Being physically active is important to improving our health. The effort of doing that, however, can be daunting. Here are 10 things you can do that don’t take much effort but result in increasing the amount of exercise you do in a day.
1- Take the stairs
Whether you’re at work, the mall, the subway, the hospital, opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. If you work or live on the 20th floor, get off the elevator a few floors before yours and take the stairs the rest of the way. If you’re at a subway station you’ll reach the next floor faster than the crowd as there is generally a line up to take the escalator. If you do take the escalator, walk up or down them instead of standing and waiting.
2- Drink more water
This is healthy in general (DocMikeEvans), however, it also leads to needing to go to the bathroom more often. This means getting 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
When going to the grocery store, mall, work, or bank, park at the back of the parking lot instead of as close to the doors as possible. This will result in a few extra minutes of walking and movement every day. Not only is this 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. Make sure to evenly distribute multiple bags on both sides. 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 (don’t use the shopping cart)
This tip works best if you are within walking distance of the grocery store. Make sure to distribute the weight across a number of reusable tote bags, or even use a backpack for heavier items when walking home with your groceries. If you don’t live within walking distance of the grocery store, try doing two trips throughout the week: the first for large bulk buying with a shopping cart, the second for repeat produce buying (because we know you’ve eaten all those healthy fruits and veggies) that you can use the shopping basket for instead.
5 - Walk more
Whenever possible, walk to your destination instead of driving. If you need to go to two different stores in the same plaza, or even one plaza over, go for a walk instead of driving the extra 200m.
6 - 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. Need ideas? Download the free Straighten Up Canada app. It provides 12 easy to perform posture exercises that you can use for an ergonomic break.
7 - Clean the snow off your car
This one seems obvious, even just for safety. Despite this, there are many cars on the road that have a lot of snow still left on the roof and windows. 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 - Get out of the house
Your community has events going on all the time (Snapd Newmarket), instead of coming home after work and staying in, go out with family and friends before or after dinner for an hour. Go to an organized event, go skating, go for a walk. The best way to achieve this is to plan in advance, or go straight from work before going home.
9 - 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 get done by someone else. When dinnertime comes around, while one person cooks, another person starts to clean the kitchen, while someone else sets the table. Household chores become a fun social event, while everyone is standing, walking, and moving around.
10 - Turn sedentary leisure time into active leisure time
We all have a 'go to' that we love. Netflix, books, and computer games are some of the more common activities. Be creative; find ways to enjoy these activities without sitting for the entire time. Instead of reading your new book, try using an audiobook instead. You can do household chores, go for walks, and even brush your teeth while listening to a great novel. Stand up or alternate positions while playing videogames, use a stand up desk while playing computer games. Do simple workout activities while watching your favorite show: jogging on the spot (or treadmill if you have one), crunches, side planks, etc. You can still do the things you love while moving.
Increasing the amount of physical activity in your day doesn’t have to be difficult. 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.