What’s the most common reason people don’t exercise? Most people say they just don’t have the time, and that’s understandable. We’re a busy society…busier than ever before. Between working longer hours and taking care of more extracurricular obligations, it’s a lot more tempting to relax on your couch at the end of the day than to hit the gym.

Thankfully, there are simple things you can do, no matter how busy you are, to start improving your fitness. Start by following these 7 easy lifestyle changes.

  1. Park at the rear of the lot—Whether you’re going to work, the grocery store, the mall, or anywhere else with a parking lot, you should try parking far away. By parking at the rear of the lot, you force yourself to walk a little bit further each time you go somewhere. This really can help to make a difference over a long period of time, especially if you’re someone who used to always park in the closest available spot. By the way, make sure you actually walk at a brisk pace, as taking a slow stroll won’t really do much to improve your fitness.
  2. Carry your grocery bags out to the car—Do you handle the grocery shopping in your family? If you’re like most people, you push your groceries out to your car in the little cart. Sometimes, you have so many bags that this is the only viable option. However, if you only have a few bags that you can manage to carry by hand, ditch the cart and lug them out to your car by hand. This is like a mini-workout, and if you followed the first step by parking at the rear of the lot, it can help you burn some extra calories.
  3. Take the stairs—Elevators have made us a lazy bunch. Sure, you might feel some burning in your legs when you take the stairs, but that’s a good thing. That burn shows your muscles are being worked out, and if you take the stairs on a regular basis, you’ll start to build those muscles up, burn fat, and get more toned. Plus, taking the stairs is usually faster than waiting for an elevator anyway, and you don’t have to cram in that small box with a bunch of other people either. Taking the stairs is a no-brainer when you think about it.
  4. Walk faster—Whether you’re walking to the bathroom or you’re going outside to check the mail, try walking with a sense of urgency. Walk faster and take longer strides, and you’ll actually start to get your heart rate up and your muscles working. You may not even have to walk more than usual. Just switching to a faster walk in your daily activities could make a big difference in your fitness level. Just make sure you watch where you’re going, speedy!
  5. Walk your dog daily—If you have a dog, you need to remember that he (or she) needs exercise too. Walking your dog each day ensures that both of you get the exercise needed to stay healthy and fit. Depending on the size and energy level of your dog, your walks could last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. If you’re unsure of how long you should walk your dog, your vet should be able to offer a recommendation. Remember, an exercised dog is a happy dog, and an owner who walks his dog is a fit and happy owner. Everyone benefits. Sounds like a win-win!
  6. Exercise during commercial breaks—Chances are, you watch at least a little bit of TV every day. Even if you only watch for 30 minutes or so each day, you can use that time to get in better shape. Try exercising during the commercial breaks. You can do some pushups, sit-ups, leg lifts, calf raises, or other simple exercises during each of those 2-minute breaks. To get the most from this, make sure you work out throughout the entire commercial break, without stopping.
  7. Do some yard work—You probably have some things you can do around your house and yard to clean the place up. Maybe you need to sweep some leaves off the yard, or maybe you could do some mowing and weed-eating. All of these tasks provide opportunities for you to burn calories. Do your yard work with gusto and a sense of urgency, and you’ll enjoy a nice little workout.

What are some other simple lifestyle changes you can make to get in better shape? Share your best tips by leaving a comment.

John Smith manages the nursing scrubs website NursingUniforms.net, the one-stop online shop for branded lab coats, scrub tops, and all kinds of medical uniforms.