Since we don’t plow the fields and milk the cows each day anymore, we have become a modern, industrialized society of sitting. Most of the population spends 10+ hours in the day just sitting, whether we are working in front of a computer, checking messages on our phone, eating meals with friends, or lounging in front of the TV. Of course in an ideal world, all of us would have the time to go to the gym for an hour each day, but if you get too busy and have to skip a day, here’s a few suggestions to get just a little more movement out of each day.
1. Got Stairs? Take them. Use them often. Skip that elevator. Urbansome1 says, “For every stair you climb you burn 0.42 calories on average (based on 150 [68 kg] to 160 [72.5 kg] pound person. The more you weight the more calories you burn). Normally, there are two flights of stairs per floor (24 steps on average) which means you burn 10 calories by only going one floor up!”
2. Stoplight Stretches. How many stoplights do you stop at in a day? And how many times a day are you staring at a screen of one kind or another? Looking at a computer screen or looking down at a phone puts a lot of strain on your neck. Next time you are sitting at a stoplight, try stretching your neck by just simply touching your ear to each shoulder slowly and looking back and forth and up and down. These simple stretches can relieve tension from your neck and possibly reduce further neck problems in the future.
3. Toothbrush squats. Most everyone when brushing their teeth is standing in front of their bathroom mirror. These 2 minutes of teeth-brushing can easily be used to do squats. Continue brushing as normal, but stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight and while looking in the mirror, slowly bend the knees and lower. Then slowly return to a standing position. Repeat while you finish brushing your teeth. Plus, it’s convenient to check your form in the mirror while brushing your teeth. Squats for 2 minutes a day will help your overall leg strength and posture!
4. Play hard. Everyone needs a break physically and mentally from the daily workload. Play with your pet or kids or friends. Playtime relieves physical and mental stress and increases your bonding time with your loved ones and friends. A simple game of tag, walking the dog, or a just throwing a baseball around goes a long way in relieving the day’s stressors.
5. 20-second plank. Everybody can spare 20 seconds in the day, right? Find a flat space where you can get into the initial push-up position. But instead of going up and down, you are just going to focus on holding that “plank” position. Think about keeping the core muscles tight, breathe deeply, and keep your shoulders in line with your wrists, which should just be shoulder-width apart. If a plank is too much for you in the beginning, you can always be on your knees and slowly work up to your toes.
Every little extra movement counts toward calorie burning and keeping yourself active. If you take the extra effort to just add a little more movement in the day, it will pay off in more ways than just physical. Your mood may improve, your energy will improve and your mind will be invigorated. Be conscious of your movement and work towards just a little bit more each day!
1. Urbansome Team. “How Many Calories Does Walking Up The Stairs Burn?” 2015 December 13. http://urbansome.com/how-many-calories-does-walking-up-the-stairs-burn/