Think about how much time you spend sitting down. Do you have a desk job where you’re seated most of the day? Do you spend an hour in your car on the daily commute? Do you come home from work and slide into the recliner to watch your favorite sitcom or the playoff games with your favorite team? Study after study finds that long periods of inactivity lead to an increased risk of disease, death, and weight gain. And recent research suggests that exercising alongside a sedentary lifestyle isn’t even enough. You’ve got to get moving all the time, even if you have a desk job.
But how do you begin to reverse a lifetime of cultivating couch potato status? Some of the following exercises and activities might help.
Elite marathoners run close to 12 MPH when they hurtle down the street during a race, but that’s about twice as fast as a quick jog for the majority of joggers. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a runner just yet. A walk around the block is plenty to start.
Not only is a walk a terrific exercise for lifting mood and lowering your risk of weight-related conditions like type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic suggests that one of the best exercises for maintaining a healthy weight is a brisk walk. Simple and easy.
If you’re looking at an uphill battle to lose more than 100 pounds, swimming is an amazing workout. If your knees hurt after you try to jog, they won’t if you try to swim instead. The whole-body workout of a half-hour in the pool builds incredible endurance and is the best exercise for anyone unused to standing for long periods of time.
According to a list published by Harvard Medical School, leisurely swimming and having fun in the pool burns 266 calories in an hour if you weigh 185 pounds. If you start swimming laps, that total more than doubles to 444 calories an hour.
Your desk job has you hunched over a computer for 8 hours a day while your commute has you sitting in a car for another few hours. Perhaps switching careers to something that doesn’t involve a computer and a desk chair is out of the question, but that doesn’t mean exercise is off the menu.
Getting up from your desk regularly keeps the blood circulating, but so do exercises you can do from your chair. According to “Shape” magazine, all you need is a common desk chair to build strength.
You’ve probably seen yoga poses with names as strange as the way they force people to bend and twist their bodies; however, you can spend days learning simple yoga poses before you ever move onto the hard stuff.
According to WebMD, you’ll want to try Iyengar Yoga, Hatha Yoga, or Kundalini Yoga for a gentle rotation that doesn’t stress a sedentary body.
Perhaps you’ve got the cushiest parking spot at the office and walk just a few feet from your car to the front door, but that perk is only handy during inclement weather. If you can stomach the thought of a hike into the office, try parking down the street in the morning and remember to skip the elevator and make friends with the stairs. If you’re really adventurous, you might consider cycling to work!
Maybe you don’t need to fire the gardener completely, but taking on a few landscaping-inspired activities is an easy way to get moving during the day. Attack the flower beds one Saturday morning and rid them of weeds. Break out the push mower another day and tame the yard.
Best of all: these “exercises” help keep your home beautiful.
Instead of lifting the remote to flip through channels this evening, try getting up and walking to the television. Make like it’s 1955 and the only way to get your “Law & Order” rerun fix is to come within arm’s length of the television.
You’re not going to burn tons of calories with a walk to the television, but it will get you off the couch. You can also apply this idea to work. Need to contact someone on the 12th floor? Go walk up a few flights of stairs instead of giving them a call.