The environment in which you live, work and play can have a great influence on you. For example, it’s easier to eat well when you have access to fruits and vegetables, are confident in the kitchen and at prepping meals, and have a supportive family. We can also think about this in terms of ways to increase physical activity.
For a lot people getting to work (driving), working (sitting) and relaxing (sitting with laptop or watching TV) are all sedentary. But there are ways to change the environments you do those activities in to promote physical activity at various levels.
Large scale: Urban investments like bike lanes, parks and playgrounds, and community recreation centres promote an active lifestyle. Here’s a few things you can do:
- Learn how to use bike lanes safely
- Find out where your nearest recreation center is. Ask them for their seasonal recreation guide
- Lookup where the closest provincial park is
Smaller scale: There are also lots of things you can do to make your individual environments favour being active.
At the office:
- Use a standing desk if you can
- Keep a pair of running shoes at your desk to prompt you to go for a quick walk over your break or suggest a walk-and-talk meeting
- Put your phone on the far end of your desk so that you have to stand every time you talk on the phone
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Find a scenic or interesting route that will make you look forward to walking or biking to work
- Start a garden and regularly maintain it and do yard work
- Keep your living space tidy, cleaning can be a work out!
- Dedicate a space for stretching and other exercises. This could be an open space in your living room, or a sunny spot on your patio.
- Play a motivating playlist on your home sound system, it’s hard to resist dancing to your favourite songs!
- Use free resources such as 8-1-1 Physical Activity Service line to help you overcome barriers
- Transform family visits - grandparents can be active with grandchildren!
- Arrange and schedule active dates with your partner
- Keep active even when you go on vacation
- Register for a fitness class (financial commitment can increase accountability)
You don’t have to do all of the above (you can if you want!) but with a few changes to the spaces you live and work in, it’ll become easier to keep up with an active lifestyle in the long run.
Healthlink BC: Fitness Adding More Activity to Your Life