Embrace the outdoors
To help you log more exercise minutes, work out alfresco. “When you work out indoors, you focus more internally [on things like your breath, your stride, and so on], and time seems to move more slowly. There are a lot of distractions outdoors that take your mind off what you’re doing,” says John Porcari, Ph.D., a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. Plus, you’ll burn more calories when you run outside compared with running on a treadmill at the same speed, a study in the Journal of Sports Sciences found. “The treadmill belt also helps propel you a bit,” Porcari says. (There’s wind resistance outside too, so you have to work harder to move forward.) And don’t feel like you have to stick to running, biking, and the other usual sporty suspects. Armond Jordan, a trainer and master instructor at JoyRide studios in Connecticut, suggests adding activities like tennis, stand-up paddleboarding, golf, surfing, or even just walking on the beach into your routine. “Beyond helping you to stay active and burn calories, they can challenge your body—and muscles—in different ways,” Jordan says.