by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
It is not rocket science that sitting around all day is terrible for your overall health. It has been linked to obesity, joint issues, heart disease, and other ailments. So, in order to reduce the risk of developing these issues, regular movement in everyday life is essential. To put it in simple terms… MOVE MORE.
Being healthy is important no matter who you are or where you live. There are many ways to make your lifestyle more active, but sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to move more in an everyday setting. Today we’re going to look at ways that you can incorporate more regular movement into your daily routine. By doing so, you will feel better and may even notice improvements in other areas of your life.
That said, being active does not have to mean you have to be hitting the gym every day. Let’s dive into the many ways you can move more in your everyday life.
8 Ways to Move More Every Day
Implement some of the strategies below to move more throughout the day and help protect your health.
1. Take the Stairs
If you work in an office building, take the stairs whenever you can — and not just to get to your desk. If you need to run an errand, use the stairs instead of the elevator. You’ll save time and add steps to your day. Of course, if you have an injury or medical condition that prevents you from climbing stairs, then skip this one.
2. Park Farther Away from the Entrance
It’s tempting to park as close as possible when you go to shopping or to the grocery store, so you don’t have to walk far in inclement weather or with heavy bags out to your vehicle. But if you’re able-bodied, save yourself a little space on crowded parking lots by parking in the back of the lot and walking a bit farther. Not only will it help you burn calories, but it will also give you time outside to clear your head if you’ve been stuck inside all day working at home.
3. Incorporate Walking Meetings
When possible, hold standing or walking meetings with colleagues. This will get your colleagues moving and give everyone an opportunity to stretch their legs and change their posture during the workday. Also, it can help cut down on meaningless conversations during the meeting that generally drag them out. As everyone will want to get back to the office and end the walk, they’ll stay on topic to button up the meeting.
4. Sit on an Exercise Ball to Work
Sitting on an exercise ball at work forces your body to constantly make minute adjustments to maintain your balance and not tumble off the ball. This, in turn, helps strengthen your core and forces you to have good posture. If you need a little more stability, place the ball against a wall.
5. Walk During Phone Calls
If you’re on a conference call, this is a great way to move more. Simply get up and pace around your office if you can’t leave your desk (I pace back and forth in my office). You can do the same thing while you’re at home. Get out of your chair or off the couch and walk around when you talk to family and friends. Just be sure you’re not too distracted by your surroundings that you miss important details with whoever you’re on the phone with!
6. Get a Standing Desk
If your company does not offer this option, you can make your own by stacking books under your computer monitor, placing your laptop on top of a filing cabinet, or using a box as a makeshift stand-up desk. Be creative if you must! But standing will help you get up and move more throughout the day versus sitting in your chair all day long staring at your computer monitor.
7. Buy a Pedometer to Keep Yourself Motivated
A pedometer is a device that measures how many steps you take while wearing it on your waistband or belt. Once you have one, challenge yourself to walk 10,000 steps every day. If 10,000 seems like too much at first, walk whatever distance you can and gradually increase it over time.
8. Do Something Active While You’re Watching TV
It’s way too easy to sit down on the couch and stay there for hours. But as long as you have a TV with a remote control, there’s no reason why your favorite show needs to turn into an excuse to be sedentary. Try these ideas: Get up during commercials and do some squats, lunges, jumping jacks, or push-ups. Use hand weights, do planks, take a walk around the block between shows, play with your kids, join your partner in stretching exercises, or clean up around the house. Again, simply move more instead of sitting around all night.
The Importance of Moving Around and Staying Active in Your Everyday Life
Now that we know some ways to move more in your everyday life, let’s also look at why we should prioritize it.
The more active we are, the greater the health benefits.
We tend to lead a more sedentary lifestyle than our ancestors. Modern living often means that rather than walking, standing, or lifting for much of the day, we sit at computers or in cars and use labor-saving devices for most tasks. This lack of physical activity can lead to health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
It’s also important to be active if you have a long-term health condition such as high blood pressure or arthritis. Being active and getting up to move more can improve your symptoms and overall quality of life.