We know that physical activity is important to our health, but when we think of physical activities, we think of taking an hour or more out of our day to accomplish it. What if it didn't involve a lengthy amount of time? What if it's just doing something that you're already doing but in a different way? What if is just a habit that you employ to increase the amount of mobility or strength you use throughout the day? This updated post shares 8 easy tips to get you moving (to see the original post click here).
1- Take the stairs
This is great for our legs - we can get some strength and even cardio by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. If you work or live on a high floor, get off the elevator a few floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way. If you’re taking the subway, most often you'll beat the crowd (and avoid it) by taking the stairs instead of the escalator. If you are taking the escalator, save some time by walking up or down them instead of standing and waiting.
2- Drink more water
The one thing that will always make us get up and move is the need to go to the bathroom. A full bladder is not a great feeling, but it is a great motivator to get up off your chair and take a quick walk to relieve yourself. Drinking water is healthy in general (see DocMikeEvans related video), but it also gets us up and moving! You can combine this with tip#1 by going to the bathroom a floor or two above or below where you work or live, by taking the stairs. You can also use a smaller glass, meaning you have to get up more often to refill it.
3 - Park further away when shopping
We're tempted to park as close to the doors as possible. There are multiple benefits, however, by parking further away. Not only is the few extra minutes of walking great for your legs and torso, but if you’re carrying any bags, briefcases, or groceries your arms and upper body are activated as well. When carrying bags, make sure to evenly distribute them on both sides of your body. Or, if it’s only one bag, make sure to keep your shoulders level (instead of hiking against the weight), keep your core muscles activated, and alternate between arms.
4 - At the grocery store only buy how much you can carry
Make sure to distribute the weight across a number of reusable tote bags, or even use a backpack for heavier items when walking with your groceries. If both you and your partner like to be involved with grocery shopping, shop together, you'll be able to carry more between the two of you. One potential downside to only buying the amount you can carry is that you may need to do 2 trips over the week.
5- Take breaks from sitting
There are a lot of jobs out there that are sedentary based resulting in sitting all day. Although having proper and correct posture is important to help prevent injuries, an even more important aspect to this is to take breaks and move around. Your muscles and joints like to move, so take a break, move around, and do some stretches. Straighten Up Canada is a free app for your phone that provides 12 easy to perform posture exercises that you can use for an ergonomic break.
6 - Rake your leaves
With the fall season in full swing, many folks end up raking 10+ yard waste bags in one sitting. Try break it up and do a little bit every day. If you are planning on doing some longer stretches, make sure to take rest breaks and do a warm-up beforehand (see tip #5 app).
7 - Clean the snow off your car (when winter comes around)
There are many cars on the road that have a lot of snow still left on the roof and windows, which unfortunately is dangerous. A lot of people let the wiper blades do the work for them or window heat to melt the snow. Leave an extra 5 minutes early (dress warmly) and clean the snow off your car. In addition to the windows, clear off the roof, the license plate, and the lights!
8 - Share the load
When it comes to household duties participate in them together. This will get everyone moving and goal-oriented instead of sitting waiting for things to be done by someone else. When dinnertime comes around, while one person cooks, another person can start to clean the kitchen, while someone else sets the table. Household chores become a social event, making it fun, interactive, and active.
Increasing the amount of physical activity in your day doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. A few simple changes or additions can help get you moving.
Dr. Judith McCann has been living in York Region for over 15 years. After going to Queen's University in Kingston for Kinesiology, and Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto to become a chiropractor, she decided to move back and open Haptic Health and Chiropractic in Newmarket. In February 2017, Haptic Health and Chiropractic moved 10 minutes up the road to Sharon in East Gwillimbury.