Despite the best national efforts, participation in physical activity is at an all-time low and obesity rates are at an all-time high. We are exposed to a very toxic food system, ruthless food companies that don’t care about health, an obesogenic environment with high availability of inexpensive, large-portion, high calorie and good- tasting food everywhere and the tendency to “snack” and “graze” during the day. On top of all these negative realities, lifestyle changes have resulted in the fact that people simply don’t move that much anymore.
Think about it. We hire house cleaners so we don’t have to do the house cleaning anymore, gardeners so we don’t do our own gardening anymore, and even shopping becomes more obsolete as Amazon Fresh delivers the bag of apples and onions right to our doorstep. We are unlearning activities like cleaning, gardening or walking for our grocery shopping which are all highly active physical tasks so we can … work more which usually results in more sitting. Yet sitting is the new smoking as a lot of research points to, and a highly sedentary lifestyle is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Researchers have found and continue to find evidence that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing several serious illnesses like various types of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Doesn’t this remind you of the movie WALL-E?
Although it is great that a lot of people sign up at the gym and feel good about taking that 1 hour group exercise class or using the cardio or weight machines, it is the other 23 hours of the day that count towards health as well – included sleep (check out my blog about sleep on Dec 30, 2017). The effects of long-term sitting are not reversible through exercise or other good habits. Simply stated: sit less and move more!
May 5th is National Fitness Day, I encourage you to “sneak in” more minutes of activity each day – you’ll be surprised how quickly these minutes will add up. I would like to share 20 ideas on how to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine here:
- Take a quick walk around the block before getting ready in the morning or with the family after dinner.
- Walk 30 min at lunch, make it a “walk and talk” with a colleague or friend.
- Have a “walk and talk” meeting rather than sitting at a desk.
- Pace when talking on the phone.
- Work while standing rather than sitting (invest in an adjustable -height desk or suggest this at your workplace).
- Walk for 15 min right when arriving home, before getting busy with home responsibilities and making dinner.
- Walk with your family and talk about their day.
- When going shopping or to an appointment by car, choose a parking spot further away from the entrance.
- Invest in a bike and do neighborhood errands or short regular commutes by bike.
- Go for a quick bike ride on your nearest trail, take the kids with you. Maybe make it a weekend routine.
- Did you know May is National Bike Month, Bike to Work Day is May 18, and National Bike to Work Week is held from May 14-18? Check with your employer whether they support these events.
- Check out a work commute that includes a bike (check Google Maps for bike options, check the bus and train network for possibilities to take the bike with you). Biking to work not only provides you with the necessary regular exercise, but it is good for the environment and your wallet too!
- Set the timer on the phone for every hour to get up and go for a quick walk around the building or do a series of squats, planks or push-ups. Or get a Fitbit that counts your steps over the course of the day and can be set to remind you regularly to move more.
- When you have waiting time in the kitchen (while the oven heats up or the water boils), do a few push-ups or hold an angled plank on the kitchen counter. Or do a series of squats and lunges.
- Check out your local gym for a trial pass. Even better, do this with a friend who can become a workout buddy, or ask your friends that are members at gyms whether they can take you to try out their favorite classes.
- When you travel for work or privately, walk the city instead of boarding the tour bus, or look for one of the bike guided tours in every major city, look for rental bikes that are available now everywhere.
- Rainy day workout – utilize an indoor staircase and walk the stairs to your favorite tunes.
- Play with your kids on the playground instead of checking your phone.
- Walk your kids to school and help alleviate traffic jams. Plan more time to walk from home or park further away.
- Turn up the music and dance!
Please share: what are some of your ideas to move more during your daily life?