10 easy ways to move more
You may have heard the sayings “sitting is the new smoking” or “sitting can kill you.” Yes, those may sound extreme, but in essence, they’re true. Recent research studies have suggested that being sedentary and sitting too much can shorten one’s lifespan, diminish the quality of life, and contribute to the development of chronic diseases. That’s because our bodies were made to move, and there truly are easy ways to exercise! Just 30 minutes of activity every single day does a body SO much good – it boosts your energy, regulates digestion, enhances your mood, and improves circulation, just to name a few! No, this doesn’t mean you have to sign up for a marathon, hire a personal trainer or join the gym, while those are all great options, too. But, there are simple and easy ways to incorporate exercise into our everyday activities and get our bodies moving! 1. Take the stairs. Whenever and wherever you can, take the stairs and not the elevator. It’s no coincidence that many doctors ask patients whether they can go up a flight of stairs without symptoms before clearing them for major surgery, as it’s a sign of one’s overall health. Plus, taking the stairs gets your blood pumping and can significantly lower the risk of mortality when climbing more than 55 flights per week. 2. Do some chores I know, I know… no one likes doing chores. But, household chores like vacuuming the house, mopping the floor, taking out the trash, sorting the laundry, mowing the yard, cleaning your car, and emptying out the garage (garage sale, anyone?) are all great opportunities to be more physically active. 3. Get up and move Studies are increasingly documenting the potential health risks of prolonged sitting. In fact, some even say that “sitting is the new smoking” – and we all know how smoking affects your health. Getting up and moving every 30 minutes could help offset the health risks associated with prolonged sitting. EVEN if you’re a gym-goer or are able to squeeze in a morning or evening workout, you’re still at risk if you’re sedentary for the rest of the day. The biggest thing is to be mindful of moving. If you have a desk job, try getting up every 30 minutes and moving for at least one minute at a time. Walk to the bathroom, get a cup of coffee, take a stroll down the hall… you get the idea. 4. Stand when you can Standing uses more muscles than sitting, so standing can help burn additional calories. It’s probably the easiest way to exercise without realizing it! Blow-drying your hair? Instead of sitting, stand up and do a few squats or calf raises at the same time. Taking the bus to work? Consider letting someone else have your seat and stand instead. Working from home? Instead of sitting on the couch or at a desk, switch it up and work standing at the kitchen counter. Speaking of work, many companies are beginning to understand the negative health consequences of sitting for too long and are investing in stand up desks for their employees, allowing them to be more active by working while standing up. Consider asking your employer about this possibility. 5. Pick up the pace Walking at a brisk pace burns more calories than a leisurely stroll. So if you’re looking to get more fitness out of your days, try picking up the pace every time you walk, whether you’re at the grocery store, in an airport, at the mall, enjoying the great outdoors, or just going down a hallway. 6. Enjoy the great outdoors How many times have you gone to a park and seen parents sitting on a bench glued to their phone while their kids are breaking a sweat on the playground? If it’s not too crowded, climb on the toys with your kids! If you have a child at a sports practice, don’t just sit and watch. Instead, walk around the playing field or along the sidelines – or even ask the coach if you can assist during practice. Other ways to get moving outdoors (if the weather permits) are to take your dog for a walk (he/she’ll enjoy it too!), go for a leisurely bike ride, swim a few laps, walk your kids to school instead of driving them around the corner, do some gardening, etc. Just be mindful of ways to get your body moving! 7. Park far away Instead of driving around a parking lot for 15 minutes waiting for that up-front spot to open up, just head to the back of the parking lot and walk your way in. You’ll likely get there faster than if you waited for a closer spot to become available AND you’ll get more exercise, too! Plus, if you’re pushing a full shopping cart to the back of the lot, you’ll burn even more calories! It’s also easier to leave when you’re parked close to the exit, which is a bonus when the stores are busy. 8. Walk and talk The best thing about cell phones is that you can easily walk and talk. So even if you’re glued to your phone for work calls, you don’t have to be glued to your chair. Unless the call is private, make it a habit to talk and walk whenever possible – in the house, around the neighborhood, or at your workplace. Some workplaces even have walking paths to make it even easier to burn while you earn. Score! 9. Invest in a fitness tracker A wearable fitness tracker is a great way to keep track of how much you’re moving your body. There are fitness trackers for every skill level, and most of them are simple to use without a steep learning curve. Like Fitbit, Garmin or Apple watches. 10. Workout for free If the thought of joining a gym makes you uncomfortable or you’re looking for frugal ways to work out on the cheap, look out for ways you can workout around town OR in the comfort of your own home with beginners or App trials.