Exercise always conjures up images of tedious and boring sets and repetitions. Even if the fitness requirement is only a scant thirty minutes a day, it can be difficult to stick to a regular walking or jogging regimen, especially when you’re trying to meet deadlines or running late for your child’s soccer game.

However, short bursts of activity can count as exercise. When integrated into the performance of your daily activities, small movements that leave you a little out of breath and a little sweaty count toward your required 30 minutes of daily exercise. By making exercise a part of your routine, you can still keep the weight off and stay fit and healthy even without going to the gym or getting up early in the morning for an early aerobic dance workout. How do you do this?

If you’re trying to outrun everyone on your climb up the corporate ladder but have put your health in jeopardy with your largely sedentary lifestyle, try walking or biking at least part of the way to the office. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. If your office is on the 10th floor, get off the 7th floor and use the stairs the rest of the way. If you need to talk to someone on another floor or in another room on the same floor, use your legs to get there instead of relying solely on the phone. In phone conversations, stand up and stretch. Finally, you can also use your lunch hour to take a walk in a nearby park or do some laps in a nearby pool.

If you’re a full-time mom, you can incorporate physical activity into your routine by walking your kids to and from school—if it’s within walking distance of course. You can also take your children to the park and play with them there. Thirty minutes of running after your energetic toddler, even around the house, is enough to meet your exercise requirement for the day! For new parents, you can always enjoy a morning walk around the neighborhood with your newborn. Just make sure your baby is wrapped in protective clothing and securely strapped to the stroller during your morning brisk walks. The walk will be beneficial for you and will allow the baby to get his daily dose of essential vitamin D.

For senior citizens and retirees, you can still meet your daily exercise requirements by doing chores around the house. Hand mow, cook, vacuum, clean furniture and trim overgrown hedges. Try to push, bend or carry whenever you can. Doing chores that require you to move different muscle groups will improve flexibility, improve balance and muscle coordination, and increase bone and muscle mass so you remain independent, mobile, and self-sufficient. You can also join community activities in your area.

By cleverly incorporating these activities into your lifestyle, you can still meet your daily exercise requirement without spending too much on a gym membership or finding time dedicated solely to exercise. It is simply a matter of habit.

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