Getting physical activity in doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” scenario, even though it may sometimes seem like it. Perhaps you had a long day at work, or you have to spend time driving your kids around to their extracurricular activities, or maybe it’s raining and thundering and you simply don’t have the energy.
We all make these excuses every day – by the time we come home from work, it doesn’t feel as if there are enough hours in the day to get your necessary exercise, on top of all the other tasks you have to get done before you go to bed. Fortunately, there are some simple tips that can help you add more physical activity into your day, without taking up too much extra time!
1. Sneak more physical activity into your day.
Ideally, we’re supposed to get up and move around every 30-60 minutes throughout the day to initiate stronger blood flow, and to allow our bodies to stretch and warm up. But how many of us actually do that? (The answer – not many.) However, you can achieve this by tricking yourself into getting up more often. Maybe you use a smaller glass for your water than usual, so you have to get up and go to the sink every time you finish it. Or, maybe you make a trip to the copy room every time you have to use a stapler or hole puncher, instead of keeping your own on your desk. By ridding yourself of these small “conveniences” that we create for ourselves, you’ll be able to get up and move around much more than you would otherwise.
2. Take the route less traveled.
We generally try to get from one point to another in the quickest way possible. We take elevators, we park close to entrances, we enter and exit the doors nearest to us… But other than saving time, this doesn’t add any long-term value. Try making it a habit to take the stairs at work or to park at the back of your grocery store’s parking lot. These simple acts can add significantly more physical activity to your daily life.
3. Use your lunch break to take a walk.
We all get a lunch break, and we can easily use that time to make healthy decisions. Instead of eating at the office cafeteria, walk down the street to order food (and make sure to get something healthy!) Or, you can use your entire lunch break to take a walk or go to the gym. By opting to do this, you can bring a bagged lunch and eat at your desk either before or after your exercise. This will give you a designated period of time every day for physical activity.
4. Spend less time sitting with a standing desk.
This may be one of the easiest ways to get exercise – simply by standing in place! While it may not seem like much, standing is significantly healthier than sitting. You burn more calories by standing, and it is incredibly helpful to your posture as it decreases the ability to slouch or hunch over. It also helps in keeping blood sugar steady after a meal, and it encourages more movement overall.
5. Don’t hide your workout equipment.
Keep workout equipment in an easy-to-see view around the house. Lay your yoga mat out in front of the TV. Keep your 5-pound weights on the side of the desk. By keeping your equipment in sight, it’ll increase the probability of you using them (because let’s face it, who’s going to rummage through their hall closet to find their yoga mat at the end of the day?) Make it a habit of working out around the house while doing your daily activities, such as watching the news, cooking dinner, or even sitting at your computer.
6. Get those chores done.
By doing chores for 20 or 30 minutes a day, organizational experts believe you can achieve a cleaner and healthier lifestyle. In addition, you can also get a bit of a workout in! Vacuuming, doing dishes, taking out the trash, and doing laundry all demand physical activity. By taking time out of the day to do chores around the house, you’ll be able to get exercise AND do the tidying up that you’ve been putting off. Win/win!
7. Don’t hesitate to contact your physical therapist
Your physical therapist can help you address any chest and pains that may be limiting you from getting the physical activity you need. An added bonus of physical therapy sessions is that many of them contain targeted workouts to help you reach your physical goals, so you will already have time set aside for exercise on the days of your sessions.
Physical therapists are also great resources when seeking advice on how to remain active or improve your physical function. In circumstances where pain is an issue, your physical therapist can provide you with helpful techniques and accommodations for moving around physical barriers.
Are you looking to get moving once again? Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss how our services can help you achieve the active, pain-free life you want!