First of all, what would be the benefit to increasing your activity?
Well, there are so many that come to mind and listed below are just a few of the benefits from increasing your physical activity levels:
Supports mental health
Prevention of chronic diseases
Increased energy levels throughout the day
Decreased soreness and stiffness from prolonged time spent sitting
Increased blood flow & keeping your body warm
Burning more energy throughout the day which also benefits the quality of sleep or ability to get to sleep.
With all that in mind, find one reason that you can relate to or would like to experience on a regular basis and remind yourself of that when you’re not feeling like being active or when you are thinking of taking the easy way out.
Okay, now time to get to work. Let’s look at the more commonly known ways to increase your daily activity.
Park a little further away from the shops or your office
You can do this to increase your overall steps each day and you will be surprised how quickly that adds up from just a week of parking the block further away from your destination.
Walk or ride to work
Work this into your schedule and/or set mini goals such as; “I aim to ride my bike to work 3 out 5 days per week”. This may depend on the weather or after work appointments, etc and any more than 3 days a week will be an added bonus!
Take up an active hobby or activity
This could be you enrolling into an activity or joining a team sport or even just swapping a usual hobby such as playing video games or scrolling through Facebook, with a more active one such as gardening or practicing yoga etc.
Swap your sitting time to standing or walking time
You can achieve much more than you realise and having that mindset is the first step to seeing new opportunities of movement throughout your day. For example, why not switch your Monday morning meetings in the tea room, to a walk and talk meeting or the weekend coffee catch up with a friend to a stroll and coffee.
Take your morning tea break outside
Going for a quick walk around the block on your tea break can help in many ways but one that has been found to be most beneficial is to get some vitamin D and help clear your mind for the next few hours of work. This is very useful to maintain a positive work balance and manage stress levels.
Take the stairs
Where there is an option, why not take the stairs! Most of the time you spend just as many minutes waiting for the next lift, that you may as well take the stairs.
Consider investing in a standing desk
This helps with your movement as you are more likely to go put your cup in the sink or want to move about if you are already up on your feet, compared to sitting all day where it is easy to let the cups pile up and get comfortable in the chair putting off moving opportunities. Converting a sit-to-stand desk is an even better option, if you have the chance to. This way you get to experience the best of both worlds.
Work with a physical therapist or health care professional
Learning to develop a healthy lifestyle isn’t always as easily done as it is said. Some may have underlying health issues or concerns or have just been in such a sedentary mindset for so long it’s more challenging to see ‘good reason’ to practice what you have just read. This is when a supportive professional, in the health industry can be the one to help support your lifestyle change.
All in all, if we can begin to see movement as a privilege, then the opportunities to increase our activity will start to jump out at us!