Sitting throughout the day is harming our health. More than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting – working at a computer, watching TV, commuting – they all take up time when we could be adding more movement during the day. On top of that, all that sitting affects our overall health as it requires less calories resulting in weight gain and leads to unused muscles that atrophy and weaken with time. It’s no wonder we begin to develop chronic diseases as we age.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of low-level exercise every week. That means 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Maybe that sounds like a lot to some, but when you make the effort to move more during the day, you’ll start burning a few extra calories, use muscles that normally are stagnant, and find you have more energy when you keep busy rather than keeping yourself seated.
Here are 20 easy ways in which to move more throughout the day:
1. Set a timer – every 30 minutes, stand up and stretch or walk around for at least 2 minutes.
2. Park your car farther from your work or when shopping.
3. If you take public transit, get off a few blocks before your destination and walk the rest of the way.
4. When talking on the phone, stand up and walk around.
5. Always take the stairs instead of the elevator when the opportunity arises.
6. Move your wastebasket forcing you to have to get up to use it.
7. Walk to a colleague’s desk instead of emailing or phoning.
8. Use resistance bands to do foot curls and arm stretches at your desk or at home.
9. When watching TV, every time a commercial comes on, get up and walk around the room until the show comes back on. Or do pushups, squats, or lunges.
10. Take 10 minutes out of your lunchtime to go for a walk.
11. Each day do something to clean your home tidying up – dusting, vacuuming, washing windows which all require movement and using up of calories.
12. While watching TV, practice yoga, Pilates or just basic stretching movements.
13. When brushing your teeth, exercise your calf muscles by rising up onto the balls of your feet, hold for two seconds, then sink down. Repeat 20 times or more. Do this also while washing dishes or standing in line.
14. At least once a day, play music you dance to.
15. If waiting on your child at a sports practice or music lesson, walk around the practice field or building.
16. At work, walk to the water cooler at regular intervals during the day.
17. Use a restroom on a different floor and take the stairs to reach it.
18. When taking out the trash, walk or jog around the block before you return home.
19. Pull weeds around your house or garden.
20. When you get home from work, take a brisk 5 minute walk to clear your head and build energy for the rest of the evening.