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Everyday Ways to Activate Your Life

Moderately intense activities are good for your health. These are activities that make you feel some exertion but are mild enough that you can comfortably carry on a conversation while doing them. Examples include walking briskly from your parked car to the mall entrance and taking your dog for a quick jog after dinner.

This level of exercise won't help you train for a sport, but it can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall fitness level. Moderate exercise can also help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, put you in a better mood, and improve your balance, coordination, and agility.

You have dozens of opportunities each day to increase your activity. Here are a handful of suggestions to get you started.

Move while you talk

Pace when you're talking on the phone instead of staying put. Although this won't burn a lot of calories, getting out of your chair throughout the day can help improve your circulation.

Carry that note

Deliver memos in person instead of having your assistant do it, sending them via interoffice mail, or faxing them. Consider these excursions exercise breaks.

Shop for exercise

Go window shopping or browsing in your spare time. Shopping is the ultimate easy walking workout. Wear athletic socks and walking shoes.

Paint your house

You'll burn an average of 300 calories an hour and get a good upper body workout.

Clean your house

If you do this vigorously, you can burn about 420 calories an hour. All of these apply: cleaning floors, vacuuming carpets, washing windows, and scrubbing tile.

Care for the lawn

Do your own yard work and gardening. Hoeing burns about 360 calories an hour, the same as playing badminton. Cutting your lawn with a push mower burns about 420 calories an hour, on par with playing tennis. Trimming trees burns about 500 calories an hour, equivalent to swimming the crawl.

Exercise for lunch

Turn lunchtime into an exercise adventure. Don't eat at the company cafeteria or the same old place. Instead, discover new restaurants within walking distance from your workplace.

Carry, don't push

Carry a basket instead of pushing a cart if you're getting just a few things at the supermarket. Consider it a free weight that keeps getting heavier. But switch the basket from hand to hand periodically to balance the effect on your upper-arm and shoulder muscles.

Walk, walk, walk

Park your car in the garage and leave it there if you're going anywhere less than a mile away. Taking the hilliest route possible when you're walking will burn extra calories.

Rise to the challenge

Sign up for a corporate fitness challenge. Whether you walk or run, you'll have fun and feel a sense of accomplishment that can spur you to stay in shape long after the race is over.

Stay active

Limit sedentary activities during your leisure time. For example, turn off the television several  nights a week. Without TV programs to distract you, you'll move around more than you would otherwise.

Make exercise a hobby

There's nothing like getting involved in an activity to take the chore out of exercise. Whether it's salsa lessons or learning to play golf, you'll be working out without even knowing it. Dancing can burn as many calories as walking, swimming, or riding a bike. One study found square dancers covered nearly five miles in one evening.

Use the stairs

Each flight of stairs you climb burns 10 calories. That doesn't sound like much, but taking 10 flights a day for a year can result in a 10 pound weight loss.

Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health. So invest in yourself and start moving today!