Adopting a more active lifestyle is on many people's to-do lists. You don't have to join a gym or invest in expensive workout equipment to make healthy changes, though. Just working more movement into your day can make a big difference. While the specific goal you set depends on what you are trying to accomplish, most people can benefit from working more steps into each day. Here are some practical ways to do so.
Set a Timer
You probably already think that walking more is a good idea. Positive thoughts don't turn into action on their own, though. You may need to set reminders for yourself, particularly when you're just starting out.
An easy way to do this is to plot walking appointments on your calendar. You can use an app on your phone to assign a specific ringtone to reminders to get up and move. If you are already staring at a screen all day, it is easy to notice the pop-up from your work calendar that tells you it's time to take a break and walk around. Any tool that is already a big part of your day will probably be an effective alert method.
Look for Opportunities
You may not be aware of all the opportunities you have to get a little more activity. While walking in place at your desk or pacing back and forth in your office may get the job done, there are more interesting ways to add steps to your day:
- Instead of the escalator or elevator, take the stairs.
- When running errands or going to work, park farther away from the building.
- Walk to a colleague's desk or office to ask a question.
- Use the restroom on the other side of the building rather than the one close to your office.
A good way to find extra opportunities to walk is to give yourself more time. When you have an appointment, particularly one that will necessitate a long commute in a car or on public transportation, pretend your engagement is 15–30 minutes earlier. Unless you run into a lot of traffic (in which case, you'll be especially thankful for the extra time), this practice gives you some time to take a walk around the neighborhood before you check in.
Other than being punctual, you can reap several benefits from doing this. You get to stretch your legs after being cooped up in the car or on the train. The activity and fresh air can be invigorating, giving you more energy for the task ahead. You may even discover new places you want to explore further at a later date. Planning to arrive early can help you in so many ways.
Enlist the Help of Friends
Almost any new habit is easier to adopt if you get other people on board. Arrange a walk for the whole office at lunch. Make an appointment with a friend to walk your dogs at the same time. Join a hiking group. When someone else is depending on you to show up, you're more likely to commit to getting those extra steps in.
Adding more steps to your week isn't just good for you. It can also be beneficial to your family by making them both healthier and happier. Choose an evening or two each week to take an after-dinner stroll. Make it a part of your regular routine. You may hear some grumbling the first few times, but after a while, your family will probably start to enjoy and look forward to these times together.
You don't have to overhaul your life to be more active. It only takes a few tweaks to what you're already doing to reap the benefits of getting extra steps in each day.