We all know that exercise is good for us. However, the pressures of daily life tend to get in the way of taking care of our bodies and overall health. The end result is that we spend too much time being inactive. Just think about all of the hours spent sitting in the car while commuting to work or our kids' after-school activities. Or at our office desks each day in front of our computers? Let's not forget resting on couch in front of the TV each evening.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that adults in the United States are sedentary an estimated 7.7 hours each day. Not moving for such long periods on a daily basis can result in increased risk of cardiovascular disease, body pains and aches, which can even lead to premature death.
Getting the daily physical activity we need does not have to be complicated. It just takes some self-awareness, creativity and will. Yes, it takes effort and commitment to want to incorporate exercise into our daily lifestyles, but the results are worth it. You can boost your energy level and mood, strengthen your muscles, including your heart, lose weight and improve your overall health. Try incorporating these three ideas into your daily life:
3 Ways to Get Your Body Moving
1. Commute by foot or bike.
Depending upon where you live and the location of your office, consider a new way to commute to and from work. Keep the car in the garage and either walk or cycle to work. Pack an extra set of clothes and shoes to change into at the office.
If commuting by foot or bike is not possible, try parking your car farther away from your office or other destinations. This will enable you get more exercise while out doing errands. Additionally, whenever you can, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. It is recommended to get 10,000 steps a day. Even if you don't achieve this goal, attempting to do so is already an improvement in your lifestyle. You'll soon notice that it will be instinctive to go out of your way to get in those extra steps.
2. Make extra work for yourself.
If at home doing housework, take extra trips on purpose up and down the stairs or from room to room. It may take longer to get the chores done, but you'll boost your heart rate and burn more calories in the process. Keep your phone at the far end of the house so you'll have to get up and walk to it each time it beeps. Get rid of your riding lawn mower and buy one you need to push and walk yourself.
If at the office, go out of your way to use the bathroom on a different floor so you'll need to clime more stairs. Consider spending your lunch hour taking a refreshing walk instead of eating. Grab a coffee from a Starbucks that's two blocks away from your office instead of in the lobby. Or, place your trash bin farther away from your desk so you'll have to get up and walk to it every time you have something to throw away.
3. Stand up more.
If nothing else, it's important to at least stand up and stretch your legs periodically. If you can, try to sneak in some jumping jacks or squats. Get into the habit of standing up whenever you talk on the phone or check your inbox for emails. Instead of talking with a co-worker on the phone, get up and walk into his or her office.
Think about organizing an office activity that requires physical activity. You'll score points for unifying the team in a social manner. The exercise will also boost everyone's health and overall productivity.
A New (More Active) You
These steps will help you get - and stay - on a path to a healthier, more active lifestyle. Find a friend, co-worker or online network that will help keep you accountable. The more the merrier, so the next time you take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood or make that coffee run, ask a friend to come along. Soon, it will become a routine workout. You will soon find that becoming more physically active in one aspect of your life will motivate you to lead a healthier life overall