Up and At ‘Em: How to Keep Moving Throughout Your Day
By Erin Sandberg
Here’s an interesting thought: Even for all the time you spend in the dance studio or at the gym, you’re likely to spend more time sitting—at your desk at school or work, at a table while eating, on the couch while unwinding with some reality TV. You know all that sitting isn’t so great for the body, but you work out every day, so you’re good, right? Not so fast.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) estimate Americans age 12 and up spend eight to 10 hours per day sitting, and all that sitting can lead to a host of long-term health problems from obesity to heart disease to diabetes—even if you regularly break a sweat!
Luckily, the solution is simple and you can start today. Moving during the day—even in small bursts—can boost levels of “good” cholesterol, strengthen your bones and muscles and lessen your risk of stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
“You’re engaging a wide range of systems in your body when you move throughout your day,” Dr. Charles E. Matthews told the NIH. “Your muscles are contracting, you’re maintaining your balance, and you’re resisting the force of gravity.”
From eating your protein-packed morning meal standing up to doing some late night yoga poses, here are a few easy ways to keep yourself up and at ’em:
- Eat your protein-packed breakfast standing up—bonus points for one foot at a time.
- During your commute, stand on the train or bus, or park one block farther than usual.
- Set an alarm to remind you to move at least once an hour. Anything counts! Take a bathroom break, walk a lap around the office or get up and talk to a friend or coworker.
- Spend one of your movement breaks doing some discreet seated moves.
- Chop, strain, measure, mash, puree, dice and mix—all while standing at the counter or stove—while preparing your meal.
- Do some simple leg-strengthening yoga poses during TV commercial breaks: Warrior II, triangle, extended side angle and standing yoga seal are all great for those who sit during the day.
These apps and gadgets will give you friendly reminders and motivation to get out of your seat:
- Chime: A super simple, free app that chimes on the hour between whatever hours you choose (i.e. it won’t wake you up at night!).
- Fitbit Flex: The Fitbit’s cute cousin. This bracelet tracks your steps, distance traveled and calories burned. Choose between black, blue, green or pink.
- Nike+ Fuelband SE: A sharp-looking monitor you wear on your wrist that counts your steps and calories burned, and even sends you “move reminders” every hour.
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