How to Stay Active Throughout the Day

Good morning and Happy Tuesday!

I am in Indianapolis for work today and in order to get around the city, I rented a car. Back in DC, I metro to and from work, and to get to the metro I have to walk about 1/3-1/2 of a mile each time. That totals about 1.5-2 miles of walking each day, just to get to work. Because I view this as a means of transportation primarily, I usually forget that it incorporates a good amount of activity. While I was driving around the city in my pretty little rented Ford Focus this morning, I realized how much activity I was missing out of simply because I was driving as a means of getting from once place to another.

About a year ago, I wrote a blog post titled Get On Your Feet pertaining to this same issue, and I also wrote a piece for Active Life DC titled Beat the Seat. Today, I wanted to revisit the issue. Even if we KNOW we should be active throughout the day, how do we make sure that we are? After all, it’s very easy to get lost in what we are doing and for seconds, minutes, and hours to tick by without moving because we are so engrossed in a book, the computer screen, a television show, or anything else that may attract our undivided attention. HOW do we stay active throughout the day?

HOW TO STAY ACTIVE THROUGHOUT THE DAY

1. Utilize an Activity Tracker

Whether it’s extremely basic or very technologically-advanced, I really like using an activity tracker. I honestly only use mine for steps. The NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) and the NIH (National Institutes of Health) set a standard of 10,000 steps/day for the average, healthy adult. For some populations, 10,000 steps is too little (children, athletes) and for others it may be too much (elderly, those with a chronic illness), but if you are a healthy adult, 10,000 is a good goal for which to strive. An activity tracker helps me keep tabs on my steps during the day. I want to be clear in the fact that I do not use my activity tracker for calories. I simply like to see how active I am during the day. Yes, a more advanced tracker, such as a FuelBand, will tend to be more accurate and also has many more cool features to use, but a simple pedometer can do the trick, too. Just don’t shake it to try to get more steps. That won’t really do you any good. When I look at my activity tracker and see that I’ve only taken 3,000 steps, I get movin’.

Pedometer for counting steps and staying active

Nike Fuel Band Activity Tracker

2. Set Reminders

Ideally, you should be as active for as many minutes of the day as you can be. However, it is likely that at your job you are sitting at a desk. In these situations, you should try to get up and move at least once every hour. As I mentioned above, it is so easy to get wrapped up in something you are doing, and before you know it it’s been 3 hours and you haven’t moved an inch…except for your fingers, which have been typing incessantly (sorry, that doesn’t count as activity in this case). One cool feature of the Nike FuelBand is that you can set it to vibrate on your wrist once every hour to remind you to move. However, if you don’t have a FuelBand you can simply set these reminders on your computer or phone. When a reminder goes off–get up and move! Whether it’s a walk around the office or a couple push ups in the corner, do what’s best for you as long as you get your body moving.

3. Stand Up When You Can

Even standing is better than sitting. If you can get a standing desk, get a standing desk. Make sure it is set up correctly for you–ergonomics are crucial to your posture to avoid neck and back pain. However, not everyone can get a standing desk, but there are activities in which you can stand instead of sit–when you are on a call, when you are meeting with someone, etc. Standing also tends to make you move around more–you’re already up so what’s stopping you from walking around your office? Not much. People rarely like to stand still. If you are at home, try standing while you are on the phone, reading, watching tv. YES, you can still sit down and relax, I promise. But do you need to sit for 5 straight episodes of House of Cards? Naaaah.

standing cat likes activity

I mean…if this cat can do it…

4. Turn Down Time into Up Time

Have some down time during the day? I bet you are looking at me with googly eyes and saying “GOOD ONE. I am too busy for down time.” But I am willing to bet that you have more random spots of down time than you think. Turn that DOWN time into UP time. What I mean by that is: before you plop down onto the couch, why don’t you choose to use that time wisely? Clean the house, take a walk, walk the dog (even if it’s an imaginary dog, I don’t care), explore your neighborhood….you’d be surprised how turning even just 10 minutes of down time into up time can help you clear your mind.

cleaning and dancing

5. Turn Social Activities into Social ACTIVE-ities. Get it?

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Having a friend over to catch-up? Instead of sitting in your kitchen and chatting, why don’t you go for a walk?

pretty little liars walking

Do you have any tricks that keep YOU active during the day? I’d love to hear them!

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