Originally seen on TedEd.
So I thought I’d start this series off with the opposite of cardiovascular exercise: sitting.
God made us to move. He gave us those joints, bones, and muscles for a reason besides giving us a shape. As described in the video our bodies CRAVE movement. Activity is your body’s drug of choice. But the good thing about this drug, is that it’s good for you! Since our natural state is in motion, sitting for extended periods of time is detrimental to our health at a very basic level and effects basically every system your body needs to function: cardiac, respiratory, neurologic, muscular, bones… everything. Nothing works quite right when you sit all the time. So what do we do? MOVE!
Tips and tricks to increase your activity
1) Set a timer to get up and walk for 5 minutes every hour that you sit. You can walk to the bathroom. You can walk to the cooler and back. You can just make some circles in the hallway. Grab a buddy to come with you and catch up on the latest office gossip or sports scores! This is where a lot of people use their activity monitors like FitBit, Jaw Bone Up, or the non-fancy version, a $10 pedometer. Or I’m sure there’s an app for that. These devices let you monitor the number of steps you take each day, so you can set yourself goals, compete with friends or just make sure you move enough to keep yourself healthy (recommended 10,000 steps/day everyday).
2) Of course there’s another great app for that! Ergonomics let’s you set up little alarms to remind you to get up and stretch in addition to your walking 2 times each morning and 2 times each afternoon. These stretches will help relieve the built up tension. It will also lead you through the stretches. It has suggestions on how to best set up your desk to cause less stress on your already anxiously sedentary body too.
So let’s make a plan of attack.
1. Use whatever device you’ve chose to measure how many steps you take on an average day for a week. Meaning, don’t change a thing… yet. We need to know your baseline movement habits, before we can make a plan. Write down how many steps you log each day on paper or in a word doc you’re not going to lose! At the end of the week, average all your days.
2. So for example, let’s say you averaged 2,000 steps everyday. (I know that seems low, but I move around a lot in my job and I still don’t make the 10,000 everyday without a little extra work!) So now for the next week we are going to try to increase your average steps. Take a half of your average (1,000 in our example) and add it to your average (2,000). 1,000 + 2,000= 3,000. That would be our goal for week 2.
Trouble shoot: What if you get to the end of your day and haven’t made your step goal? Add some steps into usually stationary moments in your life. One of my favorites is to watch my tv programs while I’m marching in front of the tv. Or maybe march in place while you wait in line at the bank or the elevator or restaurant. Walk to the corner store instead of driving. March in place while folding laundry or doing dishes. There are a million places where you usually just stand where you can add some marching! Don’t worry about others looking at you funny. It’s a great moment to enlighten others to the dangers of being sedentary.
3. On week 3, add another half of your baseline average (1,000 in the example) to your new average (3,000) 1,000 + 3,000=4,000 for your week 3 goal.
4. Continue on like this until you reach around 10,000 steps per day.
5. You’re getting close! Now to make those 10,000 steps a habit. To make a habit you need to walk those 10,000 steps EVERYDAY for 6-8 weeks. I know. Tall order. But trust me, your future, dementia-free self will thank you. If you miss a day or two, don’t worry. Just hop back on the band wagon. Everyone slips up every now and again. This is where doing this with a friend or in the social networks provided by FitBit or Jawbone help tremendously to keep yourself accountable.
Ready? Set? MOVE!
Ready for the next step?