Small Steps, Big Difference

So we know we need to move more, but how do we do it in a society that values productivity at a sedentary desk instead of while being active (well of course this depends on your job, but a vast majority of the time, jobs aren’t as active as they should be!)?

Everyone cannot afford gym memberships.  Well, perhaps some can, but choose to use their money for other things (the newest iPad is essential for life isn’t it…a little sarcasm doesn’t hurt sometime)!  But this economic climate surely makes gym membership more of a luxury than not.  Even if you do have a gym membership, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you will put it to use.  In fact, gym memberships have been found to be one of the largest wastes of money (see article).  Motivation is key in making use of the gym (hopefully, this blog will help with that!), which may be hard to come by after a long, exhausting day of work.  Although this is by no means a reasonable excuse to use all of the time, it’s certainly a convenient one to jump to!!!

When looking at your daily routine, always remember that small steps make a big difference and don’t discount even the smallest movement.  In fact, a recent study presented at the annual conference of the American Institute of Cancer Research found that sitting in a chair (and therefore inactivity) increases the risk for breast and colon cancer.  The study, however, is of no surprise given the reduction of risk of these cancers if you move more.  

Because we are so inactive as a whole, all moments of walking add up throughout the day.  This includes: bathroom breaks, walking to a co-worker’s desk to ask them a quick question, walking up the escalator instead of standing on the right, taking steps as often as possible, parking farther away from the entrance of the store, and other strategy to move your tush!!!  Of course being more active at work runs the risk of appearing not as productive as co-workers, but at the same time, making steps towards great health may in fact reduce the number of sick days you need to use down the line.  

Use the tips below to help you make small steps that make a large difference.

  • Take the stairs as much as possible instead of the elevator or escalator.  But if you have knee problems or recommendations from the doctor to abstain from stairs, follow the doctor’s orders!
  • During your lunch break, take a brisk walk with co-workers or by yourself.  Show some initiative and start a lunch-break walking group.
  • When at your desk, take brief moments throughout the day to get up to stretch or stretch while seated.  Clasp your hands behind your back while stretching your fists as far away from your body as possible (see image above).  This stretch is good to avoid becoming the hunchback of Notre dame when you get older (the computer age is contributing to this, I might add, and in 20 years we will be a society of hunchbacks!).
  • Start using a pedometer if you don’t already.  And if you have a pedometer that’s out of commission, wipe the dust off and put it to good and healthy use!  It’s recommended to take 10,000 steps each day, and for most of us, that’s an unreasonable amount to start with (for now anyways, but not in the future!).  Meanwhile, some may think they “walk a lot,” but in reality are not as close to the recommendation as they think.  And if you are already meeting the recommendation, kudos to you.  See the tools for great health panel (on the right hand side of the page) to see one pedometer option and explore more on Amazon.  Try to gradually increase how many steps you take in a day.  Meanwhile, you can also create healthy competition among friends, family, or co-workers who also have pedometers.  If no one in your circle has one, spread the word or give them the gift of fitness inspiration.

Here’s to getting a move on it!

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