It's possible to stay fit and active at home, at work or even while travelling. Here's how you can do it.

A daily dose of exercise or physical activity is no more a luxury or for a select few. It is for the general population at large - whether one is young or old, man or woman; it is one of those choices you make if you wants to be healthy, energetic, productive and fit.

To move on from the usual mundane overdone excuses of lack of time, motivation or resources it's a “no excuse” time. Ultimately whom are we fooling but ourselves? To be physically active is possible whether at home, at work or at play. Let's explore various possibilities that are actually doable.

At Home: It's convenient, comfortable and safe to work out at home. You set a good example for your children as well. Combine exercise with other activities like watching TV.  If you buy exercise equipment, it's a one-time expense and other family members can use it.  It's easy to have short bouts of activity several times a day.

Try these tips

Do housework yourself instead of hiring someone else.    

Work in the garden or mow the grass. A riding mower doesn't count!  Rake leaves, prune, dig and pick up trash.    

Go for a short walk before breakfast, after dinner or both!  Start with 5-10 minutes and work up to 30 minutes.    

Walk or bike to the corner store instead of driving.    

When walking, pick up the pace from leisurely to brisk. 

When watching TV, spend a few minutes pedalling on your stationary bicycle. Throw away your video remote control.

Instead of asking someone to get you a drink, get off the couch and get it yourself.    

Stand up or walk while talking on the telephone.    

Walk the dog.

Keep exercise equipment in good repair and use it! Your precious treadmill is not meant to dry your clothes.

Park farther away at the mall and walk the extra distance.  Wear your walking shoes and sneak in an extra lap or two around the mall.

Stretch to reach items in high places and squat or bend to look at items at floor level.    

At the office: Most of us have sedentary jobs. Work takes up a significant part of the day. What can you do to increase your physical activity during the work day? Here are a few ideas

Brainstorm project ideas with a co-worker while taking a walk.    

Stand while talking on the telephone.   

Walk down the hall to speak with someone rather than using the telephone. 

Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or get off a few floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way.    

Walk while waiting for the plane at the airport.    

Use the fitness centre or swimming pool at your hotel during the business trips.    

Take along a jump rope in your suitcase. Jump and do calisthenics in your hotel room.    

Participate in or start a recreation league at your company.    

Form a sports team to raise money for charity events.    

Join a fitness centre near your office. Work out before or after work to avoid rush-hour traffic or drop by for a noon workout.    

Schedule exercise time on your business calendar and treat it like any other important appointment.

Get off the bus a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way to work or home.    

Walk around your building for a break during the day or during lunch.

At play: Play and recreation are important for good health. Look for opportunities to be active and have fun at the same time.

Plan family outings and vacations that include physical activity (cycling, hiking, backpacking, swimming)    

See the sights in new cities by walking, jogging or bicycling.    

Make a regular date with a friend to enjoy your favourite physical activities. An exercise buddy keeps you motivated and also makes you answerable.  

Play your favourite music while exercising.   

Take dancing lessons. Hit the dance floor on fast numbers instead of slow ones.

At the beach, walk, run or fly a kite.    

When golfing, walk instead of using a cart.    

Play singles tennis or racquetball instead of doubles.    

At a picnic, join in on a game of volleyball.  

At the lake, rent a rowboat instead of a motorboat.

Travel Tips: Always keep your walking shoes and swim wear handy as most hotels have a gym/pool. If not, explore the city on foot, you see so much more

When you have nothing on hand, you have the suryanamaskar. Learn the right way from a yoga teacher. Just 12 suryanamaskars gives you a good workout.

If you can pack a theraband, you can finish a good strength circuit on your own. Use the water bottles as resistance as well.

Push-ups, squats and crunches do not require gadgets.

With all these options open one is spoilt for choice and of course all your escape routes sealed! Enjoy being healthy and alive! Cheers to a great life!

Nina Reddy is director, O2 Health Studio, Chennai.

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