How to … get fit without exercising

If getting into lycra and runners isn’t your idea of a good time you’re not alone, but it doesn’t mean fitness is off the table all together. There are plenty of ways you can get fit or stay fit without having to fork out for a personal trainer to yell in your ear or for gym membership you may never use. Here are everyday tricks and changes you can use to reclaim your fitness that won’t require any unrealistic exercise goals.

Get your walk on
One of the best ways to sneak activity into your daily life is simply to cut out or cut down on other modes of transport. If you’re driving to work, park a little further away, or if you’re taking a train, get off a station early and walk the extra distance. Try to avoid taking elevators, and opt instead for the stairs. If distances are too far to walk consider using a bike in nice weather.

Manage your meals
According to, men who want to maintain their weight should eat around 2500 calories a day, and just 2000 if they want to lose weight. Women should eat around 2000 calories a day to maintain weight and 1500 a day to lose it. If you’ve ever looked at the calories on the back of a food packet, or checked out their serving, you’ve probably been surprised. A good way to manage the calories you eat each day is to become more aware of suggested serving sizes and to generally downsize your meal size and snack intake.

Stretch in front of the screen
So, you’re a couch potato? That’s ok, but you might not have realised that you can sneak in a whole series of stretches while your eyes are still glued to the screen.

We know it’s not the most appealing alternative to lift weights, but what if you could combine two chores into one? Cleaning your home is a surprisingly good calorie burner, burning up to 80 calories every twenty minutes, according to

Green thumb or not, gardening is a strenuous activity. According to some maths by, gardening burns around 8 calories a minute, meaning that doing a moderate load of half an hour a week, you’re burning 12,480 calories a year. This is the equivalent of losing around 1.6kg a year just from toiling in the garden.

Get a dog
If your parents didn’t tell you enough as a kid, dogs are a lot of work. But having to go for 20 minute strolls in the mornings and afternoons is just as good for you as it is for your four-legged friend, and with their company it won’t even feel like a chore.

Check your pedometer
It’s now recommended that we get 10,000 steps in each day to stay fit, and knowing where you sit on the count can be excellent motivation to try and squeeze in those extra steps. If you have a smart watch, Fitbit or the like, then you’re probably already aware of your count, but those of us without these can still find out how far we’re moving each day.

If you have an iPhone, go into the ‘health’ app with a little red heart symbol. It’s automatically installed so you won’t have to download it. Then click on ‘Fitness’ which will allow you to find out how far you’ve walked, how many steps you’ve done and how many flights you’ve climbed that day, week, month and year.
If you have an Android Phone, you can use a similar app called Google Fit that comes preinstalled on newer phones and can be downloaded onto older models.

Wash your car
When’s the last time you gave your car a good scrub? You may have forgotten just how much stretching and movement is involved.

Don’t sit for too long
Have you heard the phrase ‘sitting is the new smoking’? Research has revealed that people who sit for eight or more hours a day without physical activity have a similar risk of dying to people who smoke or are obese. Taking a standing break every 30 minutes and walk around. Walking helps to decrease your risk of sitting-related health concerns.

Will you be introducing any of these workout staples into your day-to-day routine? What other exercise-free activities and tips would you recommend to others?

Related articles:
Avoid these mistakes to lose weight
The best exercise for older people
How much TV is too much?

Liv Gardiner
Liv Gardiner
Writer and editor with interests in travel, lifestyle, health, wellbeing, astrology and the enivornment.
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