Here's a question - are you reading this article lounging on your sofa or sitting on a chair? We guessed right then :)
Now, consider how long you sit in a chair all day. If you are a working professional with a sedentary job, chances are you're spending around 7 to 8 hours in a chair all day. After you reach home, you're mostly tempted to unwind on your couch and watch television all evening.
What's more, you depend upon mobile phones, online shopping, mobile apps for ordering food, etc. Around 15-20 years ago, these tasks would've required you to get on your feet and pay a visit to a nearby store, or a friend or relative, etc.
A sedentary lifestyle is the modern-day equivalent to smoking, and for a reason. Lack of physical activity in your day-to-day life makes you susceptible to comorbidities such as diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease & obesity, to name a few.
The human body has been designed for continuous activity. Our ancestors used to engage in a large number of physical activities even to get through the day. These include fetching water from a well, sweeping & mopping their homes, cooking in the absence of appliances, etc. Thus, they suffered from far lesser lifestyle disorders, that too much later in life as compared to people in modern times.
Even a few minor changes in your daily life can boost your overall level of activity during the day, thus contributing to an active lifestyle that can keep lifestyle disorders & comorbidities at bay. Seemingly insignificant daily activities can burn a ton of calories in totality.
We totally get that you're very busy. So here are a few easy-to-implement ideas for you to be active all day without spending much of extra time:
1. Practice NEAT
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It includes simple exercises such as bending, stretching & turning, which should be done for a minimum of 10 minutes daily. This is one way of getting your body moving more often with small daily goals. These movements can easily be performed 5-6 times a day, and you will notice a difference within a month!
2. You need to do more than just your daily workout
Working out in the gym everyday? Or every alternate day? Great, but that is just a fraction of the 24 hours you have in a day. Even if you workout for as much as 2 hours every single day, you still have 8 hours of sedentary job work, another 6-8 hours of night's sleep and you spend the remaining time lounging on a sofa or sitting in a chair watching television, flipping through your phone, online shopping and other activities that don't demand for you to get up and move.
So how do you fix this? A few popular suggestions include taking a 10-15 minute walk post lunch instead of standing around chatting with your coworkers, choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator, walking upto a colleague and discussing a job/task instead of shooting an email, to name a few.
3. Rearrange your office/workplace
A few small changes in the way things in your workplace are arranged can go a long way to compel you and your coworkers to move around a bit more than you normally might have. For instance, moving the trash bins away from cubicles as it forces people to walk upto them, walk & talk discussions with your team instead of sitting in the conference room, getting up to get your own tea/coffee instead of ordering it from an office boy, moving your seat a bit further away from the washroom, etc.
4. A short brisk walk at teatime
As the end of your working day approaches, you start to lose steam. However, just a small walk of around 10-15 minutes at teatime, say around 4pm, will give a boost to you health as well as your work performance. In case you're worried that you might not have the time, you will be surprised to find how quickly all your work gets done as a result of this small change.
5. Small changes to your commute to work
How do you normally commute to & from work? In case you take a bus or train, consider standing up while riding and, if possible, doing a few easy exercise too while you're standing. You can also get off one or two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. In case you drive to work, consider parking your vehicle a few blocks away so that you walk to and from your workplace at least upto your parking spot. Cumulatively, these movements burn a ton of calories.
6. Small household chores while watching TV
Instead of lying down on your couch or sitting on a chair, do some small household chores around the room while watching TV. These include tidying up, dusting, rearranging furniture, etc. These activities alone are known to burn upto 100 calories per hour!
7. Spend quality time with your family
This enhances your overall health & well-being, as well as strengthens your bond with your loved ones! Engage in activities such as cooking for your family, playing with your children (not video games!), take a walk with your spouse/partner... fun ways to engage with your family & burn a ton of calories in the process!
As you can see, seemingly insignificant activities can help you burn a ton of calories over a period of time. Which of these do you plan to inculcate in your daily life to break your sedentary lifestyle and remain more active all day? Do let us know in the comments below.