The Secrets of Success: Sneak In More Exercise

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We've been talking a lot in the past few weeks about exercise and weight loss: why it matters, how much you need, and ways to vary your routine for better results. What if working out and dieting alone aren't really enough to lose weight? Yes, both exercise and a healthy, calorie-controlled diet matter for weight management. What about all the hours you're NOT exercising? Could that be holding you back in your weight loss?

When we surveyed our most successful SparkPeople members to write our best-selling book, The Spark, we found out lots of little "secrets" that helped them be successful in the weight-loss game. You'll have to read the book to get the full story, but we're sharing our 15 favorite secrets of success on the dailySpark from March 1-15. Lucky you!

Secret #10: Sneak in more exercise.
65% of people who met their weight-loss goals added more activity to their day by "sneaking" it in: pacing while on the phone, lifting weights in front of the TV, doing jumping jacks in between conference calls, taking the stairs and more. How much of a difference does all of this activity really make?

The more you move, the more you lose. Not only does extra activity keep your metabolism going (burning calories and fat), but it also wakes you up when your energy is waning and helps keep your body in motion. Maybe most importantly, it burns more calories than sedentary activities do, and it can also decrease your risk for health problems, including cardiovascular disease.

You may do great at getting to the gym five days a week or even exercising 30-60 minutes a day. But what about the other 23 hours each day? The more you can turn sedentary time into active time, the better off you will be. After all, our bodies are designed for movement, not sitting in a car or at a desk for 40+ hours per week.

In addition to my planned workouts, I try to be active throughout the day. I do all the clichés: park further from the door, take the stairs, and get walking whenever I can. These actions may not burn as many calories as an intense workout, but they still count for something. Here are some additional resources that provide ideas to add more physical activity to your days. Are you interested in learning more secrets from SparkPeople's most successful "losers"? Check out The Spark, which is bursting with proven and practical strategies used by real people like you who won the weight-loss battle.

How do you sneak more active time into your days? Is this one of your secrets to success?

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Waiting while heating food in the microwave is a good time to do counter push ups, jog in place, or do squats. As many have said, it all adds up. Report
Really good advise...I am definitely going to move around more! Report
Thanks for the reminder! I need to heed this. Report
My wonderful osteopath wrote me a 'prescription' for a desk that I stand at to do my computing at work (my employer paid for it under health rules). I am SO much less tired at day's end I was shocked at first. The only times I sit now are when I'm actually talking with students, in meetings (blech) or when driving the 17 miles to/from work. NOW I have to find a similar solution for my at-home laptop...suggestions welcomed! Report
I find that my activity level during the day has a lot more to do with the total number of calories burned in any given workout, and is a lot less likely to increase my appetite. Jog from place to place rather than walk, walk rather than stand, stand rather than sit, sit upright rather than lie down. It really adds up. Report
I use a stability ball at work for my office chair. Report
I always use the stairs at work. I am constantly moving around. Report
I love being sneaky in getting more movement in the day. Standing while working at my island, and not sitting. Extra walking at the parking lot. Balance ball at the computer. Great thoughts everyone!! Report
Great advise, thanks! Report
I squeeze it in every chance I get. You'll have some great ideas. Report
My friends laugh at me because I squeeze it in all the time. While brushing my teeth in the morning, I do leg curls, leg raises, squats, and plies to tiptoes. I then do 20 pushups and 20 tricep dips on the tub. At night, I leg curl and do an inner thigh toner. I know I have done some work with this, added onto usually 60 minute workouts (30 and 30) and 2 nice walks (30). Being a stay-at-home Mom, I have been trying to instill my love of fitness and being active upon my 3 yr old and 6 month old. I now have a "running" companion when my run is over! My 3 yr old runs the last 10 minutes and loves it! Report
Nicole is awesome help in print, video, and I like a personal coaching session. Is there a contest going? Report
These are great ideas! I need to pull out my balance ball and use it when I'm working on the computer at home. Maybe I'll even throw in some reps with my weights during commercial breaks if I'm watching TV. Report
This probably sounds silly but I have found that if I wear sneakers all day as opposed to my usual flip flops I am much more active in the house, I even go outside and play with the dog more or go outside and clean the yard randomly etc. I am a stay at home mom and before I think I was a couch potato with some depression, but when I started to diet, come to the other diet site and then here it motivated me and I barely sit down anymore! I also leave 5 pound weights laying around the living room so if I do sit, I pick them up and just play with them. Every little bit counts! Report
When you watch TV, sit on a balance ball. You automatically have to work harder to stay upright. I usually do crunches and bridges on the ball, too, which really helps.

Also, when you take your coffee breaks, walk around the block with your coffee instead of sitting. For me, this adds about 20-30 minutes of walking to my fitness tracker -- nothing to sneer at! Report
-walk up to 3rd floor office instead of taking elevator.
-after cardio class (usually 45 mins), go straight to elliptical, treadmill or stationary bike at gym to add another 15 mins of work.
-walk the dogs.
-walk to drugstore and back (about 1 mile total) Report
I have a pedal under my desk that I pedal away at during the day, I wonder if that counts too. :) Report
not only does it make a physical difference, but when I am being conscious all day of working in exercise, I'm more dedicated to my goals - I eat better and keep the mentality I need to do this! Report
I'm reading the S{ARK book now and have started an exercise program. Report
Excellent information. The little things do add up. Report
Excellent advice Report
Staying active becomes a greater challenge with arthritis pain. A friend who is a physician said he was told the for joint pain " Ice is nice but motion is lotion." Good reminder! Report
Great article. I park far away so I must walk ; also I started to pace when I am on the phone just this is breath taking. Report
just sitting up straight and clapping your hands above your head while reading emails makes me feel energized this is my best of the 15 secrets so far! Report
park further away
take the stairs
stand up and pace while talking on the phone
any little extra movement! Report
I sometimes forget about sneaking in the extra excersise, but when I do remember I feel better that just sitting around! Report
When my co-worker runs her errands during the work day, I take a walk up and down the hallway. I did an all time personal best by taking a one hour walk. I do arm exercises while I walk, too. A great stress reliever!! Report
I have weights are my desk for extra activity while reading sparks pages, 2 and 5 lbs. it helps and I feel like it helps with arm stretches behind my back. Report
Park as far away from the door as possible. Not only does it ease shopping stress, you have no choice but to walk the extra steps both ways. Report
My family thinks I am nuts, cause I walk in place while I am waiting for anything Report
If these are the tips in Spark book, then I'm happy that I didn't buy the book. I've been doing this so-called extra exercise for years. I hate parking lots and always park away from other cars which means, away from the store. I've always parked and walked in major traffic areas as it makes more sense. I've walked daily. I lived up on the 3rd floor with no elevator and worked on the 2nd floor - until a back injury recently took me out and I had to move to ground levels. Most days when I lived on the top floor I walked those stairs at least 6x in a day and at work, around 3 dozen times. I'm a pacer, I can't sit still, so even on the phone I'm walking around. ADHD has its benefits. This are good reminders to those who tend to sit and do very little, for the rest of us, well, its common place. The benefit for someone like me isn't that it loses weight (I wish), its that it keeps up the muscle tone in a way that is 2nd nature. Report
Thanks for the reminder!!! Report
Thanks for the reminder! Report
I've started standing at my desk. Working at a software company allows me to be a bit weirder than most offices might allow.
I'm halfway through day 2 at this point and my legs feel it! Report
I love these tennis shoes can anyone tell me what brand they are? Report
I walk just about everywhere and encourage my husband to find parking spaces not so close to stores since its beautiful out why not enjoy the fresh air! I think we all pace around when we are talking on the phone in the house, it adds steps and keeps the heart pumping. Now with nicer weather I will be finding things to do outside to take advantage of the weather and find "extra" fun exercise to do whether its in the garden or flower beds, walking the dogs, or playing with my son. Report
I always take the stairs and I do butt or ab isometric holds while I'm driving. Report
I take the stairs at work and park far just to get in some steps. I also try to do squats when I'm on break. Report
I sit on my exercise ball at my computer instead of a chair. I also do a set of push ups at the top of the stairs when I go up them. Report
I also do some isometric exercises in the car when stopped at red lights. Some great ideas here. Report
I exercise in front of the T.V using weights, doing sit-ups, push-ups and bicycles. When I go to a mall, I make it a point to go up the stairs and walk the whole mall as I'm not tempted to go in every store. I also realize that the more I wear sneakers and a pedometer, the more I'm willing to do more! Report
If I'm on the computer at home I will get up and walk to the farthest room. while there I'll do one thing to brighten up that room then stop in each room in the way back checking for clutter. Report
I've been trying to do this more. Last night during biggest loser, I used every commercial break as a time to do cardio and then I did some core training during the show. It's amazing when I added it all up how much I was able to accomplish. I used a stop watch during the breaks to keep track of how many minutes I did it. Report
Great advice! Though I do walk to get the mail & take the stairs when possible, there's a lot more I could be doing. I will make sure to fit more in. Report
Good idea I will do that! Report
this is a hard one for me as i am an artist & i can't really move around alot, although i do take breaks & stretch, stretch, stretch!!!!!!!!! Report
I dont watch my soap operas UNLESS I get on the treadmill while I'm watching Report
Great advice! Report
I couldn't agree more; added bonus: thinking more about exercise and less about food these days. My new pedometer will download and chart my steps hour by hour. Seeing how much of the day I'm NOT active was just the push I needed to fit more exercise into my daily routine. Report
"Squeezing In", I am a nurse that works 13 hour shifts or longer and I am on my feet at least 12 of those 13 hours. I walk an additional 345 stairs or 11 flights on my lunch break and at the end of the day I rack up approx 12-15,000 steps, but I am so exhausted when I get home. On my day off though it is hard for me to "squeeze it in" just trying to recuperate from work the previous day. Report
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