You wake up, get ready for the day and sit down at your desk. You work from home so you don’t have to travel far to get to your “office”. You stay seated, getting up every 2/3 hours to take a few steps to the bathroom, then maybe the kitchen, then you’re back at your desk until the end of your work day. You finish the day, shut down your computer and realise it’s already time to start thinking about your next meal. You decide to skip your scheduled exercise session this evening, like you have for the last 3 days. You make yourself a quick meal, turn on your favourite show and open up your social media network of choice on your smartphone. You scroll and scroll, glancing up at the TV occasionally. You text some friends/family, have a shower and then get into bed. Tomorrow, this gets repeated.
If this sounds like your daily schedule, you might need a bit of a change to improve your health.
Studies have found that sitting for the majority of your day may have disastrous effects on your health; including increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Now, I could tell you that all you need to do is include 30 minutes of exercise into your day but let’s just be honest, we don’t all have the time nor motivation to exercise daily; so, in this blog we’re going to look at more practical ways to increase your daily movement – in and out of your workspace!
Greetings my friends! It’s Hella again and good news, I’m still on my health binge. At this point, it has become more of a lifestyle and I’m really happy about that! As many of you may not know, I live in South Africa and unfortunately, it isn’t safe to walk around whenever and wherever you want, depending on where you live. Most people don’t use public transport here so there’s a substantially low need to walk daily – in fact, if you don’t purposefully exercise, you’ll live a rather sedentary life. Recently while I was scrolling (I know, the irony!), I came across an interesting article that spoke about how three 5-minute strolls throughout your day can improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels – ultimately improving your overall health and longevity. This had me thinking; are we really living such sedentary lives that we have to SCHEDULE 15 minutes of walking into our day?
Sadly, the answer is yes.
This article shone a light onto just how important movement is. Our bodies were made to move, not sit behind a desk all day. If you’ve chosen a career that keeps you moving, that’s great! However, a 2019 article in The Washington Post found that the average American adult spends 6 and a half hours sitting daily, while the average American teenager spends 8 hours sitting daily! Considering this was pre-2020 and the movement of “working form home”, we can only imagine how much this figure has increased. So, let’s cut to the chase and look at how you can go above and beyond the 15 minutes, without even thinking about it.
- Get a walking pad
I’ve seen these all-over social media and I think they’re great! Easy to store and often cheaper than a treadmill, a walking pad can be used with a standing desk so you can walk, and work, at the same time.
- If you can, walk during meetings and Zoom calls
If you work from home, you’re probably on a lot of virtual meetings. If you don’t have to be near your computer, then why not walk around your home while you’re on your call. You can go outside for a stroll, neaten up your home or even just pace while you speak.
- Keep all of your food in the kitchen
Do not, I repeat, do not keep your meals or snacks in your workspace. Not only will this encourage needless snacking but it will also stop you from taking that short walk to the kitchen for a glass of water, a piece of fruit or your lunch. While you’re walking to the kitchen, take a detour and enjoy the view too.
- Get a smaller water bottle
I know you’re thinking about your 2L trusty water bottle now but just hear me out. If you’ve gotten into the habit of drinking lots of water throughout the day, having a smaller water bottle will force you to refill it more often. It’s all about the steps, baby!
- Get a fitness tracker
I’ve had a fitness tracker for years now and it’s something I can’t live without. If you don’t have one yet, I suggest you invest in one and make a habit of wearing it daily. You can activate alarms on your watch that will remind you to move every hour. This is a great way to remind yourself to move, even when you don’t want to.
- Take the stairs
If you live, or work, in a building with stairs – always take them. Something so simple as taking the stairs will improve your health drastically because the elevation will also give you a gentle workout. Work/live on the 10th floor? Take the elevator to the 8th floor and then walk the last 2 flights!
- Document your exercise
One of the best things I’ve started doing is documenting my healthy habits. You can purchase a habit tracker or even just write it into a notebook. Every small success will motivate you to do more. So, if you did a total of 2000 steps today, document it and aim for 2100 the next day. Slow and steady increases will make it feel achievable and pleasant!
- Lastly, exercise
I said I wouldn’t say this, buuuuut I have to. Move your body, even if its only 10 minutes a day. You don’t have to be a puddle of sweat at the end of your workout for it to have benefitted you. You also don’t need a gym contract or even exercise equipment to move. Whether you like to walk, run or dance; just do it and enjoy it! Forcing yourself to do exercises you don’t like will leave you feeling demotivated and probably a little irritated. Instead, find what you love and do that over and over again.
If you grew up in the early 2000s, you probably know the infamous line from Mean Girls – “you can’t sit with us”. And darlings, this rings true here. You really can’t sit with us; except, I’m saying this to help you. Stop sitting and watching your health decrease with each hour on social media. There is nothing quite like the rush of good feelings after exercise, so please find ways to make movement a habit. Start with 5 minutes and increase it till you’re at a place where life feels easier, your body feels lighter and your mind feels brighter. And if that doesn’t get you up and moving, just think about how fit and healthy you’ll look at the age of 80 if you start this now 😉
Till next time!
Love and light,