Let’s face it, many of us lead sedentary lives. Whether you work from home or from an office, or you’re the multi-faceted caregiver for your family, or you have a health condition that restricts you, getting exercise or even moderate activity can often be a puzzle that’s hard to solve.
Don’t fret: even if you’ve got a challenging schedule, here are five easy ways I’ve found to incorporate healthy and fun activity into your day!
Look for reasons to take breaks at work
If you’ve got a desk job, you already know how it is to get up periodically and move around. I’m not suggesting that you slack off at work, but remember to take small breaks throughout the day to jump into physical activity whenever you can. The Pomodoro Technique is a productivity enhancer for each hour of the work day which utilizes 25 minutes of work on your focused tasks, then a 5 minute break, then repeat for the remainder of the hour. After 3-4 periods of this, you can move to a 20-30 break. You could use your break for movement, making this a great framework for integrating both your exercise and your work projects during the day!
You can walk the stairs or around the perimeter of your office during lunch breaks. You can also search Google for simple exercises and stretches to squeeze in while sitting at your desk. If you work at home it can be even easier to incorporate walk breaks and intermittent stretches into your daily routine. You could even take conference calls while walking outside or around your office setting.
Get a pet
The companionship alone makes having a dog or cat a fantastic idea! But did you realize that owning a pet can improve your overall activity level? Taking daily walks and spending time with your pet outdoors is an ideal way to make moderate exercise fun. Another perk of having a pet is that it may also reduce anxiety, depression and loneliness.
Make a point to eat out less
When you consider shopping for groceries, pushing the cart, and the clean-up after your meal is over, the entire project can add up to lots of activity!
Cooking at home not only means healthier eating, but standing on your feet, moving around the kitchen and chopping and mixing food burns even more calories than eating out.
Take a walk
Walking is a simple, yet really effective way to get more physical activity into your day. Are you taking advantage of all of your opportunities to walk?
Walk up the stairs at your house or apartment instead of always taking elevators and sitting for long periods. You can always choose to park further away from the store and other venues you’re heading to.
Even walking to the end of the driveway each day to get the mail instead of picking it up from the car window makes a difference!
Choose comfortable shoes. If your feet are comfortable you’re likely to spend more time walking. Your physical therapist can help you select the best shoes for your feet.
Count your steps. Your phone, an activity tracker like a Fitbit, or even a simple pedometer can track your daily number of steps. It’s a fun and motivating way to measure how much ground you’ve covered each day.
Walk with someone. Stepping out with a friend or loved one will help you stay motivated and engaged, even on the days you don’t feel like it. I’ve never come back from a walk without feeling even better than when I started!
Make an appointment with your physical therapist
A physical therapist can design an exercise routine that improves your overall stamina, strength and flexibility. Whether it’s enhancing your athletic performance or increasing your ability to carry out daily activities with greater ease and endurance, a PT can help you reap huge benefits.
Your PT can also help improve long-term injuries that never completely healed, and reduce pain from chronic conditions like arthritis. Even if you’re in great shape and good health, your PT can devise optimal ways to help you stay active and feel great.
By making these five simple lifestyle changes you’ll dramatically increase your activity level and feel happier and more satisfied!
I’d love to work with you to help create a plan to get more activity and energy into your life. You can call me at 720-320-4212, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Here’s to your best health!
Dr. Trish PT, DPT