Think you don't have time for exercise? Can't afford a gym? That's okay...we have solutions for you!

This post is written by Matt Stapleton, a clinic director for ATI Physical Therapy.

What does the word ‘exercise’ truly mean to you?  

I pose this question because I feel that there is a disparity between the mind and the body’s perception of exercise.  I realized very early on that my goal in life is to get people motivated to be active and as healthy as they possibly can be to ward off preventable illnesses.

Over my career, I found that people have trouble finding time to ‘exercise,’ as they simply can’t fit it into their schedules.  They tell me “By the time they get home and have dinner, it’s too late to go to the gym and workout,” or “My lunch break is too short to use the elliptical at work,” or “I need to watch my kids on the days/nights I have off, and I can’t use my treadmill.”  Sound familiar? 

The explanations above all relate exercise to a certain activity, facility, or piece of equipment.  I am here to debunk the theory that calories can only be burned on an elliptical and muscles can only get stronger with dumbbells!  The body doesn’t know the difference between pull downs performed in a gym and using your arms to pull yourself up a ladder.  I want to find ways to incorporate ‘exercise’ into routine daily activities in the hopes that more people can be active.  I have listed a few ideas that I have recommended to patients in the past, but I hope that this posting will grow to allow for many more!  Always remember that any activity can be an exercise, it just may need to be tweaked a little…

1. Use your body to get to work:  walk, run, bike, rollerblade, etc. 

2. Be afraid of elevators and escalators:  only use the stairs

3. Park in spots that are really far away from your destination:  you will always find a spot.

4. Don’t be as efficient with house cleaning and yard work:  you may need to use the stairs more often, but that’s a good thing.

5. Add little bouts of exercise after a certain number of emails, over TV commercials, etc.: our environment is usually very repetitious in nature, leaving opportunities for you to add exercise (and water!)

6. If you need to let the dog out before you go to work or bed, take them for a short jog; it’s amazing how a little exercise can get this moving!

7. Lunge down long hallways

8. Wall sit while waiting for the bus

9. Hold your squat position while weeding; it’s great for your posture and will definitely improve your leg strength

10. Save some money and do your own lawn mowing and landscaping

What ways do you incorporate ‘exercise’ into your life?