Starting an exercise program is a BIG step in the right direction, but you can always do MORE to make yourself healthier.
Consider how many opportunities to move each day that you turn down. Do you take the stairs or the elevator at work? Do you choose the same option at the mall and airport? If you really want to see changes, start thinking about exercise as something you can do at any time, at any location.
Be more proactive and take advantage of every opportunity to squeeze in a few more steps, stands, bends, twists & turns.
Lifestyle physical activity has been associated with the same benefits as structured exercise, including improvements in cardiovascular and cognitive functioning.
Weight Management & Stress Relief
Many of you are concerned about your weight. The activities we perform on a daily basis can help eat away at the excess calories we consume. In a typical moderate-to-vigorous, 60-minute exercise session, you might burn between 300-400 calories. However, the average woman consumes ~1800 calories, whereas the average man consumes ~2500 calories. If you have been inactive and you are overweight, you probably have a habit of consuming more calories. In other words, you need more movement to tip the scale and get “calories in” vs. “calories out” to tip in your favor.
Extra movement requires planned breaks throughout the day. We all get caught up in office or home activities that keep us tied to our chairs. Apart from burning calories and improving physical strength and endurance, integrating light-to-moderate physical activity whenever you can, will increase blood-flow, reduce muscle tension from sitting, improve your posture, and give you time to think and process daily events.
Here are some ideas for adding extra movement into your day:
- Nature walks. Weather permitting…. Get outside! Walking outside is associated with elevations in mood and adds variety to your regular exercise regimen. If you plan to take a nature walk, remember you aren’t there to take a leisurely stroll. If you go with a friend who likes to be chatty, be sure that your conversations don’t spoil your speed. The only thing that should be a change of pace is the scenery. Enjoy it!
- Parking close is lazy. Many of you have probably heard about gaining more steps by parking further away from places like your office, the grocery store, or even your workout facility (really, don’t stress when you lose the closest parking spot–that’s built-in exercise!). Every step counts! The next time you visit one of these places, try it out for yourself.
- Stair-climb Mt. Everest (without leaving Illinois). Stair-climbing takes more energy than using an elevator or escalator. Climbing stairs will not only increase your total steps per day but it also recruits your lower-body muscles. Using the stairs for 1 minute can burn up to 10 calories depending on how much you weigh. If you work on the 2nd floor and you go to and from work plus leave for your lunch break, that’s an extra 40 calories burned. If you use the stairs every day for 1 month, you’ll burn 1,200 calories. Imagine if you did this for a year
- Have a dog? Don’t “let them out,” “take them out.” The next time you decide to let your pet outside, go with them. Instead of letting the dog go out in the yard, take them around the block and keep both you and your pup active. Your dog may also need the extra push to stay healthy. Help each other out and take yourselves to the park or mall or anywhere pets are allowed to wander around. Silent walks with our furry friends can provide a great source of stress-relief.