Admittedly my job requires that I use a computer for most of the day. For a lot of us this is true - it's just how our society has evolved. We also know that the more we sit, the less we exercise. And I don't need to tell you, the common advice is that we should be getting plenty of exercise. Which is why #SiitingIsTheNewSmoking!
Sitting is making us sick and fat. Sitting decreases our ability to burn fat (1), decreases bone density (2) and increases blood pressure (3). None of that is good! So how do we find movement in a sedentary world? I find that I have to become creative, perhaps invest in a bit of technology (because I'm like that) and find motivation for movement in my day. But there is also a mind-shift that needs to happen with my priorities. It's easy for this type-A-over-acheiver to get my priorities all out of whack just so I can be productive! Oh how that feeling of accomplishment is such a short-lived high; but that is another post for another day.
Here are my top 5 tips for increasing movement every day
- Make sure that health, not wealth, is your #1 priority. It's hard to do, but really we can't do buckus with wealth or even pay our bills if we are not healthy enough to enjoy the income or perform basic functions. I learned this one the hard way by getting sick from over-achiever syndrome and not placing more importance on my health. If you are a GTD kind of person, make the first task in your day to be health and movement. Do a walk before you get sucked into the internet, er... I mean, turn on the computer to do work.
- Take a walk. It doesn't have to be an hour long or 5 miles, it can be around the block. Just take a walk. Every day! It doesn't require special equipment (even though I love cycling), it can be done just about anywhere, and heck you don't really even need shoes! Just the act of taking a walk can get more oxygen to the brain (4), reduce stress (5) and help you focus on the next task at hand. Before you know it you'll be able to easily do hour long walks each day if that is your desire.
- Ditch the chair - try a standing desk or a treadmill desk. As I write this, I am also casually taking active steps, toward nowhere mind you, while I type. My body is in motion and I feel much better throughout the day. I started with a standing desk, but ultimately I decided to invest in the treadmill desk to optimize the amount of movement I can get in during the day. You needn't invest a ton of money to make a set up that works for you and your work space. I mean, you can if you want to, but you can also do this on the cheap. I alternate between walking, standing and sitting on a balance ball throughout the typical work day.
- Try the 10,000 step challenge. I love science and emperical data. I am also no Dave Asprey, but I started doing a bit of biohacking since I started my own n=1 experiments to understand more about my body in terms of movement. So I got a simple step counter and gave myself a challenge of 10,000 steps in every day. At first, this was a challenge and I needed breaks. But now I often find myself doing 12,000 or more steps in a day. It means parking at the outer edge of the parking lot, taking the stairs instead of an elevator or going the long way about the market.
- Choose to walk or ride a bike for transportation. This is not always feasible, but I'll bet there are errands that are close to where you are which you could walk or use a bike to complete. Try multi-modal transportation to enable longer distance commutes. You may not do this every day, but strive to do it once a week to start - a couple times a week is fantastic!
So this sedentary lifestyle that seems to be forced upon us, really is a choice. We can choose to make our life a bit more active. We don't even have to don lycra or fancy sneakers. We just have to choose different thinking.
What do you do to integrate more movement in your day?