Your life can be what you make it to be.
Regardless of your age….
Regardless of your sex, or race…
Regardless of whether you have had children or not…
Regardless of previous injuries or trauma…
Regardless of whether you like exercise or not, whether you have time for it or not…
You have the power to change your life.
You can change your lifestyle into a healthier one.
No worries though…You don’t need to start hitting the gym 4-5 times a week to have a healthier lifestyle. You don’t need to change your schedule to fit exercise.
- You don’t need to stress about your schedule thinking that you really don’t want to change any of the things you currently do to insert exercise in your life.
- You don’t need to start waking up earlier;
- You don’t need to spend your lunch breaks exercising;
- You don’t need to miss your favorite show at night because you are on the treadmill;
- You don’t need to change your diet;
- And ultimately… you don’t need to risk letting down yourself, your friends and family, or doctor because you started an exercise or diet program but then quit;
Most people would gladly do some kind of physical activity, if only this physical activity is not done solely for the purpose of exercise.
E.g., several people would love to play basketball with their friends; they would love to hike to see the beautiful on top; they would walk if they needed to walk, but they would never, ever do any kind of physical activity just to exercise.
So 1-hour on the treadmill, 1 hour in the weight room, 45 min of yoga, 40 min of TRX training, or 30 min of pilates, are just not for them.
So how can you do it?
How can I lose weight without exercise?
The answer is simple: with Life-style hacking! You got to examine your life, and see whether you can do some…improvements.
First let’s get this straight. You don’t necessarily have to “exercise” to improve your health. Think of something that you enjoy doing for fun. Say you like, walking, gardening, water skiing, or even play on an adult softball team. You probably think of it more as a hobby, rather than exercise, because you like to do it.
If you think of it that way, you’re more likely to get out and do it – and you might do it longer than if you just went out for ‘exercise.’ A study conducted by Ham et al. found that adults participating in recreational activities were likely to do that specific activity for a minimum of 30 minutes, and up to 3 hours per session. In comparison, average exercisers finished their workouts in 60 minutes or less. You’re likely to stay active longer (possibly 3 times longer!) if you’re doing something for fun, rather than just exercising for the sake of exercising.
To get you started, I have 24 juicy life-hacks for you!
[Read this if you are a geek:
To demonstrate the benefits of several of the following fitness tips, I am using calories and weight loss. I am only doing this because calorie is an easy metric to use, and not because I want to spread the message that being thin is all that matters. After all, you can be both overweight and healthier than a thin person.
For example, instead of using calories and weight loss benefits, I could talk about you getting more energy. However, this is not easily quantifiable. How can we measure energy levels? It’s hard to do. This is an easily solved problem with calories, and that’s why I am using them.]
How do you burn calories without exercise?
You actually burn calories just for your body to function. When you are breathing, digesting food, maintaining temperature, etc., you are burning calories. This is called your resting metabolic rate. What’s great about this, is that your body burns more calories to maintain muscle. So, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn! And you get get some muscle mass with these life-hacks!
The 24 life-hacks that will make you healthier & thinner without actually exercising.
Instead of playing regular video games, rotting on the couch for hours, try getting a Kinect. Whether you play tennis, balance yourself on boat river, or fight the evil guys in Star Wars, you will be getting a workout without actually working out. How awesome is that?
Exercise-hack #2. Go for a walk when stressed
Tons of people just visit the fridge when they are stressed. What if instead of paying a visit to your fridge, you went for a short walk around your neighborhood?
Listen, eating when stressed is bad habit, as you are not really hungry when you do it, not to mention that what you eat when stressed may not be of the highest nutritional value…(e.g., candies!).
You can change that. Think about the reward you feel with eating. Is it that you got a break from a stressful situation? If you just needed a break, then going for a short walk may give you the exact same reward…without the extra calories.
Let’s assume that you get stressed twice a week. In those moments you opt for a 15 min walk instead of eating a 200 calorie snack. Assuming you burn 6 calories a minute, you will be burning 9,360 calories a year. This is equal to 2.7 pounds a year.
Now here is what you get with your current habit of eating a 200 calorie snack, twice a week: You get a total of 20,800 calories a year, which is equal to 6 pounds! Thus, if you keep going with that pace, you will be 60 pounds fatter in 10 years!
However, if you switch to taking a short walk instead of gaining 60 pounds, you will be losing 27 pounds in 10 years.
That is a total difference of 87 pounds!!!
I know your posture is terrible when in the office (I am no different than you, mine is terrible too)! This makes you feel stiff after a while…You get up to go to the bathroom and feel your back being all wrong. Your colleagues tell you that your bad posture shows lower self-esteem. You are worried that the image of low self-esteem that you project will cost you the deal you are so hardly working on.
You try to walk straighter, you try to straighten your back, but it doesn’t work, damn it! You manage to straighten your back for like 1 min, but it is so hard to keep it this way. You just go back to your unfortunately-so-familiar hunchback.
Sooner or later you find yourself with back pain.
But wait, I have news! You can keep your posture straight at the office. Yes, you can do that, and it will last longer than 1 min. I have actually posted a video with a few 1 min exercises to do (they stretch and work your muscles at the same time, so that your back will remain straight for a longer period of time than 1 min!).
I know I said I would give you tips that don’t require exercise. But hey, exercising your back for 1 min when at the office is not really exercise…You don’t really need to schedule it. You don’t need workout clothes, athletic shoes, or a yoga mat. You can just do it, and instantly improve your life.
Don’t want to do it? I got one more idea for you…
Take two quick breaks an hour: Go to the kitchen for water; Walk to the bathroom; Go to your colleagues office and say hi. A European Heart Journal study of 5,000 men and women found that the quarter who took the most breaks during the day were 1.6 inches thinner than the quarter who took the least.
4. Climb a tree
You do go to the park once in a while. Why not have some fun with it? Once upon a time, when you were little, you loved climbing trees. Why not do it again?
If you have kids you could do it together and enjoy quality family moments along with some physical activity. Who can climb up faster?
Sorry, but I am betting on your kids. 🙂
5. Go on fitness-oriented holidays
Most people’s definition of vacation is chilling in a hotel next to a beach. Well, you don’t need to lie down at the beach all day. Hotels usually have tons of activities you can participate in. And guess what? All these activities make you move!
Examples: snorkeling, water-skiing, aqua dancing!
6. Compete with each other
You are watching TV. Commercial breaks are on. Why not use this time constructively?
Pick a skill, and compete with each other. E.g., you could choose Michael Jackson’s famous moonwalk. Who can do it better? Practice time is on!
Other options: hula hoop competitions, jump rope competitions, belly-dance competitions (this one will be so fun!).
When was the last time you played? I am seriously asking you, and I am expecting an answer.
My favorite game? Playing tag!
Ever played tag with a kid? It’s exhausting!
Play some tag, and see for yourselves how long you can last.
8. Volunteer for a cause
Volunteering can both help the world, while helping you keep your shape.
E.g., Habitat for Humanity will have you paint houses, fix roofs, or do other housework.
You will be burning calories and building muscle while simultaneously helping disaster victims.
Sounds like a Catch 22 to me.
9. Clean the house
If you ever try to avoid housework, then I want you to re-think your choices.
Realize that housework is a great calorie burner. And it can make you stronger.
When I was a first year student, and actually needed to clean my own house, I was being very meticulous. I would clean the floor 2-3 times a week, cleaning it twice each time (yes, I was a perfectionist).
After about 4 months of living alone, I realized that both my arms were stronger, with much more defined triceps. My right arm was actually slightly bigger than my left one.
I asked myself why? But of course! It was all this mopping the floor with my dominant arm (i.e., the right one) that made that happen! I never thought that mopping floor would actually act as exercise!
But it’s true!
Apart from strengthening your muscles, you will also burn calories: An average person should burn 4 calories a minute for easy cleaning (e.g., dusting). That is a total of 80 calories for 20 minutes of cleaning (which is equivalent to 12 raw almonds).
Assuming that you devote 1 hour to house-cleaning every week, you get a total of 12,480 calories a year! That is 3.5 pounds a year for keeping a clean house!
Thus, if you get in the habit of cleaning your house, then in 10 years you will have lost 35 pounds…
And you will enjoy a spotless house!
And that’s for easy cleaning. What if you strive harder? Like when you wash your car?
10. Wash your car
Once you read this tip you will never take your car to a car wash shop ever again (I am sorry car wash owners; You have to understand my job is to improve people’s lives, and if that has to harm your business…then I may need to do it. It’s for the greater good).
An average person will burn 6 calories a minute washing their car.
Assuming that you spend 30 min every week keeping your car super clean…you will be burning 180 calories a week.
That is 9,360 calories a year, which equals to 2.7 pounds a year.
Thus, if you do get in the habit of washing your car yourself, in 10 years you will have lost 27 pounds!!!
Or, you will be able to maintain the same weight, but eat more food! E.g., instead of losing 2.7 pounds in one year, you could maintain a steady weight, and instead eat about 15 medium-sized milk chocolates! 😀
And you will have a shiny car…all-year-round.
11. Stretch when watching TV
Ok, so you had a bad posture all day at the office. Your colleagues perceive your weirdly shaped back as low self-esteem.
You come back home, and you keep having a this bad-bad posture.
Because you have a bad posture, your back starts to hurt.
Great, now you also have to deal with pain.
You sit on the couch trying to relax…with your bad posture accompanying you.
Why not fix the situation by doing a few stretches?
Stretching will give you an instant jolt of energy and will help you straighten your back and get rid of this ugly back pain.
Oh, and don’t tell me stretching won’t help.
Are you sure? Have you tried it?
This excuse drives me nuts. Because you never really know how something actually feels, until you do it (or it happens to you).
Here is an example: Tons of smokers will tell you they understand the risks of lung cancer.
Now go to a hospital and find a lung cancer patient, who got it from smoking.
Ask them if they think they really understood the risk of lung cancer when they were smoking.
What do you think they will say? Do they think they really understood the risk? My bet is they will say they didn’t.
And neither does any of us. At least not until we get lung cancer (gulp!).
So now let’s go back to stretching.
Do you really think stretching won’t be of much help? You don’t know that until you try it!
12. Conquer your boredom when flying
Are you a frequent (or even an occasional) flyer? Are you looking for an activity to make your flights more enjoyable? You know, all this sitting and stiffness in the plane…
Not to mention the boredom that comes with a long flight! You have already read your book, you have watched a movie, and you have nothing else to do.
It seems as if both your body and mind are doomed to idleness for the rest of this flight!
You hate this zombie-like state.
You can actually entertain yourself for a while.
You could exercise…from your airplane seat.
Don’t worry you are not going to start sweating. But depending on how diligently you perform the exercises, you are sure to beat that rusty airplane feeling out of your body.
And you will give your mind some food for thought.
Ready to take your flights to the next level? Try these airplane exercises!
13. Pick up gardening
What’s healthier than eating a salad?
Eating a salad with garden-fresh vegetables!
What’s healthier than eating a salad with garden-fresh vegetables?
Eating a salad with garden-fresh vegetables, that you planted and grew yourself! This way you:
- Know exactly where your food is coming from.
- Get lots of exercise while growing your food.
- Use gardening as a way to take a break, forget about your troubles, and connect with nature.
Ok, let’s calculate the energy effects of gardening. Gardening is a strenuous activity. You may choose to grow vegetables and fruits, or even flowers, but regardless of your choices, you know you will be burning some serious calories.
Assuming that you burn 8 calories a min, and that you spend an average of 30 min every week (or else 2 hours every month)-> You burn 12,480 calories a year.
That equals to burning 3.5 pounds a year, or 35 pounds in 10 years!
This seems to me like a really good deal: nutrition, exercise, and peace of mind all in one!
[Don’t have a garden? You may be able to rent one! Check nearby to see if there is a community garden available close to your home.]
14. Get a ping-pong table, or a basket.
Need to get some fun? Tired of watching TV? Then trying something new that will make your blood to flow will get you pumped up!
Got extra space? Get a ping pong table!
Got a nice yard? Get a basket!
Either way, you will be enjoying yourself, while moving at the same time.
Scared you will get the table or the basket but will never use them?
Well, this is definitely a possibility. However, just by having them around you will be getting visual cues to go play! And if you do you will definitely elevate your health and fun levels!
Selling your car will force yourself use other means to get from one place to another.
- You will walk more.
- You will use your bike more.
- You may even start skating.
Even using public transit benefits your health (read tip #16 to learn why).
However, I understand that selling your car may not be possible. Are you sure though that you cannot use it less?
Suppose that you decide you will run two errands a week on foot, rather than taking the car (e.g., going to the post office, taking the kids to school, picking clothes from the dry-cleaning shop, etc).
Assuming that it takes you 10 min each way. That equals to 6 calories a min and to a total of 240 calories. That is 3.5 pounds a year, or 35 pounds in 10 years!
So what activities are you going to do on foot from now on?
16. Move to a transit-friendly city (or to Europe!)
Studies after studies show that the Europeans are less obese than the Americans. Why is that?
Is it because the Europeans like exercise more than Americans? I don’t think so.
Is it because the Europeans eat less than Americans? Hmm, even though a lot is said on the big portions that Americans are served, have you e.g., seen a regular Greek order? 10 small dishes of appetizers. You get full before your main dish arrives. I certainly doubt that the Europeans eat less than the Americans.
So why are Europeans slimmer than Americans?
The answer is simple: they walk more as they use their cars less, and public transit more. A regular European may walk 30 min a day just going from the public transit stop to work and back.
Well that is a total of 14 pounds a year. Or, 140 pounds in 10 years!
Seriously, just by living in a public transit city, you may actually live a much healthier life (read this for a full Americans vs. Europeans comparison). Yes, living healthier, may have nothing to do with your exercise habits, or nutrition choices. It may be as simple as the place that you choose to live in!
17. Get a dog
Buying a dog can be one of the healthiest choices you may make in your whole life.
- A dog is a man’s best friend and a great life companion.
- A dog will force you into inserting regular activity in your life!
Assuming you walk the dog twice a day, you will be moving about 30 min every day – just for the dog. Hey, that is the total recommended daily activity right? 30 min of daily moderate exercise? You can get there just by getting a dog!
Assuming that you burn 6 calories a minute, for 30 minutes a day, you will be burning 19 pounds a year!
Suppose that you dog lives 12 years. In those years you will have burnt 228 pounds.
228 pounds less just because you have a dog!
Isn’t that crazy? You’d better start eating more, or else you risk getting unhealthily skinny!
Studies have proven that wearing a pedometer makes people walk 27% more. They actually tend to walk at least 1 mile more a day. 1 mile takes about 15-20 min to complete, which equals to burning about 8 pounds every year.
You don’t need motivation. You don’t need to go to a gym. You only need to give $20 to get a pedometer and check it throughout the day. Even if you don’t have a particular walking goal, just by keeping track of how much you walk, you will be walking more.
I find this fact fascinating.
You literally, literally, have nothing more to do than wear a pedometer. The rest takes care of itself automatically.
You will be walking more without realizing it!
I love this hack! I think I will get one for me too!
19. Do home maintenance work yourself
Is your tap broken? Does your fence need fixing? Learn to do it yourself and get three major benefits:
- You will save money. Paying for services can be so, so expensive…
- You will exercise your brain. Acquiring new skills inevitably makes you smarter. Giving our brains variety tends to do that. [Don’t tell me you don’t want to be smarter. I won’t believe you.]
- You will exercise your body. Spend one day fixing the fence, and your arms will feel so sore afterwards!
Think that you don’t have time to do it yourself? You may opt for doing it yourself for small problems (like fixing the tap) rather than doing big projects (like fixing the fence) all by yourself.
Remember small steps matter.
20. Use a Power Plate machine
Power plate is the ultimate machine for exercise haters. You just stand there in weird poses, and your muscles get worked! You do this 3 times a week for 15 min each time and you do feel the difference in your muscles.
Actually you will be so sore after the first time you use it.
It may be costly, but if this is your only option to exercise, then I think it is worth the money in the long run.
A standing desk will save your back from pain from too much slouching on the chair.
If you want to decrease the chances of a acquiring a bad posture, a standing desk may actually be a good solution for you.
I personally would never trade my regular desk for anything, but yet again, I have never used a standing desk for more than 5 min, and the proponents of standing desks are very firm about the benefits they receive.
If you think you are sitting too long, and you don’t want to die from a heart attack (people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks), a standing desk is definitely worth considering!
Actually sitting on a regular office chair kills: According to a 2006 study, men and women who spent six hours or more per day of their leisure time sitting had an overall death rate that was about 20-40 percent higher than the men who sat for three hours or less.
However, sitting on a stability ball is quite different than sitting on a regular chair.
- Sitting on the ball requires good posture. Unlike your office chair, you can’t slouch backward or to the sides.
- Sitting on the ball activates the core muscles of the abdomen, back and hips. This activation helps with balance, which helps prevent falls and fall-related injuries.
If I were you, I would consider trying it 🙂
23. Wear a Weighted Vest
A weighted vest wraps around your torso giving you 20 pounds of weight or more to hold.
It’s great to get even more results from your regular exercise routine.
Oh, right, you are not an exerciser. Sorry, I forgot.
Well, you don’t need to exercise to wear a weighted vest.
You can wear it while you wash your car, or do your housecleaning.
Or, you may just agree with yourself to wear for 30 min a day, and just walk around wearing it.
The results will be that you will burn more calories, and build muscle, without actually exercising!
24. Dance when you go out
It’s Friday night, and you are about to hit the bar with your friends. Instead of going to a regular bar where you sit on your **s all night, why not go to a place where you can actually dance?
I know that you may not be a dancer. However, it is worth trying:
- It will make you smarter and reduce your dementia risk.
- It will help you bond with your friends.
- It will be fun!
- It will help you get over the fear of humiliation (hehehe).
- It will give a smile to your friends (they will laugh by looking at you – just kidding!)
- It will help you burn some calories.
Now, let’s get to the calorie part. Slow-dancing may burn 3-4 calories a min. Wild dancing (e.g., techno, break-dancing) may go up to 8 calories a minute. I guess other types of dancing (tango, ball-room, etc) are somewhere in between.
Thus, if you just stay on the dance-floor for 20 min you will burn between 60 and 160 calories.
Considering that a glass of wine is 100 calories, boom! You just burnt your drink by having fun for a while!
It’s good to know that you don’t have to exercise to live a healthier life, right?
There are actually at least 24 ways to make that happen!
24 life-hacks…and counting!
I know that 24 tips may seem like a lot.
I now want you to take a quick glance at them and commit to trying one of them.
Getting a pedometer is one of the simplest things you could do.
Moving to a transit-friendly city is probably more complicated 🙂
Still, picking one thing from this list and following through with it may be the difference between a long and healthy life, full of vitality or a…poor one, with lots of doctors, hospitals, pain, and disease!
Let me repeat that once again.
Doing 1 thing from this list may be the difference between a long & healthy life or a…poor one full of disease & doctors!
While recreational activities are great, exercise is still amazing.
Exercise is still so beneficial for you, even if you’re not in it for weight loss. You may not even be in it for the weight loss, you may just dislike it and avoid it. If you follow these life-hacks, you’re off to a great start. However, I have a solution for you if you still insist that you hate exercise. Heck, even people at 57 have changed their minds about exercise by following this method!
Exercise Bliss will get you started on the path to starting – and continuing – a healthy exercise habit. Sign up today for the Mini-Habit Week to give it a try!
We can do it: viZZZual.com; Kinect: Joystickdivision.com; House cleaning: emrank; Chocolate: Big C Harvey;Walk Dog: Magnus Brath; Pedometer: dpstyles; Standing desk: ramsey everydaypants; Dancing: TangOblivion
Ham SA, Kruger J, Tudor-Locke C.Participation by US adults in sports, exercise, and recreational physical activities. J Phys Act Health. 2009 Jan;6(1):6-14.