Drive the kids to soccer, wake up at 5am to catch the train to work, prepare lunches for school, cook dinner…who has time to exercise, let alone be more active?
Are you one of many struggling to find time in your already busy day to squeeze in some exercise? There is a misconception out there, that you need to go to the gym to get fit or even stay active. Research is now showing us that every bit of movement counts even if you DO go to the gym. Many of us sit way too much. We sit in our cars in traffic, on the bus or train when we commute. We sit at our desk all day at work, to then come home and sit on the couch at night to relax. This is way TOO much sitting.
Even if you are a die-hard fitness enthusiast, if you sit for extended periods of time, you need to get up and move around throughout the day even if you go to the gym. Here are some ways on how you can incorporate more active time into an already busy day.
Get a Stand-Up Desk
Fortunately, standing desks are becoming increasingly more popular. Also referred to as a stand-up desk, sit-stand desks, or height-adjustable desk, they allow you to stand while working. The height of the desk can be changed so you can alternate between a seated and standing position. Several studies show that standing desks can dramatically decrease chronic back pain caused by prolonged sitting.
Stand Up or Walk for Your Phone Calls
Do you spend all day on the phone in meetings? Try standing up while talking if you sit at a desk or move around in circles at your cubicle. You can try some deep knee bends or even standing lunges with your headset on. If you use your mobile device or have a portable headset, try going for a walk around the office and get an attitude of ‘walk n’ talk’. Not only will you feel better, but moving the body will keep you alert and bring on the creativity.
Have Walking Meetings
If you want to get more focus and creative with your job, why not take the meetings outside? It’s the perfect opportunity to take in a change of scenery from the ordinary office surroundings. Simply by getting outdoors into nature can create more productivity and a better working environment for everyone.
Take the Stairs Instead of the Elevator
Ditching the elevator for the stairs is a great way to incorporate more movement into your day. Not only are you burning calories, but increasing your leg strength as well. Whether you are at your office, at the shopping mall, or the airport, try not to rely on the elevator. Going up and down the stairs several times a day can add up. Try not to use time as a way to take the elevator. Instead, plan your shopping trip so that you can take the stairs, visit your friends at their apartment, or arrive early at work so you don’t miss those meetings.
Stretch While Watching TV
Make stretching part of our daily routine regardless if you are sitting in front of the couch. Tight muscles can contribute to poor posture and can help relieve tension in the lower back. It can help with blood circulation, relieve tension in your neck, and help reduce stress. Make use of your time by getting off the couch during commercials to take short stretch breaks. It will do wonders for your body.
Park Far Away
Any opportunity to get in more steps is a great way to move more. If you’re going grocery shopping, choose the farthest parking spot. If you take the subway or bus to work, get off one stop earlier and walk to your building.
Plan Active Date Nights
Instead of the regular ‘movie night’ where you are going from sitting in your car to sitting in a theater when you are sitting for hours on end, why not try an active date? Go for a walk, take a hike in a local park, rent some bikes, or rent a kayak. During the colder months, visit your local skating rink or hit the slopes for a day of skiing. Any season is a great season to be outdoors to enjoy nature.
Take a Movement Break
Set your alarm as a reminder to get up from your desk or if you are at home sitting on the couch. If you’re sitting for more than an hour, take five minutes to get up, move around, and stretch out the body. Make it a habit to schedule in breaks if you know you will be sitting for a long period of time.
Kids Play Time Be Active Play Time
Make use of this time to get active and involved in your child’s playtime. Participate in a game of tag or create a scavenger hunt where they have to move. Take a trip to the local playground and instead of being a bystander and sitting on the bench, get on the equipment and get in a workout. Create your own playground workout with dips, push-ups, pullups, squats, and lunges. It doesn’t have to be challenging but rather something that gets your body moving.
There are many ways of human-powered transportation such as walking, cycling, in-line skating, or skateboarding. Ditch the car to try one of these options to get to work, your next appointment, or running your errands. Active transportation is not just about improving our health but it also reduces road congestion, it reduces greenhouse emissions, and it can save on money. Plan ahead and make it a priority to not only do good for yourself but also the environment.
Eat Well – Move Well – Live Well
Your Compassionate Coach,