exercising woman

After a long day, it’s easy to feel lazy. You may not feel like moving or doing anything. But if you are regularly inactive, you are increasing your risk for gaining unwanted weight. In fact, a new study suggests that the rate of inactive Americans has increased greatly, and this can be a huge factor in obesity.

Inactivity may even be worse than making poor dietary choices. Researchers out of Stanford University looked at national survey results of people’s health habits — including diet and exercise — from 1988 to 2010. They were surprised to see that there was a steady increase of people who participated in no leisurely physical activity. In 1988, 19 percent of women were inactive. By 2010, that number had jumped to 52 percent. For men, the rate went from 11 to 43 percent over the same time period. However, calories that people consumed didn’t change. They continued to eat the same, but exercised less.

Does this sound like you? If so, you’re obviously not alone. People are busy and many times fitness or physical activity isn’t a priority. So how can you keep those unwanted pounds off? Here are a few creative ideas for how to stay healthy and active, even though you may not have the time or desire.

#1: Bike or walk to work.

Do you live close enough to bike or walk to work? If so, give either a try. Just allow a little bit of extra time in the morning to get there.

#2: Dance, dance, dance.

Dancing can burn some serious calories, and not to mention, it can be serious fun! Check out classes in your area, even at local community centers or park and recreation centers. There are different styles of dance fitness classes offered nowadays that are fun and keep you moving. Grab a friend or two and make it a fun night out!

#3: Short bursts of activity are great.

Don’t have a solid 30-60 minutes to devote to a heavy workout before or after work? That’s okay. Try to add activity to some of your normal daily routines. For example, if you have to walk to the end of your block to get your mail, continue around your neighborhood for an extra 5-10 minutes before you go back home.

If you have to pick up a few things at the corner store, ride your bike rather than drive. If that means installing a basket on your handlebars, do so to give you a good reason to get a little exercise and some fresh air!

Don’t let inactivity be the reason you’re gaining weight. Eat well, be active, and live a healthy, happy lifestyle!

Also read: Exercise Has Positive Relationship to Mental State

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