Too many of us have an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to staying fit. We’re too “slammed” at work for the gym, or our kids’ activities are keeping us in the car — and off the track — for long hours. Yet, here at Excellcare Physical Therapy, we recommend a few basic elements you can add to your daily life that truly add up to a more active lifestyle.
1. Take the Longest — or Hardest — Distance Between Two Points
Speed is usually the name of the game in your busy life. But does the time saved parking close to the store really add value? Make a game of parking at the far end of the lot, so that you have to push a cart or carry a bag a greater distance. When you’re at work, take the stairs — unless you really are running late for that meeting!
2. Pay for Your Lunch — in Footsteps
Skip the cafeteria in favor of a healthy eatery down the street if you’re working. Or walk outside for 20 minutes before you return to your brown-bag lunch. If you’re retired or working from home, walk to the corner grocer’s to gather the goods for lunch. Living out in the country or the suburbs? Pretend that your daily walk is the “fee” you have to pay in order to get into your kitchen and make that sandwich.
3. Consider a Standing Desk
How do standing desks help? It’s amazing how much healthier simply standing in place is, compared to sitting. For one thing, you burn more calories. You’ll also hunch less, meaning that neck and shoulder pain is eliminated. Standing also boosts fitness in significant ways by keeping blood sugar more steady after a meal, and by encouraging more movement overall.
4. Fool Yourself Into Running Errands
Using a smaller glass for water — or mug for green tea — means that you have to return to the water cooler or kitchen more often to fulfill your daily hydration goals. Likewise, you can make going down the hall to borrow a stapler a separate trip from hiking upstairs to ask someone in HR about your vacation schedule. If our Fitbits have taught us anything, it’s that a hundred extra steps here and there really do add up over the course of the day!
5. Use Fitness Benefits as an Incentive to Do Chores
Organizational experts know that 20 or 30 minutes of chores a day adds up to a cleaner, more organized space. You can certainly get a lot of toys into baskets during that time — not to mention mopping a floor or weeding the herb garden. So if you remember that these dreaded tasks also burn calories and build up your core, it may help you feel more like tackling them.
6. Keep Equipment Handy
Stash a yoga mat or 5-pound weights under your bed. Hang resistance bands on a hook in the kitchen. That way, you’ll be far more likely to do a few reps while watching TV or waiting for the pasta to boil!
7. Don’t Put Off Physical Therapy
The most obvious way physical therapy helps is by addressing the aches and pains that keep you from pursuing your active lifestyle. In addition, many physical therapy sessions are a workout in themselves, which helps you meet your weekly cardio and/or endurance goals. A physical therapist is also a great resource for giving you tips on tweaking your daily habits. He or She can go over what a normal day looks like for you and offer advice on how to make it a more active one. If chronic pain is an issue, your PT can show you specific moves that streamline the physical challenges.
Call our Chicago, IL office today to see how physical therapy can help you live a pain-free and more active life.