by Vanessa Voltolina for Discover and Play
Sometimes, going to the gym is a drag. The gym blues happen, but even if you blow it off, it doesn’t mean fitting in some cardio exercise is out of the question. There are some easy (and painless!) ways to get your heart pumping without setting a foot inside the gym. Fitness trainer and Tonique Fitness Method founder, Sylwia Wiesenberg offers tips for staying in perpetual motion wherever you are:
1. Climb Stairs
Ditch the escalator or elevator in favor of briskly climbing stairs. “After 20 stairs, you will start feeling the burn,” says Wiesenberg. She recommends 200 stairs daily. “You’ll begin to see the definition on your legs!” she says. Wiesenberg hooves it up the 10 flights every time she goes to a friend’s apartment, which is “200 extra steps in my day!” Stairs help you build strong legs — especially quads — while firming and lifting your butt, says Wiesenberg.
2. Do Laps Around the Mall
Laps around the mall mean window-shopping at its finest — just enough time to see what’s new, but too quick to loosen those purse strings. “If you have the opportunity to walk, you won’t need the gym for the cardio exercise,” says Wiesenberg. Keep your abs tight and walk fast with limited stopping, she adds.
3. Hike or Walk a Shelter Pet
Animal rescue organizations are always looking for kind, animal-loving people to walk adoptable pets. Google organizations in your area to find out more, and make it a priority to visit weekly. Not only are you doing something good for a furry friend, but clocking a few additional miles. Take it to the next level by finding organizations that offer daylong hikes with pooches. If you already have a pet, rinse and repeat!
4. Get Some Dance Exercise
“Dancing is a great way to burn calories and increase your heart rate,” says Wiesenberg. Crank up some good music and get some dance exercise for the duration of two to three songs (or about 12-15 minutes). “You won’t only burn calories, but you’ll get into a better, happier mood!” says Wiesenberg. She also suggests choosing nighttime venues with lively music so you can dance your you-know-what off.
5. Hop Anywhere
Channel your inner child — and don’t leave home without your jump rope! Take 2-5 minutes during lunch or a coffee break to jump rope, she suggests. “It all adds up — you stimulate your mind, energize your body and burn extra calories.” Also jump when you bring your kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews to play outside. (Wiesenberg’s jumping garners her “cool mom” points on the playground!) After “five minutes, you’ll start feeling it!”
6. Get Cycle-Happy
Biking everywhere — from your morning commute to grocery shopping — can provide a serious burn. Wiesenberg recommends pedaling quickly for 20 minutes; if you just can’t get that kind of speed, try for at least 30-45 minutes of cycling per day.
7. Board It
If you’re not all for biking, get some cardio exercise on your commute is by skateboarding or long boarding, she suggests. “It’s an excellent leg workout that helps your balance, plus you raise your heart rate!”
Vanessa Voltolina is a former online editor for NBCUniversal. Her work has appeared in several national publications, including Weight Watchers and SHAPE.