It seems like every new gadget, app or service is designed to save us time by saving us labor. But all that convenience means we’re a lot less physically active. Most of us sit a lot more than our bodies were intended to, and all that sitting shuts our body down. We end up with slow circulation, sluggish metabolism, tight muscles and creaky joints. One hour of exercise barely makes up for the dozen or so hours we spend on our butts.
We often dread exercise – it takes a lot of time, it doesn’t seem fun, and so on. But being healthy doesn’t necessarily mean putting in endless hours on a treadmill. Even with physical and lifestyle limitations due to chronic kidney disease, incorporating small daily changes can add up to better health, fitness and quality of life.
Here are 8 lifestyle tweaks to help you get more active – and healthier – without much effort.
This is the easy one. Just spend more time on your feet. Use a standing desk at work, or choose standing instead of sitting on public transportation. Old habits can be hard to break, but that’s where technology can help. Schedule reminders on your calendar, or try out any number of apps that will remind you on your phone or desktop when it’s time to stand up.
Walk the Walk
Look for opportunities to add a little walking into your day. When you drive to work, to school, or to the doctor, park a little further away for a longer walk to and from the front door. If you take mass transportation, get off one or two stops early and walk the rest of the way. When in doubt, take the stairs. Adding 5 minutes of walking here, 10 minutes there to your daily routine makes a huge difference.
Remember Face-to-Face Time?
Desk jockeys can visit co-workers’ offices to talk in-person conversation instead of emailing or calling. At home, walk into the other room instead of texting your dear ones (you know you do it). When visiting family or friends, get outside for a stroll while you chat. Besides whittling your waistline, the quality time will make your relationships stronger.
Swap that snack
Are you a stress eater? Instead of grabbing a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream (who stress eats a salad, after all?), go for a walk around your neighborhood. Or do 30 seconds of jumping jacks or marching in place. If you need a break or to release some tension, a little physical activity can give you the same relief – without the extra calories.
Get in Gear
Break out your bike. You can bike to work, your friend’s house, or make it your regular mode of transport. It’s a Win-Win-Win – you get to where you’re going, you burn calories, and you save money on gas!
Hit the Market, Ditch the Cart
Carrying groceries is basically strength-training, working your arms, legs and core. Make sure to keep your back straight, shoulders back, and head and chest up. Besides making you stronger, it works to reverse the spine slump from sitting all day.
Turn Up the Volume on TV Time
As much as you may like sinking into your sofa while you binge watch Netflix, sitting on the floor will keep you moving, shifting, and stretching to stay comfortable. If you must be couch-bound, use the commercial breaks to stretch, do the twist – anything to get your blood pumping – and then go.
Get a Dog
Talk about a lifestyle change! Besides unconditional love, a dog will give you a reason to get out and active at least a couple of times a day. Head over to your local shelter and pick up a rescue pup. You’ll save his life, and he’ll thank you for it with loyal companionship every day.
In other words, get creative. Look for opportunities to be more active instead of finding excuses not to exercise. While you may drop some pounds as a result, the most important thing is that you’re healthier and happier, day in and day out.