Small, Daily Changes that Can Boost Your Fitness
Deciding to pursue a healthy, fit life can be something that seriously impacts your time, itineraries, and food habits. Undoubtedly though, the benefits of being fit are worth the effort and research involved with successfully going after a better, healthier life, and there are so many ways that a person can choose to approach the idea. One person might decide on a vegan diet while another chooses to keep meat in their meal plans, and one person could take up running as exercise instead of another’s choice of focused weightlifting. There’s no one way to become fit!
There are, however, ways that you can strive for fitness even beyond those bigger details of what exercise technique to pursue or what diet to partake in. These prospects for boosting your fitness level are ones that you can apply during your daily life through small choices, and while those smaller choices might not suffice as fitness strategies on their own, they’re things that can better an already present fitness regimen. Think of them like bonus points on an exam. If you fail the whole thing, five or ten points might not save your grade, but if you earned a good grade anyway, they boost it higher—maybe from a B to an A.
To chase after your ideal level of fitness, don’t neglect to tend to these small opportunities whenever possible to get those bonus points and go from good to even better!
Take the stairs. There are plenty of places where you have the option of stairs, an elevator, or an escalator to get from one floor to another. While it might be tempting to step on that escalator or elevator, choosing instead to take the stairs can give you a mini workout within your day, especially if you’re going more than one floor higher than where you currently are. Taking the stairs from the first floor to the fourth floor, with that logic in mind, could get your heart pumping and breath coming just a little quicker. It’s not enough to make you ready to run a marathon, but it’s one of those bonus points to add to your fitness score.
Drink more water. Your body needs water, plain and simple. If you don’t get sufficient water, you could become dehydrated and/or die, neither of which are good options for you! Rather than getting all of your liquid requirements through coffee or carbonated beverages, think about replacing some of those drinks with water. Why? Because water comes with fewer disadvantages in regard to your health, and it cleans out your system while providing a number of other health benefits—like assisting with muscle health (Zelman, 2008). Basically, any time you choose to have water over a Mountain Dew, you’re giving yourself something that can boost your health in place of something that can damage it, which is obviously a good takeaway!
Take breaks from sedentary work. There might not be anything wrong with working at a desk (or on your couch, says the writer), but the lack of physical activity going on during that time isn’t necessarily doing wonders for your fitness level, especially if it’s occurring for 40 hours a week (plus lazy time at home after you get off of work). To help keep from being too sedentary, take breaks from the desk or less-physical work situations for spurts of activity. Even if it’s just standing up and walking around your office for five minutes, you’re getting tiny bits of exercise during your otherwise less-active workday.
Wash your car, or house, by hand. We live in an age where carwashes are common, and pressure washers exist to make getting the exterior of your house clean. Sure, these possibilities might be wonderful for what they do in regard to cleaning, but things like sitting while machines wash your car— or standing by your house with a machine to do a good deal of the cleaning for you—don’t have the same fitness appeal as taking these tasks on in more old-fashioned style. Instead of taking your car to the carwash, break out a pail, cleaner, a cloth, and the water hose, then scrub the grime and dirt away by hand. If the exterior of your house needs cleaning, get a ladder and cleaning supplies so you can tend to what you can on your own. You might find these to be taxing experiences, but they’re productive in two ways—getting your possessions clean and providing yourself a bit of a workout.
Use a push mower instead of a riding lawnmower. In like fashion, mowing the lawn can be treated as more of a workout if you choose your lawnmowing equipment well. Rather than breaking out the riding lawnmower, revert back to the push mower that requires more effort to perform the same job. You’ll probably sweat a little more, but the extra exertion provides more fitness possibility to add to an already awesome regimen. Don’t succumb to the temptation of an easier experience while mowing the lawn! Sweat your way to a bonus point or two with the simple decision of using the push mower.
Walk to work or nearby places. As appealing as it might be to jump in your car or catch a cab to head to work, the post office, or a store, choosing to walk to your local destinations is yet another miniature workout to add to your day-to-day itinerary. Of course, if you plan to do your week’s grocery shopping, walking might not be the best of options, but when logic and rationale lead to the decision that walking is a reasonable prospect, make that choice! Each step you take is another deliberate step toward a fitness goal because you’re exerting yourself physically in a way that you didn’t need to. You chose to do the healthier thing.
Park at the back of the parking lot. Let’s say that walking isn’t a practical decision, and you need to take your car. Maybe the store you need to go to is too far away to walk, so you decide you’ll have to drive there. Believe it or not, you can still make a fitness-friendly decision with this strategy by parking at the back, or near the back, of the parking lot. Even though you aren’t walking the whole way to the store, you’re creating distance between you and your destination that you’ll travel by foot both ways—away from your car and back to your car. Again, this isn’t something that’s going to make you fit on its own, but it can be like sprinkles on top of a fitness cupcake that make for a better overall result—or bonus points on that exam I mentioned.
Stand for shorter wait times instead of sitting. One piece of rationale behind this idea is simple: You burn more calories while standing than you do while sitting (Cespedes, 2015). The difference in calories isn’t amazing, but as you’ve been informed, we’re exploring little decisions that can make impacts on fitness levels. Small as it might be, the impact from this standing-or-sitting detail is real, and deciding to stand as you wait for your food at a restaurant (ideally one that’s at least somewhat healthy!) will help you burn more calories than sitting during the wait.
Choose the cash register away from your favorite candy bar or junk food. Maybe you’re the type of person who can’t say no to a Milky Way, and regardless of how hard you try, you always end up getting one as a last-minute indulgence. If that’s the case, purposely choosing a register that isn’t near a stash of Milky Ways could prevent you from succumbing to that craving. Overall, it’s a great way to save yourself from calories and sugar that you don’t need in your daily routine, so skip the lines that are close to your junk food weaknesses.
Making these simple decisions throughout your days can make small, but real, impacts on your health when they’re paired with a good fitness regimen, so don’t overlook the possible advantages that such simple gestures can add to your health level!
Cespedes, A. (2015, April 14). Calories Burned Standing vs. Sitting. LiveStrong . Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/73916-calories-burned-standing-vs.-sitting/
Zelman, K.M. (2008). 6 Reasons to Drink Water. WebMD . Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-dr...