In her 2013 Ted Talk, Nilofer Merchant tells us that on average, people sit an astonishing 9.3 hours a day. And while I don’t necessarily agree with the severity of Merchant’s claim that sitting has become the smoking of our generation, her argument that we spend more than half our day sedentary is an important one.
Starting an exercise routine can be daunting, especially when your daily routine consists of sitting in a car, sitting in an office, and sitting at home. The idea of going from 0 to 60 is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed and intimidated. But the key to any journey is taking that first step. Merchant suggests walking meetings. Here are NonFad Yogurt’s 5 Tips to Get Moving.
- Buy a pedometer. I tell all of my clients that the first step to a healthy lifestyle is understanding just how much you move in a day. Most people tend to overestimate how much we move and underestimate how much we eat. Quantifying activity by monitoring steps is a great motivation and you’ll be surprised at how soon you’re parking further away and taking the stairs just so you can meet your goal. My tip is to start out small. Monitor yourself for a week and then try adding 1,000 steps to that. It’s recommended that you walk 10,000 steps a day but start off at a number that works for you.
- TV Pushups – One of the key steps of habit building is creating and recognizing triggers. If you continuously react the same way to a given trigger, eventually it will become a habit. Try doing 5 pushups every time to turn on and off the TV. If that seems too easy, try 10! It doesn’t matter if the pushups are perfect or if you do them on your knees – just do it consistently and before you know it, you’ll do those pushups when the TV goes on without even thinking about it!
- Morning Jumping Jacks – Similar to number 2, try creating a morning habit and do 10 jumping jacks as soon as you get out of bed. Before you brush your teeth, take the dog for a walk, or even start that pot of coffee. Little bursts of activity in the morning have been shown to increase energy and your mood, so you’ve got no reason not to try it!
- Conference Call Squats – This one might be a little embarrassing if you don’t work in a private space, but it’s an example of a small change that can make a big difference. Every time you’re on the phone and don’t need to access important documents, do squats. Squats are great for the phone because you won’t be out of breath, they don’t make a lot of noise, and the movements are small and controlled (so you won’t be running around your office). And the best part is that multiple sets of 10 squats over the course of a 30 minute phone call can make a HUGE different in how your legs look and feel.
- Sign Up for Just 1 Class – This tip is for people who are already moving but looking to create a consistent workout routine. Think about what you enjoyed as a little kid – did you take dance class? Join a Zumba class. Did you love riding your bike around the neighborhood? Try spinning. There are so many options out there and instead of being intimidated you’ll quickly find that pretty much everyone in the class is just like you – a normal person just trying to be as healthy as possible. The accountability of signing up (and paying for) a class ahead of time will help guarantee that you make it. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself signing up for more and more classes each week!
What are your tips for sneaking activity into your day? What’s worked for you??