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Easy Ways to Exercise at Home or Work

Can fitting extra movement into your day really help you get fit?

Pumping Kitty Litter Instead of Iron?

It may be a bit more challenging to work full-body strength training activities into your daily routine, says Carpenter.

"You are going to improve the strength of your lower body by taking the stairs compared with walking on level land," she says. But "there are not a lot of daily activities that involve upper body besides carrying the groceries and picking up kids."

Indeed, moms have no excuse not to strength train, Coopersmith says. "When you pick up your kid, you can use it as an opportunity to do a squat," she says. "Pick up your kid by bending down at your legs and then driving up from your knees and hips."

Stuhr agrees: "We always say that babies are the perfect progression in a strength training program because as they get heavier, you get stronger."

But even if you don't have children or groceries to lift, you can fit in some easy strength-training exercises by lifting everyday items at home.

"Whether it's your cat's litter or a huge thing of laundry detergent, try to fire off 10-12 bicep curls," Coopersmith suggests. "Pause. Recover and do it three times, and get some strength training."

You can even sneak in some strength training at work, says Carpenter. "You can do push-ups against the photocopy machine while you are waiting for your documents, or wear a headset instead of holding the phone so you can use dumbbells while at your desk," she says.

And don't forget your flexibility exercises, says Carpenter: "You can do neck rolls, shoulder rolls, and stretch your quadriceps or hamstrings while standing at your desk."

Do You Need a More Formal Exercise Plan?

Even with an active lifestyle, you may need to supplement your everyday activity with a gym membership or another more formal exercise plan, depending on your goals, Stuhr says.

"There are a variety of health benefits that come out of being more physically active," Stuhr says. "But it you need to lose a significant amount of weight, improve your stamina, or achieve a higher degree of cardiovascular protection then you may need higher intensity exercise."

"The best of both worlds is to have a structured exercise program supplemented by active lifestyle," says Carpenter.

Reviewed on October 29, 2007

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