Keeping Active Everyday

You may be a regular, perhaps even avid, gym-goer, but is it enough for you to be considered "active"?

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When you really think about it, if you work out you spend probably about an hour, 2 tops, in the gym most days of the week. Given the effort that you are putting into it it may seem like a huge portion of your day: your gym time may play a huge role in your physical and mental well-being (I know it does for me!). But when we put things into perspective, that hour you spend at the gym is really 1/24 (4%) of your day or 1/16 (roughly 6%) of your daily awake time (assuming you sleep 8hrs a night - more on that another time).

What this means is that there are HUGE gains to be made during the rest of your day, when you are going about your daily life. So let me ask you, how active are you being during that time?

If you'd asked me that question a year ago, I probably would have kind of smirked and replied "Bro, I'm good". I was working a very physical job at the time and spent 10 hours every day on my feet, pushing equipment, lifting heavy loads, carrying things, etc. My smartwatch tracked 30,000 steps on the daily - before I even got to the gym!

These days, however, it's a different story. My professional life is much more sedentary, so I've had to take matters into my own hands and make an effort to remain active throughout the day. Daily movement is important because:

  • It helps reduce stress

  • It helps balance out cholesterol and is beneficial to heart health

  • It improves your mood

  • It helps increase your metabolism

  • It gives you time to think and gain perspective or problem-solve; boosts creativity

  • It reduces fatigue

The goal of taking 10,000 steps daily gets thrown around a lot, but it's a great target to give yourself. A few tips to increase your daily steps:

  • Invest in proper outerwear. I don't know what it's like where you are, but November in the PNW is dreary on the best of days. Having a decent rain jacket/shell, cozy layers and comfy rainboots is key to getting outside.

  • Pace while on teleconferences (especially if your office has a door! Might be challenging if you're living the cubicle life) - Incorporate walking in your weekly errands. Do you really need to drive to each spot, or can you park in one central location and walk from store to store?

  • Get a furry buddy involved! If you've been thinking about getting a dog for a while, this is only one more argument in favour of it. Not ready to commit? Consider volunteering weekly at the local SPCA to walk their dogs.

  • Turn your walks into social time. Invite your colleagues on a mobile brainstorming session, or take your friendly catch-up sesh on the road!

  • Get a smartwatch/step tracker. What gets measured gets done!

  • While you are at it, set a step goal for each hour and turn on the reminders.

What are YOUR tips for getting more steps in your day? Conversely, what are you struggling with when it comes to being active on a daily basis?