No Gym Necessary: Five tips to incorporate exercise into your everyday
No Gym Necessary
Five tips to incorporate exercise into your everyday
Exercise has gotten a bad reputation in our society. Presumably you cringed a little at seeing that "e" word and immediately envisioned yourself committing to a long hour every day in the gym. Think again. Much like the concept driving Malcom Gladwell's best-selling book, The Tipping Point, multiple small changes can be a benefit to your health. Simply increasing movement in your life can boost your overall health. There are no shortcuts to being healthy, but small actions and efforts to get more muscles engaged can go a long way. Here's five simple tips to "tip" your way to better health.
Use Your Technology
Search your smartphone for the fitness or pedometer function. Once you've found it, activate it! For the first few days, just see what happens and track how many steps you walk each day. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, a healthy goal is to walk roughly 10,000 steps or 5 miles per day. Sound like a lot? When you consider every step you take – to the water cooler, to the coffee shop, to the restroom – it's not that much! In the first few days, if your pedometer shows fewer than 7,500 steps per day, try adding an extra 100 steps every day.
If you drove to work, where is your car parked? If you chose the closest space to the office or you have that coveted "Employee of the Month" spot, you missed a great opportunity to get a little more movement today. Even if it's raining, you can add more physical activity to your life just by choosing a parking spot or bus stop further away from the office. Check the pedometer setting on your smartphone on a day you park up front versus in the back. You'll see a small, but meaningful difference. (Remember, we're looking for small changes which "tip" to a bigger change)
How are you sitting right now? If you're like a large percentage of society, you're slouching. Sit up straight! Sitting up straight engages the muscles in your core. This is one small change that can have big benefits when you sit up straight more often than you slouch. Want to engage even more muscles while you're working on reports or doing research? Find a tennis ball or slightly larger rubber ball to squeeze between your knees! Better yet, change your chair from the ergonomically engineered roller chair to a stability ball chair. The unstable environment will get those core stabilizer muscles kicking in!
When you're on a conference call, what do you do? Slouch in your chair while catching up on email or tweeting with friends? Instead, try using your speaker phone or a Bluetooth headset and wandering the office catching up on some filing or hand-delivering a note to a co-worker (someone NOT on the call). The same trick works at home – just tidy up a few things rather than filing.
The next time you're walking downtown, take the opportunity to check yourself out in the windows. Are you walking with your shoulders back and head up or are you leaning forward looking at the ground? Just like having good posture while you're sitting, try having better posture while you're racking up the steps! Much like sitting up straight, walking with good posture engages even more muscles.
Now you have five simple tips that incorporate more activity into your day. Finding small adjustments can lead to big changes over time. Of course, if you're looking to make a bigger change to your weight or overall health, you'll need to find more ways to incorporate even more activity into your life. The gym doesn't appeal to you? Try a dance class or a sport you enjoy. What about volunteering to walk dogs at the Humane Society or help out at a horse farm? If you don't like something the first time, try something else. Any activity that gets you off the couch or roller-chair can help – just find something you enjoy.
Lovell Marian is a Stott® Pilates instructor, ACSM certified personal trainer, and TRX Suspension Training® instructor with PurePilatesTC.com. She also works as a marketing consultant with c2b consulting. firstname.lastname@example.org or 231.633.3885.