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Of course, structured exercise – a session at the gym, a five-kilometre run, half an hour of laps at the pool – is incredibly important for improving or maintaining fitness levels, but there are cheats you can use to get more movement into your day. Don’t believe us? Here are six things you can do to burn a few extra calories throughout the week without even trying.


Pack your shoes

If you haven’t yet got the memo, walking is good for you. Particularly if you have a job where you spend most of your day at a desk, consider either walking part of the way to work or some of the way home (just pop your office shoes in your bag). Got time? Do both. It has the added bonus of getting you outside too, pumping up those vitamin D levels. If you need extra motivation, get a pedometer and challenge friends to increase their steps each day.


Put your back into it

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t look forward to doing the housework or tending the garden. But think of it as a challenge – scrub, mop, vacuum and mow as hard as you can as fast as you can and you’ll have your heart rate soaring. Take a 30-second break if you’re really sucking in the air then get going again. It’s like a HIIT workout but with the added bonus of a sparkling home at the end.


Take the stairs

Always. (This is another good reason to wear runners, whether the real deal or simply fashionable ones, wherever you go.)


Change the way you sit

If you’re in a regular desk chair all day, consider investing in (or asking your boss to invest in) an adjustable standing desk and/or a fit ball. Both will help with your posture, while standing burns a lot more calories than sitting. Which is also worth remembering if you have a long commute on a train or bus.


Leave the car behind

If you find yourself grabbing the keys each time you go to the shop, head to the train station or pick the kids up from school vary your routine. Consider walking at least some of the time. If you’ve got a couple of bags of groceries on the way back, you’ll be adding even more benefit.


Don’t be a couch potato

Watching TV is a lovely, mindless way to wind down at the end of the day. But rather than just slump, use the ad breaks to cram in a few exercises. Chuck a yoga mat on the floor and do squats, sit-ups, push-ups, lunges or whatever on-the-spot exercises you can think of before your program starts again. There’s about 15 minutes of “non-program matter” per hour on Australian commercial channels after 6pm each night, so you’ll get quite a bit done if you chance upon back-to-back episodes of Law & Order: SVU.

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