In a study about how inactivity is related to heart disease, it was shown that men who sat for at least 5 hours a day or more had more than double the risk of heart failure than those who were active and sat for 2 hours or less. In fact:
Even if participants exercised regularly, sitting had a negative influence on their health. No matter how much they exercised, men who spent five or more hours a day sitting outside of work were 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure compared to those who sat two hours a day or less, according to the investigation.
Now, we all aren’t in positions to only be sitting for 2 hours of less…the American work day doesn’t work like that (I wish!)
But there are ways to make sure that you’re active throughout the day. Just 1 hour at the gym isn’t enough anymore. It doesn’t undue the other 8-10 hours you are sitting at your desk. This is part of the reason why tracking devices like FitBit, Nike Fuel bands, and pedometers in general are so popular. I have a Galaxy S4 which came with a step tracker widget, and I was shocked at how little I walked during the day. I would average around 2,000 steps – the recommended amount is 10,000!
Some days it’s really hard for me to get 10,000 steps, but you can certainly do it. It seems like a lot but little steps throughout the day (no pun intended hehe) will help you end the day with 10K steps. Here are a few ways to reach your goal:
1. Take a 5 min. walk break every hour. This was a tip I initially saw somewhere on the twitterverse. If you work 8 hours, and take a 5 min. walk break every hour, that is 40 minutes of walking in one day! That’s great, especially if you can’t make it to the gym after work. 5 minutes of your time is nothing.
2. Use a small water bottle so you have to get up and refill more often. I used to love finding the biggest water bottles so that I could make sure to drink enough at work. But, now I like little bottles, or I just refill a cup at my desk. Why? Because it means I will have to get up to walk to the water fountain more often (at my job it is not in my office, it’s outside down a hallway). Most of the time I really don’t feel like getting up but you gotta do what you gotta do! Plus, you’ll also be getting up more often to go to the bathroom
3. Purposely park further away. Give yourself a few extra minutes in the morning and park further than you usually would. Though I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t do this in the winter because I’m not about walking in the freezing cold. Otherwise, enjoy the sunshine in the morning!
4. Walk/run as a warm-up before you lift. If you go to the gym after work (or even before), walk or run as a warm-up. Running will obviously rack up more steps but if you’re not a runner then walking is just fine. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up before beginning your workout.
5. Go for a 10 min. walk before work, or during lunch, or after dinner to relax. These are all great times to get in a short 10 minute walk. I mean, 10 minutes is nothing! Use part of your lunch break to do this. If it’s cold outside and you have a gym at work, then go walk on the treadmill and read a book or listen to a podcast at the same time. In the summer, I like going on evening walks after dinner to wind down before bed.
6. Set reminders to get up out of your desk and walk around, even if only for a few minutes. If you’re like me, you get sucked into your computer and don’t get up enough. Set up alarms so that every hour you’re reminded to go for your 5 minute walk.
7. Have a challenge at work with friends to see who can get the most steps in 1 day. I’m a competitive person, so I love challenges. Team up with friends and coworkers to see who can get the most steps in a day, a week, etc. This will get you extra incentive and motivation to do all of the other 6 tips
Do you have a pedometer or tracking device? Do you regularly get 10,000 steps? Any tips you’d add?
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