Whenever we think of getting more movement or increasing our caloric expenditure, it’s usually thought of in terms of adding in cardio or something super demanding. While that is a viable option, we should also think of adding movement in terms of sustainability. If we can find ways to include extra activity throughout our day, we can obtain, and more importantly SUSTAIN the body and health that we are looking for.
Walk After Meals
They say the best way to build a new habit is by attaching it to an existing one. We all eat at some point. Try throwing in a 10 minute walk after each meal. Not only are you increasing your activity, but you are helping improve digestion after the meal as well. You can add a couple hundred calories burned just by walking for 5-10 minutes after each meal. By itself, it may not seem like much. By the end of the day you are talking about 30-40 minutes of extra movement you would have otherwise spent sitting.
Take The Stairs
I’ll admit I sometimes struggle with this one, but honestly it’s an easy habit to tack on because you are already en route to do something. Whether you are at work, or at the mall, it’s making small choices like these that add up to good behaviors. Don’t think of it as just taking the stairs. Chances are, if you become accustomed to taking the stairs, you’ll probably walk farther in other scenarios you normally wouldn’t. It’s shifting your entire mindset on walking.
Mobility During TV Time
This is another great hack to add onto an existing habit. We all love to watch TV. Keep doing it! HOWEVER, try not to just sit there for the next 3 hours. Do some stretching, mobility drills, or just move around. The TV will give you something to focus on, but you’ll also be improving your range of motion at the same time.
You can also apply this to the cardio you are doing. It is much easier to have a netflix show than to just stare into nothing for 30-45 minutes. Find a TV series you can get into, and make it a ritual that you get to watch that show every time you do cardio on the treadmill, or mobility drills in the living room. It doesn’t have to be intense either. Start with a very casual walk and work up from there. Maybe you only do mobility drills every time it’s a commercial. The point is to get started.
A standing desk is another great option for getting smaller movement in. I got one for my home, and I find when I am standing, I overall fidget and move around a lot more. When I find I’ve been sitting too long, I actually end up using that as a signal to take a break from whatever it is I am doing, and just go pace around the house for a second. Again, it’s not so much about the activity itself, as it is the mindset it puts you in throughout the day.
Walking At Work
This may vary depending on what kind of job you have so it’s a little broad. If you work from home, try to set a timer for taking a 5 minute walk break after 30 minutes of work. Not only will that add many small movement sessions throughout the day, but it’ll help you reorganize the thoughts in your head for the work you are doing.
If you are at an office, find excuses to walk around. When I first started working at a gym, any time I wasn’t with a client, I wanted to do nothing but sit until my next client came in. The managers had a rule that you had to check the floor and put back any weights or mess you saw. I absolutely hated it. Then I got into increasing my overall step count and everything changed. Instead of dreading it, I used it as my excuse to get extra steps in and easily hit my goals.
If you take phone calls, see if you can do them while walking outside or around the house. That’s an easy way to add in extra movement without it adding to your day. Research has shown walking boosts creativity so you are actually improving your work output by adding this in!
Be sure to check out my article on Why You Can Prioritize NEAT Over Cardio and Three Things You Can Add Into Your Daily Routine to Help With Weight Loss for more tips on increasing your daily activity.