HealthONE - June 05, 2019

Only 27 percent of American men are the getting the recommended amount of exercise, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For men, not getting enough exercise and being inactive can lead to serious health problems -- which can include an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and even depression. On the flipside, getting regular exercise can help lower a man's risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension. Exercise can also reduce stress, help a person sleep better and result in other health benefits, like improving your mood.

As a guy, even if you are motivated to workout, finding the time to hit the gym can be challenging. Along with having work and family commitments, men might just feel too tired at the end of the day to head to a workout class or fit in a gym routine.

There are ways to add more physical activity to your day -- even if you don't have time for a full gym workout. Here are some ways men can fit in some fitness, which will go a long way in boosting your health and reducing your risk of heart disease:

1. Try a virtual exercise routine or digital workout video

These days, it's not hard to find workout classes or videos online through platforms like YouTube, iTunes, Vevo, etc. Currently, there are many workout studios and fitness websites that offer digital routines led by fitness instructors and personal trainers.

If you don't want to leave your house to workout, you can access pre-recorded or live-streamed exercise classes via on-demand cable, your computer and even your smartphone. These workouts include a range of activities, like cardio, strength training, boot camp-style workouts, yoga and stretching.

Men could also consider purchasing a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical machine. Some models, like Peloton, offer live-streamed and on-demand workouts led by an instructor that you can do at home.

For those who are working out at home, remember that proper form is essential to keep yourself safe and prevent injury. Talk to your doctor before starting a new workout routine.

2. Turn walking your dog into a real workout

Depending on how active your pup is, walking your dog can be a good opportunity for men to add more physical activity to their day. Not only is walking excellent exercise for your dog, but it can also count toward your own daily fitness goals.

When walking your dog, try to keep up the pace. A brisk, 30-minute walk can burn up to 200 calories or more. Regular walking can also raise your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, strengthen and build bones, bolster one's mood, ease stress and keep weight gain at bay.

Taking care of a dog can be good motivation to move more and sit less. If you don't have a dog, walking can still be a good way to start upping the amount of physical activity you do each day.

Certain chores do count as physical activity or a workout. Tasks like laundry, mopping and vacuuming can burn calories and get your heart rate up. A 200-pound person can burn up to 270 calories per hour when doing these types of chores at a fast pace.

Yard work like pulling weeds, raking leaves or mowing the yard can also help strengthen your arm, leg and back muscles. If you are low on time, try fitting in some basic exercises while completing your daily to-do list, like performing squats while in the kitchen waiting for your meal to cook. If you're watching TV, do some sit-ups or plank moves during commercials. Any little bit of activity you add to your regular routine can help make working out more of a habit and less of a happenstance.

4. Find a sport you like doing alone or with your buddies

Some men find exercise videos and gym workouts to be a bore. If fitness classes and lifting weights doesn't appeal to you, find a sport you love -- or one you want to learn.

Your city or town probably offers a men's recreational basketball, soccer, flag football, softball or tennis league you can join. Being part of a team can be very motivating and help you stick to your fitness goals. Playing a sport that challenges you to master certain skills can also limit boredom and keep you going.

For former athletes, playing sports might not be an option anymore, due to old injuries or stiffness in the joints. One good option for this is workouts in the pool. Activities like swimming are easier on joints while still burning calories and creating resistance, which helps strengthen your muscles.

Participating in an outdoor sport or activity can give you the best of both worlds. Activities like hiking, biking, running, skiing, snowboarding, and rock climbing are not only great workouts, but also lift your spirits and allow you to enjoy some nature and sunshine.

5. Make short workouts count

If you're a guy who is pressed for time to exercise, remember that something is better than nothing. Try engaging in high intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves short intervals of vigorous exercises that usually only take 20 to 25 minutes.

A typical HIIT workout starts with a warm-up, then a sequence of intense exercises followed by a recovery period. HIIT workouts often include squat jumps, push-ups, burpees, mountain climbers and a combination of strength and cardio moves.

Short bursts of intense exercises can push your body to perform at the higher end of the aerobic training zone, which could result in more calories burned during or after the workout.

6. Remember that working out can be fun

If you're a dad, make being more active a family activity you do with your kids. Children burn plenty of calories by playing, so embrace this spirit by going to the park or spending more time outside.

As a parent, you can be a good role model for your children by adopting healthy habits, which includes physical activity. Even if you don't have kids, guys can lighten up about hitting the gym hardcore and do something more fun, like skateboarding or frisbee. If you're enjoying yourself, exercising won't feel like "work" and you'll feel inspired to be more active.