Sneaky ways to work out, burn calories

The last time I put on sweatpants and tennis shoes and hopped on a treadmill was in August – before I moved into Ytterboe and began my senior year on the Hill.

Even over the summer, I didn’t exercise regularly. I haven’t since high school, actually.

With free athletic facilities and a campus full of health-conscious, athletic peers, why don’t I make more of an effort to get down to the gym?

It isn’t because I don’t see a benefit to working out.

As we all know, exercising keeps weight in check and the cardiovascular system in tip-top shape. According to Mayo Clinic, exercise also has the power to boost mood and energy levels. Plus, it can help people fall asleep more quickly and deeply.

So, why don’t I take advantage of the rock wall or the elliptical machines?

Because I’m busy.

I know, I know. Every Ole is busy, and exercise should be a priority, right? Definitely.

But I don’t think that going to the gym necessarily has to be a priority.

I manage to sneak exercise into my daily routine, and you can too! I’m not advocating cutting the gym out altogether, but if you’re not going regularly or if you have a particularly busy week, you can still get the exercise you need.

1 Take the stairs, even if you live in Mohn or Larson. I know that 10 flights might be the last thing you want to tackle after a long day of classes and a big meal in the Caf, but climbing up and down the stairs for five minutes, five days a week, a person can lose 2.5 pounds each year, according to Livestrong. All of that huffing and puffing keeps your heart healthy and doesn’t require a change of clothes and trek to Tostrud.

2 Although it’s tempting to park as close to Skoglund as possible, darting from car to building in the cold Minnesota winter, if you have a car on campus, consider parking further away from the building. If necessary, drop your goodies from Target off in the dorm before taking the car back to Skog, I or J lots and enjoy the brisk air on your way back.

3 Do laundry, dishes, vacuum, etc. Cleaning burns way more calories than you might think. Running back and forth to the laundry room, scrubbing that pan that’s been sitting on your desk for several nights too long and hiking down to the front desk to check out the vacuum are all a great way to work out and simultaneously be productive.

4 Instead of texting or Facebook messaging your friends, head over to their dorms or, even easier, rooms down the hall and say hello. Viola! You’ve moved out from behind the computer screen and snuck in some socialization.

5 In the Caf, make it a point to take only one beverage and no dessert when you first sit down unless you’re worried the apple pie or German chocolate cake might run out. That way, you can get back up and refill your drink or grab a cookie, whatever your body is telling you.

6 Work your calves in the shower. As a former ballet dancer, I move in and out of relevé as I lather, rinse and fail to repeat, rising onto the balls of my feet and back down again. I lose absolutely no time; I have to shampoo my hair anyway. Why shower after you exercise when you can kill two birds with one stone? Just be careful not to slip. You can also relevé in the bag lunch line, though you might get some funny looks – been there, done that.

These are just a few of the easy ways that you can get fit without the fitness center. Skoglund and Tostrud are great resources, but if you’re crunched for time with exams and social engagements, don’t sweat it. You can literally sweat it out anytime, anywhere.

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