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6 Ways to Sneak Cardio into Your Day

Although you may have planned on getting a cardio workout in before the end of the day, sometimes things just don't work out in your favor. Maybe you got stuck in traffic, or maybe you just didn't have the energy. We all know the drill. But instead of feeling guilty that you missed a workout, don't stress. There are plenty of ways you can sneak a bit of cardio into your day - and by doing so, you can burn calories and help shed a few pounds in the long run.

Take the stairs

Those four flights of stairs may not look too appealing, but if you climb those instead of getting in the elevator, you'll be burning more calories and boosting your metabolism. Going up those flights of stairs will get easier over time. For an extra boost, take it slow and think about your movements. Envision and focus on feeling the contraction of your glutes and leg muscles with each step you take. Taking it slower is also safer and can help you avoid slips, trips or falls!

Clean

Is your house dirty? Try killing two birds with one stone and get in a quick cardio session while tidying up your space. Washing and/or waxing your car can burn about 150 calories per hour for a 160-lb woman, while vacuuming or sweeping floors can torch 1 ½ times that amount. Washing dishes, doing laundry, dusting and taking out the garbage can also add up to a cardio workout. Just up the effort a bit by putting in a little more elbow grease.

Commercial break workout

You no longer have to choose between working out and watching your favorite TV show. During commercials, do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and crunches for a quick workout without missing a beat on your show's drama. No need to wait for the commercials—you can look straight forward and do squats and dumbbell curls while watching your show.

Shopping

Have some errands to run? Hitting the shops is actually a form of cardio. In fact, a two-hour shopping expedition can burn almost 300 calories. Just try to keep moving. And be sure not to defeat your efforts by grabbing some of the high calorie foods that are usually found in the mall food court. If you want a treat, enjoy a small nonfat latté which only counts as 1 milk exchange.

Skip the car

If you're close enough, consider walking or biking when you can, whether you're headed to work, the grocery store or to a friend's house. When you’re out running errands with multiple stores to hit, park at one end and walk from there to the others. There’s no need to jump into the car for a two-minute drive.

Game night

Did you know that technology can help us get fit? The trend is called exergaming, short for exercise games. It's opening the world of video games up to a larger audience, young and old. With activities like Kung Fu, boxing, biking, and dance software, the goal of many of today's popular video games is to get you off the couch and on the way to a workout. Turn exercise into a party by inviting friends over to play exergames with you. It will get everyone moving and make for a fun, calorie-torching evening.

Although these are great tips, they should not always replace your exercise regimen. Intentional exercise is still the best for weight loss and decreasing your risk for some health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

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