We all know exercise is beneficial for our bodies and minds, except it can be hard to find the motivation to get up and workout, especially when out of practice. So how do you exercise without putting in the effort?
86% of all American workers report spending the majority of their work day sitting at a desk. In addition, once home, another 80% of those surveyed spend the rest of their day watching T.V., gaming, lounging, or on their home computer. That is a lot of sitting each day.
Why is Moving so Important?
The human body was designed to move all day, and when sedentary for too long, it begins to shut down. As a result of sitting for extended periods of time, your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and molecular waste increase, building up in your system – which leads to an increased risk of death from preventable diseases. These negative impacts are so severe, that regular exercise might not be enough to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting.
Research shows that sitting down for more than 3 hours a day reduces your life expectancy by 2 years. Watching TV for more than 2 hours a day exacerbates your health, reducing life expectancy by another 1.4 years.
The more you sit, the shorter and less healthy your life will be, even if you exercise regularly.
How Much Should You Move?
The key is to avoid sitting for long periods of time each day; ideally sitting for no more than 50 minutes each hour or a maximum of 3 hours a day! If you have a job that requires you to sit for extended amounts of time, try to stand for 10 minutes and/or take a 5 minute walk every hour.
Within 90 seconds of standing up after extended periods of sitting, the muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol are activated; counteracting the negative effects of sitting!
5 Effortless Ways to Increase Movement
It’s hard to imagine that a few minutes here or there can give you the same benefits as working out for an hour. Here are 5 simple ways to exercise without effort:
- Stand up for at least 10 minutes each hour. Use a fitness tracker to remind yourself to get up and move or set an alarm.
- Walking is just as good as kale (maybe better!) Aim for 5 minutes of walking every hour and 10,000 steps daily – sprinkle steps in throughout your day instead of trying to cram them all in at the end.
- Park further away from your destination to get some movement in or even leave the car at home and walk or bike to where you’re going.
- Take the stairs or walk up the escalator. These moments can get your heart pumping a little faster than usual which can boost your focus and endurance!
- If you’re stuck on the phone at work, stand or walk around while talking instead of sitting in your chair. Every little minute counts!
There are lots of opportunities to be more active every day – all you need is 21 minutes of activity sprinkled throughout the day. When you start looking for ways to add a bit of movement in your day, you realize it’s effortless!