You might have heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking” or talk of the sitting disease. Getting up, moving around, and being physically active is a great way to reduce your sitting and achieve the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Now picture this:
The morning alarm clock rings, you get up and take the dog out (or go solo) for a 30 minute walk or run. You’ve started the day off on the right foot, well done! Then you get ready for a full day at the office. Your day is spent behind the wheel driving to and from work, chauffeuring the kids around and sitting at your desk. Sound familiar?
First off, if you scheduled time to be active in your day, congratulations! Please pat yourself on the back. Now let’s talk about the importance of adding unstructured activity in your day. Even if you have been active for 30-45 minutes during part of your day, being sedentary (i.e., sitting) for the rest of the day is not ideal for your muscles, blood sugar or metabolism. Here are a few ideas of how to sneak in a bit more without even noticing:
- At the office: Stand at your desk instead of sitting, do a few stretches, walk briskly to the copy room, take the stairs, or go for a five-10 minute walk during your break.
- Getting to work: Biking to work is an easy way to keep activity levels up, it gives you two guaranteed bursts of activity. Taking public transit is another good option (yes, it keeps you more active). If you must drive, park at the end of the parking lot and take the stairs to and from the parking garage. Or park on a side street a few blocks from work and walk the rest of the way (bonus is you may save on parking).
- Weeknights and Weekends: Do a chore like gardening or cleaning. Get outside and go for a walk with your dog (they’ll never say no). If it’s nice out try a lawn sport in your backyard or at the park.
I commend everyone who makes an effort to be active in their day. Trying a few of the ideas above and squeezing in five minutes here and there adds up. You’ll feel the benefits! That said, I’m off to take a quick walk for my coffee break. High five if you’re doing the same!
ParticpACTION: 2 in 3 Canadians worry they sit too much at work