Working exercise into everyday life

Although it is important to maintain regular, structured exercise, it is possible to incorporate exercise into a daily routine in surprisingly easy ways. Physical activity cannot replace structured exercise, but it does help to maintain joint movement and fitness.

Here are a few examples of how you can work exercise into your daily life: 

  • Do the housework - vacuuming is a good example of aerobic exercise. It uses both arm and leg muscles, particularly if using an upright cleaner. Washing/mopping floors gives a similar workout. Don’t try and do the whole house at once; build up to a maximum of 20 to 30 minutes to get a good aerobic workout.
  • Do the washing up - doing the dishes can also help maintain movement. Washing up in warm water can help loosen up finger joints and emptying the dishwasher can help stretch arm and leg muscles. 
  • Lose the remote control - getting up to change the television channel prevents sitting in the same position for too long. Even small movements like this help burn more calories and improve balance.
  • Learn to play the piano or take up knitting - both these hobbies are great exercise for fingers and can be very enjoyable. Playing the piano in particular gives fingers a good stretch.
  • Do the gardening - working in the garden is another good opportunity to exercise joints. Making a few adaptations to the way you garden may be necessary, perhaps using different equipment (ask an Occupational Therapist about this), but gentle gardening activities allow for stretching without putting too much stress on joints. Limit gardening to a maximum of 30 minutes at a time to avoid overdoing things.
  • Use the stairs - if you do not have problems with your hip or knees, use the stairs instead of taking lifts and escalators.

Published in 2015
Next review due 2018