Want To Exercise Without Noticing?

January 22, 2013   26 Comments

Snack Girl has a little problem with couches. She can’t stay away from them.

Exercise Ball

Yes, if there is a comfortable couch in a 100 yard radius, I will find it and sit on it for as long as possible. Something about sitting there, reading, ordering people around, and munching on popcorn is very compelling. I would never leave my couch if I didn’t have to.

I know this is not the lifestyle that I am advocating here on Snack Girl. I want YOU to get moving and so I am always looking for ways to get moving myself. I do feel better if I don’t sit there all day like a lump.

A couple of years ago, I took a Pilates class and fell in love with this ball. It is fun to sit and bounce on and toss at unsuspecting people as they walk by you. In class, I loved laying my back on it and pointing my belly at the ceiling...aaaaaahhhh.

Since my favorite TV shows are in February (the Super Bowl and the Oscars), I decided to plunk down $20 for one of these at my local Target. I plan to sit on the ball for a while, watching TV, munching popcorn, and bouncing. Why?

Sitting on the ball is fun and it is much more active than sitting on the couch like a lump. I am working on my core (how cool am I?) while watching Hollywood starlets walk the red carpet. Boing Boing.

The only sad part of owning this ball so far is that whenever I want to sit on it, my son runs over and pushes me off. He thinks this is so funny! Mom, lying on the floor, asking for her ball back. Ahh well.

The idea here is to get moving, even if it is just a little bit, versus spending time sedentary. Research studies continue to show that a sedentary lifestyle leads to a shorter life.

Another idea regarding not noticing exercise is to get a Zamzee and measure how much you move. Zamzee is a meter and a website focussed on kids and helping them to get get moving. It is more fun than a pedometer because it tracks all of your movements (not just steps) and you can earn rewards when you hit certain levels of exercise.

I gave Zamzee a try because I was looking for an inexpensive way to track my activity. It is only $30 and easy to use because it is geared toward children (which I liked because I was worried I would break anything more expensive). You clip it on your belt or put it in your pocket and then you can plug it into your computer and upload your activity to their website.

I thought it was a super fun way to get an idea of how active you are during all times of day, even when you are just bouncing in front of the TV.

How do you turn your sedentary activities into more active ones?

This product was received for review consideration. No other compensation was provided.

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 26 )

I have one of those little even sitting on the couch I can still exercise my leg muscles...might look silly but it is the best $20 I ever spent :-)

Hi there, We got a dog this past summer. Great reason to walk and explore new places together. It's much more of a commitment but lots of rewards.

I sit on a balance ball instead of a chair at my 9-5 desk job. I get a few odd looks and lots of questions, but all in all I feel more awake and active after 8 hours on my ball than 8 hours sitting like a lump!

Julie -- Have you noticed a difference using one of the pedalers? They've always intrigued me

I have been tempted to use one of these in work, but not sure if it would be good or bad for my back. Guess I should just try it and see.

Ah, the balance ball, so much fun! I have one & it's an awesome way to get some movement & play with my 5yr. old. He likes to push me off of it too. He loves to be held up airplane style while Mommy does crunches on the ball...nothing like trying to balance yourself & a 50lb. wiggle worm to work out every part of your body!

Love my balance ball...Way more fun than an actual chair..even at work! I have never paid $20 though (or close to it). Check your local TJ Maxx store for inexpensive deals on fitness equipment.

The balance ball sounds great, just sitting on them is supposed to help your core, I wonder if I could try it with my back issues. My favorite exercise regimen is Greer Childers 7 minute workout called 7 Shapely Secrets which involves holding a few simple positions standing still! I have major back injuries, so I have to be very careful and this is easy (although I do modify a little). I remember rolling over one night and thinking "what is that???!!" when my head hit my own bicep! I try to do the tape/dvd (yes, its that old I still use the vcr) but once I am in the routine I can do the exercises while waiting for the pups to do their thing in the yard, and any other minute or two of down time. Great post, Lisa. Any exercise that doesn't feel like exercise is the best!

Love this!!!

Lisa, just remember that when your son pushes you off the ball you can use your abs to sit up and get yourself back on the ball - bonus exercise!! ;)

Robi, I believe the balls are supposed to be pretty good for your back because they force you to sit in a good ergonomic position. They use them as ergonomic tools for some people.

I've been toying with buying a FitBit or ActiveLink (I'm a WW Lifetime member and am definitely leaning toward the AL). I've never heard of the Zamzee but I checked and it seems like it could be a great alternative for far less money - do you think it would work for an adult? Is there something specifically "kid" about it?

I got a FitBit for gift ever! I've been wearing it non-stop since then and love being able to track my movement! The website and app are super easy and convenient - I track my food, sleep, activity and set up a plan for losing a few pounds. For me it's a realistic and sustainable approach to fitness!

Hi Marla, since you're already a WW lifetime member, I can recommend the ActiveLink. It links up with your WW account and shows how many extra PPTs you're earned. It's very motivating, if not a bit expensive. But highly recommend!!!

Gaiam also sells a "ball chair". There are 3 sizes of balls so you chose according to height I think and the ball fits in a little chair with wheels. Very cool! And the ball doesn't get away from you although keeping it in place is part of the exercise!

Standing desk! I've been reading about the hazards of sitting at a desk all day, and they're terrifying! Standing takes getting used to, and my co-workers and customers seem, well, confused... but I'm willing to look like a weirdo in order to take care of myself. Bonus, I sleep so much better!

I use one of those little pedalers, too, and I love it, especially when it's so cold out. It's easy to do thirty minutes without thinking about it.

A standing desk is not suggested for all people. It depends on a lot of things. For me, I have scoliosis so it would be rough to stand all day. I will say though the ball is my favorite way to do crunches and push-ups. My favorite of all time is the BOSU (the half ball with the hard bottom). There's also a class offered in some gyms (my gym is only $30/month) called 'On the Ball'

I'm making an effort manage the clutter better in my house, so I notice that I'm sitting less as I'm now running around putting things away in its correct spot.

I'm also making an effort to walk around during breaks at work (unless I'm commenting on blogs).

My new exercise program at 63 -- having my 2 and a half year old granddaughter and her mother come back home to live with us -- and my daughter's pregnant again! I do more running around and 'tucking' to keep our small, village colonial in order that I am often exhausted at the end of the day! But, life is to live, and I count my blessings.

I'm a teacher and I spend a lot of time grading papers. So on my planning period, when I normally would be sitting around grading, I grab one or two and walk around the hallway, marking as I go. I have to stop a lot, but it feels good to be moving around, even just a little. :)

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