Making Small Changes Can Increase Your Fitness Levels
Most people believe that in order to stay fit they have to dedicate hours every day to working out or visiting the gym. This is why many of us find ourselves saying that we have no time to exercise! However, exercising and staying physically fit doesn’t have to take hours out of your day. There are a few basic elements you can incorporate into your daily routine that will add up to a healthier, more active lifestyle.
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1. Go The Long Way
We know — taking the shortest, fastest route typically makes your day way faster and easier. However, ask yourself if the time you saved by parking a few spaces away from the front of the store really added any value to your health. See if you can make a game out of parking as far away as possible (preferably the end of the parking lot!) so that you have to push your shopping cart or carry your bag a greater distance. When you’re at work, unless you’re seriously late for a meeting, take the stairs instead of the elevator!
2. Use Footsteps as Currency For Lunch
If you’re at work, choosing a healthy restaurant or marketplace for lunch instead of going to the cafeteria is a great option. Pack your lunch? No problem. If there aren’t any eateries around, go on a short 15-20 minute walk before you return to your brown-bag lunch. For those of you working from home or retired, taking a walk around your neighborhood or to a local grocery store to gather ingredients for lunch is fine too. Living out in the country or the suburbs? Pretend that your daily walk is the “fee” you have to pay in order to get into your kitchen and make that sandwich.
3. Opt For a Standing Desk
You might be thinking “A standing desk? But don’t all desks stand?” A standing desk is a desk that allows you to stand up while you’re working! It’s much healthier to stand in place and work than it is to sit for 8 hours a day in front of your computer. You burn more calories, you hunch less (eliminating shoulder nad neck pain), and your fitness levels are boosted significantly. This is because your blood sugar will remain more steady after a meal, which encourages more movement. There are tons of brands out there that sell standing desks as well as collapsible extensions you can place on your regular desk when you’d like to take a break from sitting all day.
4. Use Chores As An Excuse To Get Fit
Did you know that 20 or 30 minutes of chores a day equates to a much cleaner, organized space? You can get a ton of dishes done in that time, not to mention sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, or weeding your garden! These tasks can be dreaded however, if you remember that doing them also burns calories and strengthens your core, it might help you feel more eager to attack them!
5. Trick Yourself Into Running Errands
You can trick yourself into getting up and moving around. Use a smaller glass for water or a smaller mug for tea. This way you will most likely have to return to your kitchen more often for a refill. You can also make a point to go down the hall to ask a coworker for office supplies or make a trip upstairs in your building to talk to someone in HR about your vacation hours. Trying out fitness technology can be really motivating as well — if our Fitbits have taught us anything, it’s that a hundred extra steps here and there really do add up over the course of the day!
6. Keep Fitness Equipment & Tools Nearby
Put your yoga mat or your 5-pound weights under your bed or in an area you walk into often. Hang your resistance bands on a hook in your kitchen or laundry room. This way you’ll see them when you walk into that room and you’ll be more likely to do a few reps and exercises while watching TV or waiting for your food to cook!
7. Physical Therapy Is Always An Option
According to The National Institute of Health, being active has been shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It may even help you live longer. If you find yourself avoiding physical activity because you’re in pain, know that there’s help out there for you.
Physical therapy can address your various aches and pains that are keeping you from getting the right amount of exercise you need. Many physical therapist sessions are considered a work out themselves because of all the stretches and exercise your therapist will have you complete. This can also help you meet your weekly cardio or endurance goals.
Your physical therapist will also give you daily tips for changing up your everyday habits for a healthier, more active lifestyle. He or she will review your normal routine and offer advice on how you can incorporate more fitness activities and exercise into it. If you suffer from chronic pain, your PT can show you how moving in certain ways can reduce or even eliminate your physical challenges.
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