By Lisa Egan
Our culture is one of convenience. Technology has made it incredibly simple to get what we want with a click of a button. We just don’t move much these days.
This lack of physical activity is slowly killing us.
According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), too few Americans get enough physical activity, and the costs (physical and financial) are enormous. Here are some of the alarming statistics the agency reports:
- Only 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 high school students fully meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
- About 31 million adults aged 50 years or older are inactive, meaning they get no physical activity beyond that of daily living.
- Inactivity contributes to 1 in 10 premature deaths.
- Inadequate levels of physical activity are associated with $117 billion in annual healthcare costs.
Being physically active can lower your risk of the following:
- early death
- coronary heart disease
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- high triglycerides
- Type 2 diabetes
- metabolic syndrome
- colon cancer
- breast cancer
Physical activity provides a massive list of benefits for body and mind for people of all ages. It fosters normal growth and development and can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. It makes people feel better, function better, and sleep better. Some health benefits start immediately after activity.
To attain the most health benefits from physical activity, adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking or fast dancing, each week. Adults also need muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least 2 days each week. If you’d like to learn more about putting together a comprehensive fitness plan, check out Bug Out Boot Camp.
Even if you can’t meet those guidelines, getting in any amount of physical activity every day (or at least on most days) is better than nothing.
Busy work schedules, family obligations, and, well, let’s face it – modern life – can make it difficult to get enough activity in. And as a preparedness-minded person, you know that you’ll need to be in decent physical shape if (or when, because it is only a matter of time) the SHTF. Improving your physical fitness will help you enjoy better health and have the strength and stamina to handle a disaster when it arrives.
Here are 45 easy ways to add more movement to your day.
- Stand up and walk around whenever you can during your workday.
- Take brisk walks on your breaks.
- Keep walking shoes in your car so you are always ready for a quick stroll.
- Brainstorm ideas with co-workers while walking around your office building.
- Instead of emailing a co-worker, walk to their desk to talk to them.
- Stand while talking on the phone.
- Choose the stairs when possible.
- Get a quick workout or walk in first thing in the morning.
- Join a local walking group, or start one.
- Drive less – walk instead, when you can.
- Get on/off the bus or subway a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way.
- Pedal on a stationary bike while you watch TV, listen to audiobooks, or read.
- Play with your children and/or pets at a park or in your yard.
- Take a class at a fitness center or YMCA – options usually include swimming, water aerobics, yoga, aerobics, martial arts, and dance.
- Ride your bike on errands.
- Plant and maintain a garden.
- Park far from your destination.
- At work, use restrooms that are far from your desk. Taking the stairs to a restroom on another floor is even better.
- Do housework and yard work yourself if you are physically able.
- Take several short walks during your day – 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there…it all adds up.
- Do squats and lunges while brushing your teeth, watching TV, waiting for food to cook, etc – any time you have a few minutes to kill, get some in!
- Schedule exercise into your day – write it on your calendar.
- Find a fitness buddy (or several) and schedule workouts with them. These can be short sessions – even a few 20 minute walks during the week add up.
- Take a few extra laps around the grocery store when you go shopping (just make sure the wrong things don’t end up in your cart!).
- Download a fitness app or two onto your smartphone or other devices and use the reminder feature. Here are a few to check out: The Best Fitness and Exercise Apps of 2019
- Turn music on and dance around your house.
- Plan family outings that involve physical activity.
- Go skating with your friends or family.
- Play frisbee at the park or in your yard.
- Catch up on all those home repairs.
- Do quick bodyweight workouts.
- Organize your closets and shelves.
- Buy a jump rope or a hula hoop and use them for short bouts of fun activity.
- Invest in a portable gym system.
- When the weather doesn’t cooperate, go to a mall, a museum, or an art gallery to get some walking in.
- Take up an active hobby. Hiking, nature photography, indoor rock wall climbing, martial arts, and dance classes are all fun options.
- Wash your car.
- Buy a Wii Fit and schedule times to use it on your calendar.
- Sign up for a charity walk and start training for it.
- Do jumping jacks throughout the day.
- Play backyard games like croquet, badminton, or horseshoes.
- Go bowling.
- Do some chair exercises. Here are some to try at work or at home: 11 Quick Chair Exercises That Work as Well as Going to the Gym
- Sit on a fitness ball while you work. Consider swapping your desk chair for a firmly inflated fitness or stability ball, as long as you’re able to safely balance on the ball. You’ll improve your balance and tone your core muscles while sitting at your desk. Use the fitness ball for wall squats or other exercises during the day. Keep in mind that in some cases, an office chair may be more appropriate.
- Volunteer: Look for volunteering opportunities that involve movement, like helping at a community garden, participating in neighborhood clean-up days, walking shelter dogs, and building homes with Habitat for Humanity.
- Pick up a kettlebell and swing it around. These funny-looking objects that resemble a bowling ball or cannonball with a handle are incredibly versatile and can be used for a full body workout just about anywhere. Depending on your fitness goals, the kettlebell just might be the ONLY piece of exercise equipment you’ll ever need. There are at least 52 exercises you can do with this incredibly versatile piece of equipment – all in the comfort of your own home or yard. To learn how to use a kettlebell properly see the videos in this article: Want a Fat and Calorie-Burning Home Workout That Won’t Torch Your Bank Account? Try Kettlebells!
What do you think?
Have you found ways to sneak more physical activity into your day? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.
Lisa Egan has been passionate about nutrition and fitness for over 20 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a minor in Nutrition. She is the owner of the website All About Habits.