These days I’m so busy I’m actually ashamed to say I simply don’t have the time to work out as much as I used to. But even on a bad day I still have a much more physically active life than most Americans, carrying HEAVY equipment from place to place, running up and down stairs (don’t know why but whenever I see a set of stairs I simply can’t resist!)…heck this morning I crawled around on the floor chasing and being chased by a young special-needs client for about 15 minutes…IT WAS A BLAST!
But lots of folks who go to the gym regularly and follow a regular workout schedule or routine often undermine their efforts by sitting (which, in the fitness world, is now considered the new smoking) almost the whole rest of the day. Add in the fact that many people still operate under the (false!) assumption that an hour in the gym enables them to eat whatever they want, and in the end lots of regular exercisers are no healthier than their sedentary counterparts!
The best way to keep from falling into the unconsciously sedentary trap is to make staying active THROUGHOUT the day a top priority. Here are some pointers:
- Use active forms of transportation whenever you can: ride a bike. Or take a train or bus to work (and walk from your house to the stop and from the stop to your office.) Or AT LEAST park as far from the door of your office as possible in order to build a few more steps in to your day.
- Do something first thing in the morning: it’s a great way give your metabolism an extra little kick plus most people have a lot more energy first thing it the AM anyway. Get on the foam roller and “massage” all the kinks away. Do a few pushups or yoga poses. Have a tickle fight with your kid…that way if the day totally gets away from you, at least you did SOMETHING.
- Don’t just sit or stand there…DO SOMETHING! Most Americans spend lots of time waiting for something to happen (usually on their Smartphones)…if you’re sitting, stand up! If you’re standing, walk around. If you’re standing and you’re alone (and won’t feel embarrassed), try pacing or marching in place OR EVEN DO SOME T’AI CHI CHIH (MY NEXT SET OF CLASSES BEGIN IN ABOUT 2 WEEKS HINT HINT HINT!) Just do SOMETHING to remind yourself that our bodies are designed to move all day long.
- I already mentioned my obsession with stair running (or at least jogging) but seriously: taking the stairs always uncovers our weaknesses AND reveals our level of fitness. Since taking the stairs can be used to track progress in your efforts to stay or become fit, start being attentive to how many flights of stairs can you climb while maintaining a conversation…if you begin taking the stairs on a regular basis, over time that number should steadily increase.
- Walk the dog. There’s a reason why people who walk their dogs are healthier and happier than their non-dog-walking counterparts: dog walking has a lot more benefits then just burning a few extra calories. There’s the social interaction of encounters with other walkers plus all that bonding with your furry buddy, the planning re weather conditions, and even the whole “outdoors as medicine” thing. Think about it, the human body is designed to get outside every day and walk on a flat ground, not walk inside in place on a moving treadmill belt!
- And why is that only the kids are playing at outdoor parties and gatherings? Adults should have unstructured play too! Backyard games and pick-up sports aren’t just fun (and that’s important…as a society we are often deadly serious!) but a great way to be more active.
Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC
HCC Lifestyle Coach