Getting more physical activity is integral to living a long life free of disease and age-associated disability. As discussed in my previous blog post, ‘How Physical Activity Affects Your Appetite,’ getting more physical activity also helps to regulate your appetite and manage your body weight. The World Health Organization lists substantial benefits that are associated with increased physical activity including:
- Preventing/managing cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes
- Reducing depression and anxiety symptoms
- Enhancing cognitive skills like thinking, learning, and judgement
- Promoting healthy growth and development in young adults
The World Health Organization states that over 80% of the world’s adolescent population is not getting enough physical activity. It’s also stated that there is a 20-30% increased risk of death in people who are not physically active compared to people who are physically active.
All of these facts are scary, yet very apparent in our society. To make matters worse, our society today has been structured to provide as much convenience and as little physical activity as possible. While convenience and innovation are not inherently bad, having them in society today forces us to take responsibility of our own bodies and make time for regular physical activity. Being more physically active, irrespective of weight loss, has all of the physical and cognitive benefits listed above associated with it. So how can we incorporate more activity into our day in a convenient and realistic way?
1. Start Walking
Walking is a highly underrated way to get in more physical activity without the need to go to a location, buy equipment, or even overexert yourself in the process. Walking is very accessible for most people and only requires a decent sidewalk or road to walk on and shoes to walk in. You can take short walks on lunch breaks or after meals while at home. You can go for walks alone, with the family, with your pet, on vacation, virtually anywhere and at (almost) anytime. It is one of the easiest ways to incorporate more activity into your day with only a small degree of effort.
2. Get a New Hobby
Whether or not your favorite hobby involves high levels of movement, chances are it’s still physical activity. Painting, gardening, playing an instrument, dancing are all great ways to incorporate more physical activity into your day. If you’re someone like me who appreciates video games, it’s worthwhile to consider investing in a VR set or a videogame like Just Dance or DDR to get in some movement while playing your favorite games. Physical activity doesn’t have to involve strenuous exercise. The best way to stick to a movement routine is to enjoy it so find an active hobby you’d like to partake in and you’ll find it a lot easier to fit in more movement into your day.
3. Do Your Chores
Alright, this suggestion is no one’s favorite on the list, however, it’s truly difficult to clean your entire living space and works perfectly for getting in more activity inside of your home. Wash the dishes, vacuum the floors and couches, dust the fans and ledges, mop the floors, scrub the toilets… quite frankly that’s an entire push, pull, squat, hinge, carry workout when you’re through with it. The bonus tip is that you’ll feel so accomplished after doing so and can reward yourself with a refreshing shower or candlelit bath afterwards. It’s a win-win!
If you already partake in moderate to strenuous exercise, getting in more physical activity is still important to your overall health and longevity. Even people who are relatively “in-shape” yet inactive throughout the day (like working a desk job or not moving outside of their scheduled workouts) can still experience the negative consequences associated with being physically inactive. It’s unfortunately not enough to tire yourself out for one hour of the day and then vegetate for the following 23 hours. Everyone can stand to benefit from being more physically active throughout the day as our bodies have not evolved to be as sedentary as they are now in this environment. Use these tips listed in this article to get ideas on how to become more physically active and you’ll be on your way to experiencing the countless benefits associated with it 🙂