by Angie Miller
Exercise is like a bad word. Everyone has a different reaction when you say it, but they all have some sort of emotional response. Some are immediately filled with dread, some have a list of excuses that go from plain ridiculous to pretty clever, and some (like me) actually love it and can’t imagine their life without it.
The thing about exercise is that it’s really just a naughty name for movement. Naughty because we demonize it in our society by making it all about looks, aka six pack abs, and intense programming that is well beyond what most of us need to get healthy. Movement on the other hand is exercise, but it doesn’t come with the same negative connotation. Movement is a lifestyle. We move to get from point A to point B, and we move because we want or need something. When it comes to movement there are endless options, but all of them are sure to accomplish one thing- the more we move the less we sit, and that’s where the magic lies. Sitting less won’t replace vigorous exercise in terms of calorie burn and heart pumping activity, but it will help us to focus on being less sedentary and more mindful of keeping our body and brain active.
Six Ways to Sit Less and Move More- at Home and Work:
- Standing Desk- You don’t need to invest in an expensive desk that promotes all the benefits of standing vs. sitting while you work, because the truth is that standing for too long comes with its own set of risks. Instead, set a timer or use your fitness tracker to remind you, and every hour make it a point to stand up while you work. Stand for five or ten minutes, or as long as you’re comfortable. You’ll wake up your brain and body and you’ll feel better being in full extension vs. slouched in a chair.
- Make an Excuse- If you’re in an office, rather than email your co-worker who is in the same building why not walk to where they are and deliver the message in person? If you work from home you can make your next phone call while you move around your house, straighten your cupboards, or even stand up and fold a load of laundry. If you’re vegging in front of the TV, get up every thirty minutes or so and grab a glass of water or stretch your body so your mind doesn’t turn to mush. They key is that you avoid sitting or lying down for extended periods of time by making an excuse to get up and move.
- Stability Ball- If you’re going to sit while you’re at work, while you watch TV, or while you’re in front of your computer, who says you have to sit in a chair? Wouldn’t it more beneficial to sit on a stability ball where you engage your core and actually improve your balance and posture while you work? You can also swap out your dining room chair for a stability ball. Think better breathing and better body awareness.
- Walk While You Work- Maybe you have a meeting with a co-worker or a brain storming session with your client. Whatever the reasons, a walk might be just what you need to connect with people in your business on a different level. Walking gives everyone a breath of fresh air and it gets positive energy flowing. If you work at home, take a ten a minute walk once or twice a day to clear your mind and help you connect with the world outside of work.
- Take the Stairs- If you work in office building take the stairs. If you’re going to the store, to the doctor, or wherever you’re going, take the stairs. Stairs step up your heart rate, give you a little energy boost, and help you avoid the claustrophobic feeling of elevators. Not to mention, you don’t have to stop on every floor or stand elbow to elbow with perfect strangers.
- Meet for a Movement Date- The next time you meet a friend for coffee, how about if you grab it in a to go cup and window shop while you walk? Or maybe you grab lunch at a quick café and rather than linger at the table, you head out the door and finish catching up as you stroll through the streets. A movement date can be a tennis game, a golf game, or sharing a fitness class together. Traditional lunch and coffee dates are fun, but movement dates are much more memorable. They connect you and your friend on a different level and allow you share experiences that engage your mind and body.
Make it a goal this week to sit less and move more for better health.
Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com