7 SIMPLE WAYS TO STAY ACTIVE BECAUSE SITTING IS THE WORST Written by: Dr. Julia Melanson, PT, DPT Edited by: April Oury, PT, MSPT, IOC, CFMT, FAAOMPT, Founder
Do you have an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to staying fit? So many of us are too “slammed” at work to go to the gym or our kids’ activities are keeping us in the car and off the cardio machine. Waiting until you have the time to get a good run or workout in could mean big gaps in your fitness routine. Despite what we like to think, research has shown that you can’t offset the hours you spend sitting every day with getting a good workout in a few times a week (or a few times a month)¹. Don’t give up on your health just yet! Instead of spending more time beating yourself up for not exercising than beating up a punching bag, you can just live a more active life! That’s right, simply reducing the amount of time you spend not moving (i.e. driving, desk work, watching tv) is a bigger step towards better physical health than running a few miles every once in a while. Here at Body Gears, we recommend a few basic elements you can easily include in your daily life that truly add up to a more active lifestyle and more years of healthy living. 1. Take the Longest — or Hardest — Distance Between Two Points In our busy lives, speed and efficiency is
the name of the game, but does the time saved parking close to the store really do you any favors? While it may seem more convenient to park as close as you can to the door, it’s also a convenient time to get some physical activity in. Start parking at the far end of the lot (the further you just drove the further you should park) so that you have to walk, push a cart, or carry a bag a greater distance. When there are stairs, take them. If there’s only an escalator, don’t just stand there, stick to the left and walk up the steps. When your destination is 20 minutes away or less, just walk, and when the pedestrian light starts counting down, run to make it before it gets to zero! 2. Pay for Your Lunch — in Footsteps Skip the cafeteria in favor of a healthy eatery down the street. If you brought your lunch, walk outside for 20 minutes before digging in or take a lap around the office while waiting for the microwave. If you’re retired or working from home, walk to the corner grocer’s to gather the goods for lunch. Don’t start eating until you’ve been up and moving for 5 minutes at the very least and be sure to get a total of 20 minutes of movement in before your lunch break ends.
3. Consider a Standing Desk Although you’re just swapping one sedentary position for another, standing still for hours is the lesser of two evils. For one thing, it burns more calories through microbalance corrections. You’ll also hunch less (if it’s set up to the right height), meaning that neck and shoulder pain isn’t a big problem. Standing can also boost your health by keeping blood sugar more steady after a meal and by encouraging more movement overall (if you’re already standing, you’ll be more likely to walk somewhere to get something or speak to someone). 4. Fool Yourself Into “Running Errands” Using a smaller glass for water — or mug for green tea — means that you have to return to the water cooler or kitchen more often to fulfill your daily hydration goals. The more you’re drinking the more you’re also walking to the bathroom. Likewise, you can make going down the hall to borrow a stapler and hiking upstairs to ask someone in HR about your vacation schedule separate trips. When you go to the grocery store, walk up and down every aisle even if you only needed milk (you might find a great sale).
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