The way we monitor health and wellness has changed. With handy devices like FitBits and apps that synch our workouts on our phones, we have the ability to track how active we are throughout the day easily. For most of us, this comes down to the number of steps we take, with rewards set up for hitting that 10,000 steps goal. Some people even get bonus employee benefits for their activity level, in initiatives put forward by insurance companies.
However, modern life is more and more sedentary, and while that might not seem like a big problem at first, it can significantly increase your risk for life-threatening problems such as heart disease and diabetes. It’s positively standard nowadays to work at a desk for 8 hours a day, and then go home only to sit down again and spend a few more hours on either the computer or watching television.
When you start to think about it, there are many ways that we do whatever we can to avoid physical activity. It’s built into us to avoid extra exertion. But with a mental flip, it’s so much easier to get in your daily steps! It all comes down to our habits. Here are some smart ideas to help you increase the number of steps that you get on average every day, and work towards a healthier, more fit and active you.
PARK FAR AWAY
Seriously, how long do we spend trawling the parking lot for the space that will give us the shortest distance from here to there? It’s understandable on a stormy day, but most of the time, it’s just a waste of time and gasoline, not to mention an exercise in frustration as we wait for pedestrians to mosey across the crosswalk. Instead, give your car some breathing room by parking far away from the entrance.
TAKE THE STAIRS
Bonus: You get to avoid awkward elevator encounters.
SCHEDULE WORK BREAKS
Set up alarms on your phone–at least four times a day–or perhaps on your computer. These should remind you to get up and step away from the computer for a moment. Not only will this help you increase your steps, but it’s also good for your eyes!
WALK AND TALK
Both at work and at home, there are many times when we’re simply talking with someone. Instead of sitting, try walking and talking. Take your phone with you as you walk around the park. Schedule a walking meeting with coworkers. Take the family out on a walk after dinner. Not only is this good for your body, but it can also improve the quality of your conversations. Walking improves creative thinking, and helps us to be more positive-minded.
ENTERTAIN YOURSELF DURING WALKS
Along this same vein, it can be useful to set yourself up with media that you like to consume while walking. See if you can get into audiobooks, or podcasts, that can accompany you on a daily walk that you’ll find yourself enjoying more and more.
TREADMILL DURING YOUR TELEVISION SHOW
How much television do you watch on average? Some estimates calculate that the average American spends 3 hours a day just watching tv. But what if you were getting in steps during that time? Having a treadmill at home and setting it up in your tv room is a great way to get more fit. This is especially effective if you have a show that you really like, but you don’t watch it unless you’re also walking or working out in some other way. That way, you feel almost excited about the exercise time, because you’re curious to know what happens next in your show. Make sure that you get a treadmill that works in yourspace, and one that’s nice enough to pace comfortably.
PLAY WITH THE KIDS
You want your children to be active and healthy, and usually, it doesn’t take all that much work to get them moving. The trouble is keeping up with them! But do your best. Instead of playing a board game or watching a show with your kids when you get home for the day, play hide-and-seek, Simon says, or jump rope together. It’s great family bonding time, and they’ll love you for it!
GET UP TO ASK A QUESTION, INSTEAD OF SHOOTING A CHAT MESSAGE
At work, it’s usually much more simple to send a chat than to get up and engage in a conversation. Instead, get out of your desk and go talk face-to-face with your coworker. Not only does this get you moving more often, but it’s also usually an excellent opportunity to improve coworker relationships and brainstorm creatively together.
DRINK MORE WATER
Water is good for you, and most specialists recommend getting in a certain amount every day. Instead of setting yourself up with a giant jug at your desk, have smaller cups that you need to refill regularly so that you get up to go to the water cooler more often. Bonus: if you hydrate properly, you’ll probably also need to go to the bathroom more often, as well. It’s also very useful to get in the water you need long before bedtime.