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13 Unexpected Ways to Fit Cardio Into Your Routine

By Emily Shoemaker
8/8/2013 9:23:33 AM

Exercise is a key contributor to health and happiness: Beyond triggering that runner's high, it's associated with a higher quality of life, improved health, and a better mood. But missing a few gym sessions doesn't mean staying active has to fall by the wayside.

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Sneaking cardio into daily life can save time and improve fitness, sometimes on par with the benefits of a scheduled sweat session. And more time getting moving in our daily lives means less time sitting, which can lower the risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and early death. While intense exercise is good for us, it doesn't completely erase the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, so making an effort to get moving throughout the day can have some serious long-term benefits.

So how much cardio is enough, and what are some ways to fit it in? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise, plus two days per week of strength training.

If it's 30 continuous minutes of activity or three 10-minute sessions, we've got 13 simple ways to get more active for even the busiest person, whether at home, work, or play.

(Keep in mind calories burned varies depending on age, build, gender, and weight.)

At the Office

1. Be a stair master: But consider taking them one at a time, not two. Researchers found that while the rate of caloric expenditure is higher when taking two at a time, the burn over an entire flight is more when taking one at a time. In one study, participants climbed a 15-meter stairway five times a day with an average of 302 calories burned per week using one step and 266 calories per week using the double step [6].

2. Walk and talk: Make like the West Wing and hold walking meetings. While moderate walking uses almost two-and-a-half times the energy of sitting in a meeting, mobile meetings can also strengthen work relationships, improve health, and boost creativity.

3. Please stand up: Think of your ring tone as an alarm to get up out of the chair. Throw in a few bodyweight exercises before sitting back down (and check out this list for some great ideas).

4. Hydrate often: Getting lots of H2O means more trips to the bathroom (drinking water might also help ramp up metabolism). Pick a bathroom on a different floor, and visit it often.

For more tips to use at home, continue reading.

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