Many of us live pretty sedentary lifestyles—working a desk job 5 days a week, sitting in the car to get places, and sitting on the couch most of the time at home. (If Netflix has ever asked you “Are you still watching?” then you know what I mean.) This constant lack of movement has been linked to a number of long-term health problems (i.e., cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, premature death).
Even if we get in a scheduled workout most days (see: my daily checklist for health), research has shown that this doesn’t completely undo the health risks of living a mostly sedentary lifestyle (though it obviously does help).
I think most of us realize we should get moving more than we do, but it can be difficult when our lives are so busy and we want to relax during our free time. As great as I feel when I consistently work out, it’s easy to have an all-or-nothing attitude about it. If our goals aren’t met, or we miss one too many workouts, it can make us lose motivation and stop altogether.
This is why I love the concept of active living.
You don’t have to work out for an hour 6 days per week to be fit. Simply adopting an active lifestyle can be enough. In fact, incorporating movement all throughout your day is actually better for you in the long run, because you’re not sitting idle most of the time. You’re constantly using your muscles and getting your blood flowing.
This way of life seems so much happier and doable for most people. If you truly enjoy all of your scheduled workouts, then that’s amazing and tell me your secret. But I think many of us view it as an obligation and don’t necessarily love counting reps and dedicating a chunk of our day to a sweat session. While I definitely don’t plan to stop doing organized workouts (gotta meet my 2019 goal of 4 days/week!), I do want to be more active overall.
There are a few people in my life who seem to be pros at this active living thing. I find them so inspiring because they constantly seek out active adventures and genuinely enjoy the movement. But even if you’re not like them and can’t explore new cities all the time or go on impressive hikes, they’ve taught me that living an active life can be incredibly rewarding.
Organized workouts can definitely be part of an active lifestyle, but it’s not the main point. There are countless ways to get moving that are a lot easier than one might think. Here are some ideas
- Park farther away at the store.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Go for a short walk on your lunch break.
- Deep clean your house.
- Explore a nearby city on foot instead of driving to every spot.
- Stand when using your computer (with a standing desk or higher surface).
- Bike to run your errands instead of driving.
- Take your dog for a walk every evening.
- Bring your kids to the park for the afternoon.
- Try a new workout class with a friend.
- Go shopping…in person instead of online.
- Plant a garden.
- Make whipped cream without an electric mixer (seriously).
- Reorganize your furniture.
- Stretch while watching TV.
And the list goes on and on and on. Just take it one day at a time and try to just…move more, in whatever way that’s realistic and enjoyable for you.
Would you say you live a pretty active lifestyle? How do you make it happen?
Is it easier for your to do scheduled workouts? Or do you prefer smaller movements throughout your day?