Modern lifestyles mean, for many a high proportion of waking hours are spent sitting down. The switch from manual labour to machinery, transport and technology – even the automatic opening of a door, all contribute to a reduced daily energy expenditure and a more sedentary lifestyle.
Living in the 21st century comes with a myriad of labour limiting actions which means, unfortunately, that we now have to actively seek out means to be physically active to burn calories and control weight and help to maintain a healthy heart.
Heart Research UK have come up with some simple switch ideas to help create daily energy expenditure without even looking at a gym.
Limit car use
Do you automatically jump in the car to go buy a newspaper?
Set yourself a rule that the car won’t be used for journeys less than a mile. You’ll be surprised what you see and who you might meet in your local neighbourhood by simply taking to the streets.
Do you park as near to the door as you can?
Think about parking as far from the door as you can be it at work, at the train station, at the supermarket or the gym.
Every step that you take will add to your recommended 10,000 daily step count.
Stairway to heart health
Do you automatically head for the escalator or lift to go up a floor?
Take the to the stairs instead; even if you’re on the top floor, start by taking one floor and build it up over time till you’re doing the whole climb using the stairs. If nothing else, make a point of always taking the stairs to go down.
Shake up your commute
Walking or cycling to work can help you to fit in that recommended physical activity at the start and end of your day. Many workplaces offer a cycle to work scheme and have lockers and shower facilities, so find out what’s on offer. Exercise can also help you to unwind and relieve stress after a busy day, and it releases endorphins to make you feel good.
Get up from your desk whenever you can; organise a walking meeting with your team, you’ll be surprised just how easily those creative juices flow when you’re away from your desk or a stuffy meeting room. Walk over to people instead of phoning or emailing them, use the toilets on the opposite side of the building or on a different floor where possible.
Push open that door
If possible, instead of heading for the automatic doors which opens as you approach them, get in to the habit of going for the manual one. Using your muscles to do simple, everyday tasks will help to keep muscle tone and burn additional calories.
Being inactive can spell bad news for your mental and physical health. With a little bit of conscious thought however, switching the balance towards making an effort to move more and use more manual effort do things for yourself in everyday life, will go a long way to looking after your health and your heart.