I’ve always heard that people who move more are generally healthier, fitter people.
I would have to agree. I notice a major difference in my body during the busy months at work when I’m running around vs. the slower months when I spend more time at my desk. I feel better after a day of projects & chores around the house vs. watching TV all day. When you’re moving, no matter what you’re doing, you’re metabolism is humming; you’re burning calories.
Check out some of the calorie burns from everyday tasks for a 125 lb to 155 lb person during a 30 minute time period:
- Doing dishes 63-79
- Sweeping the floor 98-120
- Cooking dinner 75-93
- Playing with kids (moderate effort) 120-149
- Playing with kids (vigorous effort) 150 – 186
- Gardening (general) 135-167
- Moving lawn 135-167
- Shoveling snow 180-223
Now compare that to typical calorie burns for 30 minutes of these sedentary tasks:
- Sleeping 19-23
- Watching TV 23-28
- Reading (sitting) 34-42
- Computer work 41-51
I truly believe that people who move more in general have less of an issue with weight gain. These people can have the occasional cookie without guilt and don’t need to run an extra 15 minutes to burn it off. The proof is in the pudding: An average 12 g chocolate chip cookie has about 60 calories. A 125 lb person can burn that off cooking dinner. Are you reconsidering that take out now?
Here are some easy ways to fit a little more fitness into your everyday routine. Some are pretty obvious but some are a little less conventional:
1. Take the stairs
Climbing one flight of stairs takes about 30 seconds. A 125 to 155 lb person will burn 7-9 calories per flight. Compare this to standing on the elevator for 1 minute which burns only 0.5 to 1 calorie… so basically nothing.
Say you’re a 155 lb person who lives on the 3rd floor of a building and you ascend the stairs twice per day:
9 calories x 3 flights x 3 trips = 81 calories!
2. Stand up
If you’re going to be sitting through long presentations at a conference or business meeting, stand at the back of the room instead of sitting. If I’m in an all-day business meeting I will usually sit for the first half of the morning presentations and stand for the second half. I do the same in the afternoon. This also prevents you from getting stiff or nodding off 😉
3. Walk and Talk
If you need to make a call, pace while you talk. Leisurely walking for 30 minutes burns about 123 calories for a 155 lb person. Even standing for that 30 minute call burns 47 calories where just sitting burns only about 42.
When catching up with a friend, swap your coffee date for a walk. I always find the best conversations are had while walking.
4. Do your chores
I really don’t like cleaning, but I do like to move a little after dinner. If I sit down right after eating I usually get bloated and uncomfortable. In our house, dinner is followed by dishes, lunch-prep, tidying up & usually one other chore such as a load of laundry, changing the sheets, or making a batch of protein bars. Mow your own lawn, shovel your own walkway, and give the dishwasher a break a few nights a week.
5. Take frequent breaks from sitting
If you spend a lot of time at your desk, try to get up once every hour. Visit a co-worker down the hall, take a coffee break, or anything else that gets you moving for a few minutes. The longer you sit, the slower your metabolism remains, even if you exercise later (fact). Eek!
6. Park at a distance
We’ve heard this one a million times but it’s one of the easiest ways fit some movement into your day. Usually, by the time you find that close parking spot, you could have been parked and inside already. Better yet, if you can walk or bike to your destination, leave the car at home.
7. Switch up your chair… or lose it altogether!
Try sitting on a Swiss ball instead of a chair. This requires more muscles to engage to keep you balanced upright. You can rock back and forth but you can’t roll across the room in your chair to the printer. Bonus: it helps improve posture!
Maybe even consider taking it to the next level with a stand up desk.
8. Squat, lunge or dip at random
If I really feel like I’ve been lacking movement, I bust out a few squats when no one is around. No, really. You might think it’s weird but you won’t be laughing when you see the numbers on the scale drop 😉
9. Something is better than nothing
So maybe you couldn’t fit your 60 minute gym session in. That’s no reason to skip it altogether. Often when I’m traveling for work, meetings end around 5 and group dinner is scheduled for 6:30. It’s not enough time for a full workout and shower but I at least shoot for a 20 min run or full-body circuit at the hotel gym. Though a 20 minute steady state run may only burn roughly 200 calories, that’s still about half your dinner. And don’t forget the after burn!
Children and pets they are both easy, and often non-negotiable ways to get moving. As I mentioned above, moderately playing with children for just 30 minutes burns almost 150 calories for the 155 lb person. Hide and seek is fun at any age and tug of war with your pup can really work up a sweat. Don’t have a little one of your own? Ask a family member or a friend if you can take their kids or dog to the park!
Play can also come in the form of sports, outdoor activities, crafting, decorating, or whatever it is you like to do that gets you moving.
Now that you’re feeling super motivated to move more, how about a mid-season recap of our “New Year’s” resolutions?
Two months back I decided September is the New January. It’s the perfect time to get back on track between the lazy days of summer and the busy holiday season. The holidays are always a challenging time to stick to our healthy routines and we all want to eat, drink & be merry without guilt! I truly believe you can enjoy yourself (in moderation) without the stress if you prepare self now.
I set some personal goals to keep myself in check during the fall:
- At least 2 weight-training sessions per week
- Less frequent “cheats”.
- Seasonal juice cleanse
I have been sticking to 2 strength days per week and I did a 7-day juice cleanse in September. However, the cheats are becoming a little more frequent again. I’ve been doing my best to eliminate refined sugar from my baking and making “healthier” choices when it comes to treats but even so, the frequency is high.
On November 12 I started a “No-Cheats November” which will actually run for one month, until December 12. I am allowing myself to be flexible at holiday parties but will be limiting my alcohol, sugar and overall food intake. Who’s with me??
Some other fall goals I received from readers were:
- Add 1 strength training session per week
- Drink more green juice
- Reduce sugar intake
- Drink 3 L water per day
- Start a fitness routine
- Add healthy fats to every meal
- Try vegetarianism
- Cut back on dairy
- Eat more meals at home
So now I ask, how are you doing with your health & fitness commitments so far this fall?
Have you set some goals? Are you sticking to them?
It’s never too late to get moving!