind you and gently extend your arms. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  3. Torso stretch—sit in a chair and cross your legs at the knee. Turn your torso towards the bent knee, gently pushing it toward you with the opposite arm. Do on both sides.

9. Practice Yoga in Your Office

Yoga is another great way to gently increase strength and flexibility in short bursts of time. You don’t even need a yoga mat as long as you have a rug. Here are three great moves for anyone who spends a lot of time sitting:

  1. Cat/Cow—get down on all fours. Push your chest towards the floor while bringing your head towards the ceiling for cow. Bring your head towards the floor and round your back towards the ceiling for cat. Gently alternate these.
  2. Supine twist—lay on your back. Bring your knees up until your lower legs are parallel to the floor, then gently lower them to one side while keeping your back flat on the floor. Rotate your legs to the opposite side. Gently alternate these.
  3. Child’s Pose—get down on your knees, then place your chest on the floor with your hands out in front of you. Push your weight back toward your heels. Hold for a few moments.

10. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

No matter what activity you’re doing, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Multiply your weight by 2/3 to calculate how much water you should be drinking per day. For example, if you weight 130 pounds, you should be drinking 87 ounces of water daily. Staying hydrated will help flush toxins, combat dry skin, and will help you feel fuller throughout the day. Bonus: you’ll get in a few extra steps refilling your glass and visiting the restroom.

Activity is one of Zyia’s founding pillars. We hope this article has given you ideas for how to stay active, no matter what your day throws at you.

Want to see how quickly those little burst of activity can add up, and have a lot of fun? Download the free Strava app and join the Zyia Active Strava Club. We’ll be posting inspirational ideas and fun challenges, as well as giving out prizes all this month. Plus, you’ll be able to see how may minutes of activity you—and our entire club—are able to rack up by just making a little conscious effort. 

To join our Strava club:

Download the Strava app from your app store.

Install and set up your free account.

Tap “Groups” at the bottom, then “Clubs” at the top.

Type “Zyia” in the “find a club” field and join us.