Return to A Healthy Active Lifestyle Part 1: First 10 of 20 Tips
Each day, people around the world struggle with the challenges of sedentary living; from children at home to adults at work. It’s similar to smoking a cigarette. Sitting at your workstation preoccupied with the day’s tasks, tending to clients, to relaxing on a couch at home watching your favourite TV show; each day can become, unintentionally, very addictive.
My friend once told me, “you can’t sit at work without snacking a little, a caramel bar at least, she said, and you can’t watch a movie without a bowl of popcorn, it won’t be fun!’’ And then it dawned on me… this is really a cue for health issues.
Today, the few to many hours just monumentally sitting has been found to cause massive damage to the physical, mental and social wellness of individuals around the globe. However, there are few intentional steps we can combine to make this millennial addiction go away. We’ve just got to move, not a little, but a lot.
Here are a few familiar steps we could adopt and return to a healthy active lifestyle intentionally:
VOLUNTEER IN SHELTERS
This is a great way not only to get active, but also to connect with others and it allows the opportunity to be empathetic towards others. You may pick a day during the week or weekends, take a walk or cycle to a nearby shelter and register to volunteer. Cooking, washing dishes, and helping serve food are great ways to get involved.
Either artistic portrait painting or just painting a shed, wall or your garage, painting provides a means to get pretty active and inspirational. So, pick up that brush and some paints and get creative. You will be surprised how much time you spent and the beautiful results of what you never expected you could do.
TAKING A WALK
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get active, either at work or at home, and there are several ways to make it interesting. First, you must decide which type of walk you choose to engage in, either a slow steady walk or a brisk walk. To enjoy the scenery around you, preferably, you may want to choose the slow walk which will keep you active while staying less dehydrated for a longer period of time. On the other hand, you can do 30 minutes of brisk walking each morning before heading out for the day, or in the evenings after work. You may add in some music, but be careful not to walk in very busy environments for your safety.
Shopping doesn’t mean you have to spend money all of the time or that you have to head to your favourite stores or market places; you may just be a window shopper. Walking around the malls or markets looking at items is also an effective way to get active during days off or evenings after work. I bet you will be surprised at how long you spent walking without even spending a dime. To convince yourself you did a great job of getting active, you can use a pedometer or step counting app on your phone to keep track of your progress.
USE STANDING DESKS IN OFFICES OR ALTERNATE YOUR TASKS
Workplaces should encourage an active lifestyle of their employees, and one of the ways to do this is to provide an alternative way to work where changing tasks may not be an option. Using a standing desk would be effective in eliminating the sitting syndrome at work. So, where you have a standing desk, choose this over sitting when you’re able.
This is more of an intense way to get active, especially on the weekends. This could be made into a mini hiking trip where you can pick out a vicinity with natural hills or even man-made hills. Hill climbing can be exhausting as it involves large muscles groups and joints in the body so you may want to start out small and gradually progress to every weekend. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water with you!
JOIN A GYMNASIUM/EXERCISE GROUP
To get active is a pledge of change and to effectively do this, you have to be committed. Registering at a gym close to home may be more effective as you have some form of commitment and encouragement from other people that you meet. You could also reach out to a personal trainer who will help you remain committed to your programme of activity. 30-60 minutes three days a week isn’t a bad idea.
If you feel you cannot achieve your goals on your own, it’s important to join an exercise group that can motivate you to stay committed to it. This could be important for kids and older adults as they also need some supervision during activities. Keep a track of time and days spent in the group.
In places where there are lifts available, people are typically tempted not to use the stairs. Sadly, the easy way out is most often not a very productive way. So, take the stairs any way you can, at home or at work. Take your time and count each step you take, going up and down, and record it each time to keep a track of your progress. This may enhance the feeling of achievement and goals you set for ‘stairs climbing.’
VISIT FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Once in awhile, pop in and say hello to a friend or family member instead of watching a movie stuck on the couch all day. This gesture will be well appreciated while at the same time, you get to move around and ease some of your stress through the interaction with others. ‘Win-win lifestyle’ objective.
Take up a dance class for mornings, evenings after work, or during the weekends. The beauty of dance is that it doesn’t have to be professional. You may decide to put on some music at home and dance away to your favourite tunes for a planned period of time. If you adopt this style, you may also record how much time you spent dancing to keep track of your activity. It is ideal to spend at least 30-40 minutes dancing to be most effective so you may want to use an aerobic dance DVD to achieve this goal.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series next week, and learn my other 10 suggested tips for a healthy active lifestyle!