September 21, 2018

Rock The Walk Week 1

General Health

Hey everyone! Happy first week of the Rock the Walk Challenge. I hope you’re enjoying getting into the groove (or continuing your groove) with incorporating physical activity into your day, and dominating this challenge. Remember, making lifestyle changes takes time, and is a marathon and not a sprint!

Week one’s educational topic is centered around “Active Lifestyles” and how adding more movement to your day can be beneficial to your health.

As you (hopefully) know by now, this challenge is centered around physical activity, and getting your muscles, blood and joints moving more during the week. For those of you who have read my blogs in the past, you know I like, no LOVE, physical activity and exercise which means I especially love this challenge. Exercise is one of those things you really can’t or shouldn’t live without, because of all of the physical, emotional and mental benefits it provides.

Now, I know that (*GASP*) exercise is not everyone’s favorite thing in the world, and it can be incredibly hard to find time to add structured exercise. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 150 minutes weekly (hey, that number is familiar!) of moderately-intense physical activity, which means you’re getting your heart pumping and muscles moving. Some examples of moderately-intense physical activity are walking, running, biking, swimming, hiking, taking a fitness class, boot camp, and just about any other exercise you can think of. The 150 minutes breaks down to just over 20 minutes a day, which could further be broken into 10 minute segments. When you think of it that way, it’s not as daunting and totally doable.

Now that I got off of my physical activity soapbox, we’ll get back to active lifestyles. Certainly, physical activity fits right in with active lifestyles and it is what we’re encouraging with this challenge, but the concept of an ‘active lifestyle’ is centered around limiting the amount of sitting during the day, and how you can be more engaged with your health in a positive manner.

Many of you reading this are possibly sitting in a chair, and maybe you’ve been sitting for a bit (no judgment here… I just looked at the clock and realized I have been sitting for nearly 2 1/2 hours without standing ONCE!). When you stop and think how much we sit every day – between our commutes to work and errands, our 8 (or 9 or 10…) hour workdays, and then sitting in front of the TV or playing Candy Crush on our phones, it’s a bit scary. Add in modern conveniences like Amazon and other online shopping sites, online banking, and our cell phones, we are “required” to move less than ever. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking” which essentially means that our sedentary lifestyles are taking a toll on our health and the negative effects are killing more people than smoking.

So, what the heck can we do to combat this phenomenon? Check out the tips below for how you can deliberately add in some movement to your day:

At Work:

  • Break time and Lunch
    • Get moving during your breaks and lunchtime. Take a walk around the block, or to one end of the building and back. Every step counts, and you may be surprised how good you feel once you return to work after a bit of a movement break. 
  • Set a timer
    • If you need a gentle push each hour, set a timer on your phone or smart watch to remind you to get moving each hour. It doesn’t have to be much, but a few minutes every hour will get your muscles moving and can help you be more productive during the day.
  • Take a stand
    • Some workplaces are getting on board with providing employees with stand-to-sit work desks that allow you to be standing for more of your day. If this isn’t an option, think about standing when you take a phone call, or even during meetings (Maybe give your boss a heads up or bring it up as an option for the entire group!).
  • Parking
    • If walking or biking isn’t an option for you to get to work, opt to park further away and get a few more steps before and after work. 
  • Party like it’s 1999…err…
    • Ok, not really, but think back to when technology wasn’t as much of a thing:
      • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
      • Instead of calling/emailing a person, walk to talk to them
      • Deliver mail or materials in person instead of using a courier

At Home

  • Start/End your day
    • Start or end your day with movement of some kind. You’ll feel great about incorporating some “you time” and getting the blood flowing. For me, as much as I may not be thrilled about getting up a bit earlier, I know it’s time that I can dedicate to me, and it just sets the tone for the rest of the day.
  • Get up during commercial breaks
    • I am certainly not advocating to get rid of your TV and to give up your shows (I’m not even going to list the shows I watch for fear of judgment) but, it’s easy to get sucked into a Netflix binge and whoops! A few hours are gone just like that. To get a few more active minutes during the day, challenge yourself to move during commercials on TV.
  • Yard work
    • Yard work is kind of that guaranteed “get your butt moving” way to get more physical activity and get more movement into your day. Think: raking, mowing, weed pulling, gardening, weed whacking, etc…
  • Pace
    • If you’re on the phone with a friend or family member, pace around the room or take a walk while speaking to them. If waiting for dinner to be ready, add a bit of back and forth. While you might feel silly, remember, each step is one in the right direction of keeping your body moving and being active.

With Family/Friends

  • Try something new
    • Sometimes it can be a bit nerve racking to try a new type of exercise, or to go out on a hike by yourself, so it’s a great idea to incorporate friends and family. They help keep you accountable, and can help you find exercises that you enjoy and want to continue. As them for suggestions too! You just might be surprised what you learn about yourself and friends/family!

Active Entertainment

  • Going to a movie is great, fun, and really… who can resist the popcorn, but there’s a lot of other options for entertainment that involve a bit of moving, and can incorporate the family. Think: Bowling, hiking, playing games/sports, going to a corn maze, lazer tag, or going dancing.

Waiting for the kids

  • Kids have tons of activities going on all year round, and you may be noticing that you spend time sitting and waiting. Instead of sitting and waiting, plan ahead to arrive a bit early to get a quick walk around the block, or go outside of the gym. Hey, there might be other parents who would be willing to join you!

Active lifestyles incorporate a whole-day approach to movement, and it may take a bit of thinking on your part how you can incorporate this movement, and get moving. While I am not advocating for you to quit your job because you “sit too much”, creativeness may need to kick in to get your body moving more, and to take the next step in your health.

Until next time!