The Secrets of Success: Sneak In More Exercise


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  113 comments   :  72,770 Views

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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    I walk up and down the stairs at work to get in extra physical fitness. - 1/10/2018   12:06:04 PM
  • 112
    great tips - 12/14/2017   12:38:09 AM
  • 111
    I need to get a pedometer - 6/13/2017   3:51:24 AM
  • 110
    Yes! Even 10 minutes of movement is better than NONE! And your body knows that! - 4/23/2017   9:39:36 AM
  • 109
    Although I have my pedometer goal set for 7k, a commute and desk job doesn't leave me much time, especially if I miss a morning workout. After reading this article, I am resetting my step goal to 10k, will walk to the otherside of the building to use the rest room. And find other ways to increase my steps. - 7/23/2013   8:57:31 AM
    My pedometer is my judge and jury of whether I've had a good day fitness wise. I can do the 30 minute workout but if I'm sitting done the rest of the day it won't have much effect. I am for 10000 steps and cos I have a sit down job this is hard to do. I've had to resort to walking to work, walking to the shops, cleaning the house more as well as exercising to hit the target. I like to hide my exercise by going the market and doing lots of walking for example and the pedometer shows me when this does and doesn't work so I can't cheat. - 4/16/2013   6:15:39 AM
    While at work I use the bathroom upstairs from my office to get a few more steps each day - 5/24/2010   5:35:17 PM
    My computer is old and slow at times so I keep a 5 pd. weight close by and do with each arm until my arms can do no more! - 3/30/2010   7:12:31 PM
  • 105
    At home, I intentional don't carry everything I need to down the hall so I have to make another trip. - 3/22/2010   11:57:34 PM
  • 104
    I try to walk around my office as much as possible ( I am an admin assistant so I sit ALOT). I often send things to the printer that is the farthest from my desk to squeeze in some extra steps. - 3/17/2010   12:19:48 PM
  • 103
    This is all good advice. I spend as little time as possibly behind my desk. I also will walk to another teacher's classroom to ask them something instead of calling them on the phone. - 3/17/2010   10:35:28 AM
  • 102
    I am worried that if I just grab my weights in the middle of the day without warming up I am going to hurt myself. - 3/17/2010   7:24:21 AM
  • 101
    I definitely needed this reminder too - helps keep me mentally active as well as physically! - 3/16/2010   3:46:04 PM
  • 100
    I like talking a lunch time walk. I walk everywhere. I also do take the stairs instead of the escalator when I can.

    - 3/16/2010   10:34:06 AM
  • 99
    I am retired; but take care of my daughter's house cleaning and laundry. One way I sneak more exercise in through the day is when I do laundry every day. Instead of loading up the basket and bringing it downstairs all at once, I bring one load upat a time down, then one load at a time once it's drried and folded. Sometimes I walk up and down with a load of laundry 8 or 10 times; especially on Mondays. All other days, at least 4 times; except Thursdays. - 3/15/2010   11:52:13 AM
  • 98
    I have a cordless headset at my desk and I do actually pace my little cubicle whenever I'm on a long phone call or teleconference. - 3/15/2010   9:36:33 AM
  • 97
    I use my fitness ball as a chair when I am at the computer and while watching tv. Great for my posture too. No slouching here!! - 3/14/2010   9:34:33 PM
    I have a series of wall push ups and arm stretches I do after seeing each patient. While patients are changing, I do wall squats and hip lifts. Sometimes I throw in some yoga poses. - 3/14/2010   1:13:44 PM
  • 95
    Over the past few weeks I have been taking 15 minutes of my lunch break to walk around the block and I now climb the stairs instead of using the elevator. I try to find new oppurtunites everyday to sneak in exercise. - 3/14/2010   9:09:12 AM
  • 94
    Good advice. Thanks. - 3/14/2010   8:25:54 AM
    I use a "ball chair" at my primary office at work; it helps remind me to sit up straight and avoid slouching. I'm a school psychologist in an urban district with antique schools (lots of corridors and stairs), so I spend a lot of my days walking around the buildings to collect and return children before and after working with them. I am also absent-minded enough so that I routinely have to make two or more trips up/downstairs and/or back and forth between rooms at home to accomplish something - I don't know if that counts for anything. I also find that the more I exercise, the more I enjoy exercising - it feels good when my body loosens up and I can move more easily. - 3/14/2010   8:07:20 AM
  • 92
    Even on days when I don't feel like doing an intensive routine, I might get on the wii and just play with my kids. Often I feel muscles working pretty darn hard just playing games! - 3/14/2010   7:10:04 AM
  • 91
    Bravo! Exercise makes a difference in your mental and physical well being. The more I exercise, the more energy I seem to have! - 3/13/2010   10:24:00 PM
  • 90
    I bought some of those toning shoes (I've been blogging about my research into the right brand to buy) and I'm finding that I'm walking more as a result. I feel like I'm getting a better walk with them on, so I make a point to walk more. They're a very helpful, motivational tool. - 3/13/2010   7:10:50 PM
  • 89
    This is a great idea! So I'm already using the idea by sitting on my ball instead of a chair and bouncing up and around! I know I can burn extra calories this way and it feels good to be energized. - 3/13/2010   5:35:43 PM
  • 88
    I just recently bought a pair of the sketchers Shape Ups and since then I have been wearing them everyday even to work (office job) so I am sneaking in some exercise everyday while I am at work too. - 3/13/2010   5:15:15 PM
  • 87
    I try to do stretches during breaks in movies to keep the blood flowing. - 3/13/2010   3:35:47 PM
  • 86
    The more active I am, the more energized I am. It was hard at first to get moving, but now it comes naturally. When winter is over I will really get moving. In the spring, summer, and fall I take a 5 mile walk every evening. It makes me feel amazing. - 3/13/2010   3:07:06 PM
  • 85
    I jog in place a lot at work and at home... while waiting for copies or scans to finish or while watching TV.. I'll also grab hand weights and do stuff with them. Or I'll drop and do a handful of push ups, which never fails to make me feel energized. - 3/13/2010   12:40:09 PM
  • 84
    I bring some weights with me, so when I take a break I do a few strength exercises - 3/13/2010   10:43:11 AM
    I do whatever i can to squeeze in a little extra movement everyday. I'm a stay at home mom of a six month old, so that makes things a little difficult, especially with it being winter. But i still try to find little things to make the extra effort. - 3/13/2010   10:25:51 AM
  • 82
    i'm trying to sneak in more exercise, but like everything else, it takes me some time!!!!!! - 3/13/2010   9:19:40 AM
  • 81
    So true the body is made to move. So keep on moving! - 3/12/2010   4:33:48 PM
  • 80
    I walk around the apartment complex were I manage 4 times a day now instead of once a week like before I became a sparkster, it gets me an extra hour of walk 5 times a week. - 3/12/2010   2:57:01 PM
    I have bike pedals under my desk at work I have a fan and a glass of water on my desk all the time. My co-workers think the noise is from my fan. Also it makes me thirsty so I also get my 8 cups of water in. It feels good to get my excercise and water intake goals and sneeky because nobody knows I am pedaling away under my desk. I also send everything I print to a printer far away even though I have a printer at my desk. - 3/12/2010   10:28:26 AM
  • JESAK327
    My first grade class needs lots of movement breaks so I lead them in squats, jumping jacks, push ups, ... It keeps us all moving and hopefully will make healthier kids too! - 3/11/2010   5:31:20 PM
  • 77
    My way is'nt sneaky,cause my job consist of lots of walking,but in the morning when i'm getting ready for work,l turn the stereo up,and dance while l'm making breakfast,and also when l'm cooking in the evening.There's always great music playing on the stations. - 3/11/2010   5:19:41 PM
  • COOPIE1212
    I do this all the time...squats every morning when I blow dry my hair, seated leg lifts while I am at my desk, calf raises when I am on a confernce call...all kinds of exercises while I am watching tv. I know it all adds up and makes a difference. It also makes me feel better...consistently. - 3/11/2010   12:34:27 PM
  • 75
    I need to sneak in more exercise, especially because I have so many friends that love to go out and eat (trying to find more friends that love to walk outdoors with me!!!) - 3/11/2010   11:47:20 AM
  • 74
    ALWAYS keeping ME moving!!
    LOVE exercise!! - 3/11/2010   11:41:26 AM
  • 73
    I agree that it does all add up. I just got home from walking over to Wal*Mart. It's a 1/2 mile round trip from my house. I take extra walks when I can as I know that helps. I also put on music and dance around the house. This the extra stuff I do on top of my regular workout routine. - 3/11/2010   10:58:43 AM
  • 72
    Absolutely! I've increased by climbing stairs, go the distance every chance I may get at work and keep moving! Great article. - 3/11/2010   10:39:45 AM
    I use my kids to sneak in a workout - I lift my 17month old in the air to get in some arm exercises, I run with my 3 year old and while my kids brush their teeth I do squats. - 3/11/2010   10:03:32 AM
  • 70
    I found I was sitting at my computer way too much doing Spark, reading,posting, being involved with my teams, now I limit my time, and just do 15 minutes at a time, then up and in motion, versus hours sitting..has made a huge difference! - 3/11/2010   8:10:19 AM
  • 69
    I march in place at the copy machine, the fax machine and while my food is warming in the microwave - sometimes I walk up and down the hall to finish off my lunch break - anything to help put the steps on my pedometer and get a little exercise in! - 3/11/2010   8:09:47 AM
    i want a pedometer! - 3/11/2010   6:09:47 AM
    thanks for this it was great timing for me. Sun had come out and there was a teeny bit of warmth in the air so I opted for walking to and from my meetings. Usually I would take the bus and read. I wouldn't have thought of walking if you hadn't prompted me. I felt so full of energy and alive after my walk in the sun. - 3/11/2010   5:45:32 AM
  • LAUR1E
    I schedule walking upstairs into my day at work with a couple of colleagues. Out of 9 floors, I can now comfortably make it to the 7th floor. We do this every one and a half - two hours. - 3/11/2010   5:35:51 AM
  • 65
    I do wall push-ups waiting for the elevator. While my pup visits with friends, I do stand-up push-ups against a tree , and I step up on park benches and down. When I walk past the skating rink, I grapevine and dance to the music. When I come to a flat surface a foot off the ground, I jump up on it with two-feet . This needs mula bandha for sure.
    Sometimes I walk with hi knees just to add some aerobics without jogging. - 3/10/2010   11:50:03 PM
  • 64
    Definitely. I think I have commented before on all the things I do. It started out as a way to increase the likelihood of getting 10,000 steps a day. Now it's just a habit. Among the weirder things I now do: pacing the subway platform while waiting for a train (Nobody else I can see does this); pacing while waiting for traffic lights to change; pacing hallways at work while waiting for my lunch to heat in the microwave; and if all else fails, doing balance exercises when forced to stand still. I'm sure somebody thinks this is weird. - 3/10/2010   10:37:19 PM

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