For many of us, staying in shape can turn into an “all-or-nothing” attitude. Maybe we had a long day at work, or maybe we have to drive our kids to their extracurricular activities, or maybe it’s dark and cold and we simply don’t want to put in the effort. These are common excuses, and we all feel them. By the time you get home from work, it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to work out, on top of everything else you have to do. However, our physical therapists at ProActive Physical Therapy have some simple tips you can add into your daily lifestyle that can allow for more physical activity, without having to hit the gym!
1. Take the longer and more difficult route.
We generally try to get from one point to another in the quickest way possible. We take elevators, we park close to entrances, we enter and exit the doors nearest to us… But other than saving time, this doesn’t add any long-term value. Try making it a habit to take the stairs at work or to park at the back of your grocery store’s parking lot. These simple acts can add significantly more physical activity to your daily life.
2. Get your steps in during lunch.
We all get a lunch break, and we can easily use that time to make healthy decisions. Instead of eating at the office cafeteria, walk down the street to order food (and make sure to get something healthy!) Or, you can use your entire lunch break to take a walk or go to the gym. By opting to do this, you can bring a bagged lunch and eat at your desk either before or after your exercise. This will give you a designated period of time every day for physical activity.
3. Invest in a standing desk.
This may be one of the easiest ways to get exercise – simply by standing in place! While it may not seem like much, standing is significantly healthier than sitting. You burn more calories by standing, and it is incredibly helpful to your posture as it decreases the ability to slouch or hunch over. It also helps in keeping blood sugar steady after a meal, and it encourages more movement overall.
4. Trick yourself into getting up more often.
Ideally, we’re supposed to get up and move around every 30-60 minutes throughout the day to initiate stronger blood flow, and to allow our bodies to stretch and warm up. But how many of us actually do that? (The answer – not many.) However, you can achieve this by tricking yourself into getting up more often. Maybe you use a smaller glass for your water than usual, so you have to get up and go to the sink every time you finish it. Or, maybe you make a trip to the copy room every time you have to use a stapler or hole puncher, instead of keeping your own on your desk. By ridding yourself of these small “conveniencies” that we create for ourselves, you’ll be able to get up and move around much more than you would otherwise.
5. Do chores every day.
By doing chores for 20 or 30 minutes a day, organizational experts believe you can achieve a cleaner and healthier lifestyle. In addition, you can also get a bit of a workout in! Vacuuming, doing dishes, taking out the trash, and doing laundry all demand physical activity. By taking time out of the day to do chores around the house, you’ll be able to get exercise AND do the tidying up that you’ve been putting off. Win/win!
6. Keep your equipment in sight.
Keep workout equipment in an easy-to-see view around the house. Lay your yoga mat out in front of the TV. Keep your 5-pound weights on the side of the desk. By keeping your equipment in sight, it’ll increase the probability of you using them (because let’s face it, who’s going to rummage through their hall closet to find their yoga mat at the end of the day?) Make it a habit of working out around the house while doing your daily activities, such as watching the news, cooking dinner, or even sitting at your computer.
7. Don’t procrastinate getting physical therapy treatments.
Physical therapy is helpful in addressing the aches and pains that may keep you from pursuing your active lifestyle. Many physical therapy sessions are also workouts in themselves, meaning that you’ll be getting physical activity by attending your treatments. ProActive Physical Therapy can also be used as a great resource when looking for advice on remaining active and adding more exercise into your daily habits. If chronic pain is an issue, your physical therapist can show you specific moves that address the physical challenges.
If you have pain that’s keeping you from maintaining an active lifestyle give our Sioux Center or Sheldon, IA office a call today. We’ll be happy to discuss how physical therapy can help you manage or eliminate symptoms and live a more active life.