12 Ways To Help You Increase Movement Throughout The Day
I’m sure you’ve heard the statement, ‘Sitting is the new smoking.’
If you haven’t, now you have and it’s time for all of us to get moving. It's time to stand up to sitting.
I bet most of you don't even realize how much you sit. It’s an easy thing to do and not think twice about. After all, most everyone around you is doing the same thing. Kinda like how smoking used to be, right? There was a time in history when smoking was so popular, nobody thought much about it. Today we know better. We’re well-educated on the health risks related to smoking and secondhand smoke. In fact, we’re so well-informed of the dangers, we're often quick to judge and criticize this habit.
Yet, we rarely judge and criticize a person for sitting all day long. Or, for watching TV for hours at a time. In fact, it’s common practice for parents to keep their children occupied by putting something on TV or the iPad for them to watch. Or, allow them to sit and play video games for long periods of time.
The truth is we didn’t evolve to sit as much as we currently do.
Even if you are fit, you may still require more movement throughout the day. Our sitting habits are taking a toll on our health and well-being. The ‘normal’ practices that we do every single day such as, driving; sitting at a desk at work; going for a coffee and sitting while enjoying it; coming home from work and sitting on the couch in front of the TV, are not proving beneficial. We're learning that our increased sedentary behavior causes a host of health issues. Studies show that prolonged sitting is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. It contributes to obesity, increased fat around the waist, diabetes, and even cancer. And now there's new evidence that it may also increase the risk of liver disease, according to a new study from South Korea.
In fact, studies now say that the average middle-aged person spends more time sitting than sleeping. WOW!
Consider how many hours a day you sit. Where can you increase movement throughout the day?
Here’s 12 Suggestions To Help You Get Started:
1) Use the stairs whenever possible
Avoiding the elevator and using the stairs is probably the easiest way to increase your movement throughout the day. Stair climbing also helps to strengthen your heart and lungs and is an excellent way to burn calories.
2) Walk rather than stand on an escalator
It's so easy to step onto an escalator and allow the motor to move you up. Instead, walk up those steps! This is another way easy way to increase your movement.
3) Invest in a standing desk
Also known as a stand-up desk, these desks are a brilliant invention that allow you to stand and work comfortably. There are several versions available and prices range to suit every budget. Investing in one for your home computer (and office as well if possible) means you'll sit less and stand more.
4) Track Your Activity
There are several devices you can use to track your activity. These devices are designed to help you monitor how active you are and meet your daily goals in a fun, easy way.
5) Walk around the office
By making more of an effort to walk around the office at work throughout the day, you'll be siting at your desk less often and moving more.
6) Use transit to commute
Walking to the bus stop or subway station will help you get some extra steps in each day. You can even get off one or two stops early and walk the remainder of the way to your destination. Using transit will also help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.
7) Ride your bike
Riding your bike is a low impact, easy way to increase your movement while improving cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and joint mobility. Use this form of transportation for your commute or commit to a leisurely ride each day.
8) Get outside
Enjoy a 20min walk outdoors during lunch. Not only will this help increase your movement throughout the day, studies have long shown the benefits that a walk in nature provides. It helps clear your mind, improve your mood, and stimulate creative thinking. Walking in nature is also very effective at reducing stress and depression.
9) Set an alarm or timer
Whenever I have a day where I know I'll be doing a lot of sitting, I set an alarm on my phone to remind myself to stand up and move around. Getting up every 20 - 30min to do a few stretches or walk a lap around the house or office, makes a huge difference.
10) Stand up while on the phone
Make the commitment to stand up every time you're talking on your phone. Or better yet, every time you're on your phone messaging or checking social media. Getting yourself into this habit will ensure you stand rather than sit more often.
11) Join a group or class
It’s so easy to come home from work and plop yourself on the couch to relax and unwind. However, if you’ve already been sitting for most of the day, this after-work habit isn’t helping you. Instead, join an evening group or class such as a walking group, yoga, aquatic or other fitness class. This commitment to having somewhere to go and do something, will help get you off the couch at night.
12) Park far, far away
When I was growing up, my mother always found the parking spot that was furthest away in the parking lot. It used to drive me crazy! Now I understand why she did it (and still does BTW). Finding a parking spot far away and walking through the parking lot, is an easy-peasy way to increase your daily movement.
There are so many easy ways to get up off our butts and move our body throughout the day. And many of them are free! We just need to make more of an effort to implement them.
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