How to Get 150 Minutes of Exercise a Week Without Going to the Gym

Most health organizations say we should all be moving for at least 150 minutes per week. That number can seem daunting—finding 30 minutes to work out, five times a week, seems nearly impossible! But it turns out, you don’t have to belong to a gym or throw on special workout gear to clock in those minutes. Here’s how to do it, without taking much extra time out of your day.

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Make the most of your lunch break.

While it’s certainly easier to use our lunch breaks to scroll through Facebook, this is a golden opportunity to get outside and enjoy the sunshine with a 20-minute walk. Then you’re already two-thirds of the way through your exercise needs for the day (150 minutes/7 days= 22 minutes per day). Plus, spending time outdoors is linked with improved mental well-being. Sounds like a win-win!

Lift weights while watching your favorite TV show.

Along with engaging in 150 minutes of exercise per week, the AHA recommends adding 20 minutes of strength training twice a week. Strength training not only builds muscle, but also keeps our bones strong, improves joint flexibility, and even helps us to better manage our weight. Grab a pair of dumbells the next time you turn on the TV, and sneak in a little muscle-building workout.

Take the stairs when you can.

Research shows every little bit of exercise counts, and taking the stairs certainly gets the heart pumping! Plus, stair work builds muscle in your lower body, helping you get a little closer to your recommended two strength-training sessions per week.

Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier.

Our circadian rhythms—our bodies’ internal clocks—are essential for healthy sleep patterns, maintaining our weight, and ensuring our bodies are functioning properly. Studies show starting our day with exposure to sunlight is not only beneficial for regulating our bodies’ internal clocks but also for our health. Taking a stroll, doing a circuit workout on your porch, or stretching on a yoga mat in your backyard will not only help you clock in most of your exercise requirement for the day, but will also be a soothing, peaceful way to start a busy day.  

Looking for more exercise tips?

  • This Type of Exercise Is Associated With Health and Anti-Aging Benefits
  • 5 Tricks to Stick to a Workout Routine
  • How Much Exercise You Need After Sitting All Day at Your Desk

Make plans for a workout date instead of a lunch date.

The next time you make plans with a friend, use that valuable free time to engage in physical activity together. Whether it’s a round of tennis or a walk around the park, this is a simple way to incorporate more fitness into your life without using up all your free time. And it’s always nice to have a workout buddy to hold you accountable!


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