Being more active is such a challenge for so many people. Thanks to technology, so many of us find ourselves sitting down and staring at a screen for hours and hours on end. Whether it’s for work or leisure, the bottom line is that technology has made us lazy and a lot less active than we should be. On the other hand, busy schedules also tend to keep us tied up with work and personal affairs which, again, don’t always involve much daily exercise.
Lack of movement, in general, can affect your body and health in a lot of negative ways which can very easily be prevented by simply including more exercise in your day. Right from stiffness and body aches to very low metabolism which comes with its own set of negative effects on your health; if you aren’t moving your body and walking enough every day, this lifestyle will leave you with several regrets as you get older. With that said, it’s never too late to start exercising more; in fact, studies have shown the many benefits and reversals of health problems in individuals (of all ages) who have started incorporating more activity into their day-to-day life.
Now, the “challenging” part is how to fit daily exercise into a busy schedule. Well, MSK Therapy is here to share the simplest ways to do this that were right there in front of you this whole time! Read on.
7 Clever Ways to be More Active Every Day
Whether you work in an office or remotely; you’re a homemaker or a stay-at-home parent; if you need to include more activity in your day, here are seven creative ways to do that.
Park Further Away
It doesn’t matter where you’re going or what the final destination is; by parking further away from where you need to get to – the office, the supermarket, the dry cleaners, your friend’s house, etc – you will automatically increase the number of steps you take in the day. It might take a few more minutes to reach your destination but that really shouldn’t be any type of factor because we are all guilty of spending more than a few minutes just procrastinating! If you were to eliminate the amount of time you spend scrolling on social media or unnecessarily using your phone, that time could be used to be more active instead.
Choose Stairs Over Elevators
Again, most people choose the elevator over stairs because 1) it’s faster, and 2) it requires nothing more than to simply push a button. What they don’t realise is that climbing up and down stairs has many health benefits and therefore, should be taken advantage of whenever possible.
Among these benefits, research shows that using stairs regularly improves heart health, builds muscle, increases strength, and helps to burn unwanted fat. So, even if you’re going up to a much higher level of a building, walk up a few floors and catch the elevator from there.
Walk Around the House
A lot of people find it hard to motivate themselves while they are at home because all the comfort you need is at your disposal! Lazing on the sofa, lounging in bed, or sitting down and watching TV for hours are all very tempting, however, they certainly don’t increase your blood flow and circulation. What helps in that respect is walking more, even in your own home.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your house is; use whatever space is available to you to increase the number of steps you take in a day. Some clever ways to move around the house more without forcing it include walking while talking on the phone, cleaning the house, carrying part of your laundry to and fro the washing machine rather than the whole load all at once, and so on!
Stand Up More
It might sound silly or like an ineffective ‘activity’ to do but there are several health benefits linked to standing up as opposed to staying sedentary for a long period of time. If you have been sitting down for over an hour, simply standing up straight for a few minutes will reduce backaches and body pains, improve blood flow, and keep your core stronger, among other benefits.
Some clever ways to do this include standing up when someone is talking to you; when answering a call; when drinking water; while texting; and while reading emails. It also helps to use an app or smartwatch to remind you to get up and move every hour so that it becomes a habit. If you practice standing up more at home and at work, your body will certainly reap the benefits of this non-strenuous exercise.
Include Mobility Drills
Lack of movement/stretching leads to pain and stiffness in various parts of the body while also causing your muscles to grow weaker. The good news is that even the simplest of mobility drills that include stretching and minimal body movement are beneficial and, best of all, they don’t take up more than two minutes of your time!
All you need to do is 5 – 10 reps of each basic mobility exercise/stretch anywhere, at any time. These should include arm and shoulder movements, head and wrist rotations, and light stretches for your lower back, sides, neck, and hamstrings. If you don’t have privacy to do this at your workplace, consider quiet places like the washroom, an empty hallway, stairwell, etc.
Work Up an Appetite for Lunch
Pre-packed lunches and/or food deliveries services typically leave you sitting right where you are, and eating as soon as your lunch break rolls around. While most times you probably are already hungry and don’t need to work up an appetite, you should still use this opportunity to be a little more active rather than eating right away.
On days when you decide to order in, take a walk to a nearby cafe/restaurant and eat there instead. For those of you who are consistent at packing a lunch for yourself every day, take a walk to the nearest park or some other outdoor public space where you can enjoy your meal. A change of scene also does wonders for your mental health and refreshes your mind just in time for the second half of your day.
It really is all about the little things you do that add more exercise and steps to your day. Of course, a regular exercise/workout routine is highly recommended but, for whatever reasons you are unable to fit one into your daily schedule, these clever ways to include more activity in your day will surely benefit your health, body, and mind in the long run.
For more ways to keep your body, mind, muscles, and joints healthy, be sure to schedule regular appointments for spinal manipulation and other types of chiropractic care at MSK Therapy.