50 ways to fit in fitness

It’s easy to start moving—follow our 50 ways to get up and go!
Published May 31, 2016 | Updated September 30, 2022

A few steps here, a squat there. It all adds up, and possibly produces even greater health benefits than you’d get from a full-fledged workout. People who move continually doing things like walking, fidgeting, standing, laughing, cleaning, or climbing stairs at work could burn up to 2,000 calories per day, no moderate or vigorous exercise required, according to a 2015 review in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Great news, right?

So how can you add a little movement to your day? Try out these 50 creative ways to fit fitness into your day, wherever you are (and whatever you’re wearing). It’s all about the movement!

  1. Get a dog 
    People who own dogs are more likely to hit the daily recommended amount of physical activity than people without pooches, reports a review in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.
  2. Brace at red lights 
    When you’re sitting at a stoplight, squeeze your abs. Hold it until the light turns green. (This works just as well when you’re not the driver!)
  3. Wear technology 
    A recent study found that when women wore FitBits, they took 782 extra steps per day, according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine study.
  4. Throw your own flash dance party 
    You know you love rocking out in the living room! And you should—it burns major calories. So blast your favourite tune, use your brush as a microphone, and in three minutes, done!
  5. Become a stealth squatter
    Whenever you have a little private time—like when you’re drying your hands in your bathroom—do some squats.
  6. Do a supermarket victory lap 
    Once you’ve finished your grocery shopping, take one last walk around the perimeter of the store. Bonus: That’s where you’ll find the fruits and veggies, so impulse buys are OK!
  7. Find a spot for your smartphone 
    Pick a designated location in your home to stash your cell, so when you need it, you have to move for it!
  8. Spring clean 
    Need more incentive than a sparkling house? It burns up to 400 calories per hour. Really get into it, any time of year!
  9. Go to the store 
    Limit online shopping to one day a year—Cyber Monday—and visit your favourite retailers in person the rest of the time. You’ll hit 10,000 steps without even trying.
  10. Grab some granite 
    While you’re in the kitchen waiting for your coffee to perk, do some incline push-ups using the countertop.
  11. Wash the car 
    A 155-pound person could burn 167 calories, sudsing the Subaru, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
  12. Hold walking meetings 
    You’ll burn calories and get innovative! People may be 60 percent more creative strolling than sitting, according to preliminary research from Stanford University.
  13. Stop sitting still 
    A 2015 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that if you constantly fidget while you sit—bounce your legs, keep your arms moving—you may help counteract negative health effects of being sedentary like poor posture and high BMI.
  14. Break up your binge watching 
    “Are you still watching?” Every time Netflix asks—usually after each half-hour episode ends—do 10 jumping jacks.
  15. Go dancing on date night 
    It’s way more active (and romantic) than the typical dinner and a movie.
  16. Sit down when you’re brushing your teeth 
    But don’t take a seat. Try performing a wall sit (stay in sitting position with your back against the wall). Hold the pose as long as you can, working up to the full two minutes.
  17. Stroll after meals 
    Let the dishes soak! Walking for just 15 minutes after you eat may help control your blood sugar, according to limited research from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.
  18. Get off the bus one stop early 
    You’ll lose a few minutes but gain a lot of extra steps.
  19. Start getting handy around the house 
    Learn to hang that shelf and fix that doorjamb. Home repair projects can burn 112 to 223 calories per hour (for a 155-pound person), according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
  20. Start gardening 
    According to a 2014 HortTechnology study, weeding burns the same number of calories as working out on the elliptical, mulching melts off more than yoga, and digging torches as many as weightlifting or rowing.
  21. Act like a kid 
    Don’t just watch your children play, take part! Join in their games of tag, set up a scavenger hunt, or play make-believe.
  22. Go camping 
    Get outside with a weekend camping trip. Hiking to a campsite, pitching a tent, and kindling a fire will all burn calories.
  23. Ditch the stroller 
    Carry your baby in a MobyWrap or a BabyBjörn to give your abs, back, and legs some much-needed love.
  24. Reverse crunch your way out of bed 
    Before you get up, perform 10 reverse crunches on your cushy mattress (it’ll work your abs even more). Lying on your back, raise your knees and feet until your shins are parallel to the bed. Squeeze your abs and slowly lift your hips off of the bed and your feet toward the ceiling. Pause; lower yourself to the blankets.
  25. Stand on one foot 
    Whenever you can—whether you’re in line or washing dishes—lift one foot. You’ll improve your balance and coordination, and strengthen the muscles in your feet, ankles, and legs (give each foot equal time). Tip: In public? Lift your foot only about an inch off the ground and no one will notice.
  26. Sit down twice 
    Every time you sit, pause when you’re about an inch above the seat and then spring back up.
  27. Ride the bus standing 
    Give up your seat and hold the handrails. You’ll burn more calories than if you made the journey sitting on your bum!
  28. Challenge your friends 
    Research consistently shows that we exercise harder and better when we’re pitted against others. Try to out-fitness your pals with Fitbit Challenges. You can compete against up to nine Fitbit friends to get the most steps.
  29. Make more laundry trips 
    Fold and put away your clean clothes and linens one item at a time. You’ll get in steps going back and forth.
  30. Say “@$#& it” 
    Replace your swear jar with a burpee penalty. 
  31. Hop off the bar stool 
    You’ll burn more calories playing pool, darts, or foosball than you will planted with a drink in your hand. You’ll probably have more fun, too.
  32. Lunge the hall 
    Every time you have to walk down a hallway at home, make the journey one walking lunge at a time. You’ll get bonus points if you’re carrying something while you do it.
  33. Hide the remote 
    You’ll never realize how often you change the channel until you do.
  34. Switch to a backpack 
    Besides making it feasible to walk or bike on almost any errand that comes your way, a loaded backpack strengthens the muscles in your core, back, and even legs.
  35. Take the scenic route 
    When Google Maps gives you different options for walking somewhere, don’t pick the first route (it’s usually the shortest!). And even when you need to get somewhere at the office, forgo the shortcut through marketing and go see what’s up in the mailroom to burn a few more calories.
  36. Choose pickup over delivery 
    If you’re going to eat takeout, always opt to go out and get it yourself. Walking to and from the restaurant—or even just your car—burns more calories than waiting for the food to arrive at your door.
  37. Raise while you rinse 
    When you’re standing at the sink washing dishes, do calf raises. While keeping your abs tight, lift your heels until you’re standing on your toes. Hold for two seconds, then slowly lower your heels. Tip: Keep the movement nice and slow to really feel the burn.
  38. Do it on the double 
    When you’re doing chores at home, run—don’t walk—from place to place.
  39. Bend better 
    Instead of just hinging at the waist when you pick something up off the floor, do a full squat. You’ll work your entire legs to build more muscle and burn more calories.
  40. Visit your colleague’s cube 
    Email and call less in the office. Have a conversation in person.
  41. Swap drinks for fitness 
    Plan happy hour walks or bike rides with friends instead of cocktails.
  42. Hop out of the car 
    On a road trip? The next time you stop for gas or a driving break, get outside and do some jumping jacks or squats. You’ll be able to snag a much-needed break from sitting and get your blood flowing.
  43. Step while you wait 
    If you’re waiting for a train or bus and some stairs are handy. get some flights in until it’s time to leave.
  44. Ditch the vanity 
    Stand in front of the mirror while you’re applying your makeup and styling your hair.
  45. Stop pushing, start lifting 
    Instead of a shopping cart, grab a basket at the grocery story. As you lift it, you’ll do a bicep curl and you’ll get a shoulder workout—without even knowing it.
  46. Use a small glass 
    The smaller the glass, the more trips to the fridge for some water.
  47. Join the team 
    Looking to meet new people? Try a recreational adult sports league and play sports like volleyball, dodge ball, basketball, or flag football—to name a few.
  48. Rearrange your furniture 
    Itching to change the feng shui in your home? That’s a good excuse to add in some movement.
  49. Go salsa dancing with friends 
    Research restaurants and clubs near your home where you can sip on sangria—5 ounces for 5 SmartPoints®—and dance the night away.
  50. Search for yard sales 
    Looking for a steal? Line up some yard sales around your town and walk the route on Saturday morning.