Five Easy Ways to Move More During the Day
It’s easy to spend the entire day sitting down in one place. In fact, one in four American adults spends more than eight hours a day sitting down, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On top of that, 80 percent of American adults don’t meet the government's national physical activity recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.
The solution is simple: move more! That doesn’t have to mean starting a whole new workout routine; It just means incorporating little bursts of effort into your day, throughout the day. Not sure where to start? Try these tricks.
1. Hold a plank while watching TV. Next time you’re watching TV, work your body during opening credits or commercials. A plank doesn’t only strengthen your abs, but your back, hips, pelvis, butt, and arms, too. You only need to hold a plank for 10 to 30 seconds to gain the benefits, but you can try to work up to holding it for a minute or two.
2. Walk around on conference calls. Instead of sitting at your desk, pop in some headphones and pace the room or walk around your house. That way even if you can’t get out for a walk, you can get more steps in. The more steps the better, but don’t stress about hitting 10,000 steps (a common goal for many people). A recent study found that women who walked 4,400 steps a day had lower mortality rates than those who took just 2,700 steps per day; the benefits, though, leveled off at 7,500 steps.
3. Drink water from a smaller glass. Instead of filling a giant water bottle and planting it on your desk, use an eight-ounce cup to make you get up and refill more often. If you drink the recommended 11.5 to 15.5 cups of water per day, that means you’re getting up at least 11 times. (And that doesn’t include how often you’ll have to get up to use the bathroom.) If all that water sounds boring, you can mix things up a little with decaffeinated tea or squeezing in some lemon. You can also add Emergen-C to one of your glasses of water to support your immune system with key nutrients like vitamin C and B vitamins while hydrating. It’s a win-win!
4. Use your waiting time for exercise. Any time you’re using the microwave, brewing tea or coffee, or waiting for water to boil, use those few minutes to squeeze in a set of calf raises, lunges, or squats. Several sets of 30 to 60 seconds each will add up over the day to a few extra minutes of bodyweight strength training—all without stepping foot in a gym!
5. Take the stairs more than once. Need to run from your laptop down to the kitchen? Don’t stop at just one descent and ascent. Doing three sets of 60-step stair climbs three times during the day may improve cardiovascular health, according to a study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. An easy way to sneak more stair climbing throughout the day is by leaving belongings (like your phone or a cup of water) behind when you switch rooms. It’ll give you an excuse to do another round of stair climbing to grab those items.