The world we live in is built around efficiency. Machinery and technology takes away from a lot of our basic movements, which although can be very beneficial, it can unfortunately make us unknowingly lazy. Exercise does not have to be complicated and basic activity can really be beneficial to your health. Here are my some of my favourite sneaky fitness tips whilst out and about:
Use stairs – not elevators or escalators
If you have the option of stairs, use them. If you can get access to your stairwell in your office block, use it, even if you only climb a few flights of stairs at first, it is better than hopping in that elevator. To make things more interesting, try challenging yourself at work and each week set yourself a goal to climb a whole floor…you will be shocked at how quickly your body gets used to it and how good you will feel.
Push/pull, don’t press
You do realize the activation push buttons to open doors are primarily for people with who have actual impairments, making it hard to open right?! It’s all too easy to use the buttons to make life easier (me included), rather than push or pull that door open. That little bit of extra effort all adds up… the majority of us are lucky enough to have fully functioning arms and muscles, so use them!
Whenever you are walking, especially downtown where there are many stoplights, instead of wasting time just standing for those lights to change, do some calf raises on the spot. Go onto the balls of your feet, hold and squeeze your calves for a couple of seconds and relax. Do as many as time/those lights permit.
Use those legs
I never understand why people don’t walk more. It’s convenient sometimes to use public transport and cars for really long journeys, but for your next short trip, why not use those lovely legs of yours!
It is amazing what they can do, but as a basic function we can walk a lot further than you think. If you are used to jumping in the car for anything under a mile (at least) try changing that habit. Once you start, there will be no stopping you and the health benefits – for example decrease in stress, weight management, prevention and maintenance of diabetes etc. will outweigh the convenience.
Whenever you use the subway or the streetcar for that matter, try standing especially if you are sedentary for most of the day i.e. a desk job. I know this may sound crazy, especially if there are plenty of seats available but this is a great opportunity to stretch those legs, engage that core and squeeze those glutes! It takes some time to get used to and to find your balance but after a while it becomes second nature. It also means not having to touch any seats and handles (less germs!)
The more you integrate these simple things into your daily routine, the more normal it will become and a healthy habit is formed.