6 Free, Easy Ways To Get Fit By Stealth

You get out what you put in – so sneak these bonus mini-workouts into your everyday routine and feel the cheeky benefits

1. Imagine All Escalators And Elevators Are Death Traps

#FunFact: Climbing stairs burns more calories per minute than jogging. Granted, you’re unlikely to be ascending a set of stairs for more than 60 seconds at a time, but as stair-climbing counts as a “vigorous” exercise, it’s the kind of thing you do in short bursts anyway.

Say you weigh 140lb: swiftly ascend seven flights of stairs and you’ll burn around 83 calories. Times that by the number of times you ascend and descend the stairs in a day, week, month (descending stairs still burns calories, at around a third of the rate) and it’ll soon all add up.

It’s little wonder everyone from skiers to supermodels use stair-climbing to keep themselves in shape and slope-/catwalk-ready. All you have to do is imagine that the lift is a limb-mangling death trap waiting to happen. Knowing what your office is like, that’s probably not far off the truth.

Workers who take the stairs gain themselves an extra 15 minutes a day

And besides, in offices of four floors or less, it’s almost always quicker to take the stairs. Studies have shown that workers who take the stairs gain themselves an extra 15 minutes a day, plus they never find themselves stuck in a lift with Alan from HR, who is a weeeirdooo.

2. If You Must Take The Escalator, Sneak Some Calf Raises In

Calf raises are a great way to build strength and toning in your legs, and are particularly beneficial to runners.

Standing on the edge of the escalator step, with the balls of your feet on the step and heels hanging over the edge, slowly raise up onto your toes. Gently lower, and repeat.

You’ll be surprised how many of these you can sneak in in one escalator ride, particularly if you’re ascending something the size of the UK’s longest escalator – located in London’s Angel Underground station – which takes a patience-testing 1 minutes 14 seconds from bottom to top.

3. Clean Your (Frankly Shameful) House (For Once In Your Life)

Like us, you perhaps only properly clean your house when it’s so bad that you’ve started to fear a visit from environmental health/social services/the police. But consider this: a 2013 study found that a full spring clean of your house – dusting, scrubbing, cleaning windows, the works – can burn as many as 3,655 calories.

Which, amazingly, is more than an average runner burns off during a marathon.

A spring clean burns off more calories than a marathon

In terms of standalone cleaning activities, the big hitters, fitness-wise, are window cleaning (burns 204 calories an hour), cleaning cupboards (238cl per hour), and cleaning the bathroom (258cl per hour).

You’ll be svelte and buff, and your house will be like a house off the telly – win/win!

4. Challenge A Child To A Game Of Tag/Tic

If you weight 150lbs or more, playing tag/tic (name varies depending on where you grew up) (it’s tic, though) for just nine minutes will burn around 50 calories.

And if the kids you’re playing against are titchy, you get to do the hilarious ‘stepping to the side at the last second while they helplessly sprint straight past you’ move, over and over again.

Probably best to make sure it’s a child you’re either related to or well-aquainted with, or you risk having to answer some awkward questions to parents and police alike.

5. Get Off Two Stops Early

If you travel to work by public transport, get off two stops early. If you travel to work by car, and it’s possible for you to do so, park about a mile away from your work.

The amount this titchy extra perambulation will benefit you will vary depending on your weight and walking speed, but as an example, if you weigh 200lb and walk at a (fairly average) speed of 3.5mph, you’ll burn 104 calories for every mile you walk.

Make that journey twice a day and you’ve burned 208 calories. Ten times in a week, 1,040 calories.

And besides burning calories and toning you up, walking has also been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers. So, actually, make it three stops too early, yeah?

6. Bicep Curl Those Big-Shop Bags

Weighed down with five hefty bags from the weekly ‘big shop’? Take advantage of all that agonising gravity with a little stealth weightlifting, and hench up those biceps in the process.

Standing up straight with your elbows close to your torso and your arms straight down, rotate your palms so that they’re facing forward. Keeping your upper arms stationary, lift the bags upwards in a ‘curling’ motion.

Don’t do yourself a mischief with a multipack of chopped tomatoes

If you’ve only got one or two bags, do one arm at a time – eight reps, then swap arms. Likewise, if you’re really laid down with bags, just do one arm at a time with a weight that’s not too much of a strain. You don’t want to do yourself a mischief with a multipack of chopped tomatoes.

If you’re completely new to the whole concept of weight training, take a look at Jonny Jacobs’ brilliant dummies’ guide first.


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