Combining a consistently performed safe and effective exercise program and a healthy eating regimen with an active daily lifestyle is the “magical” plan to ensure a lifetime of health and fitness. The active daily lifestyle component of this plan is crucial to its success. The more active you are throughout the day, the more calories you expend, and, the stronger your functional muscular system will be, helping you to perform your activities of daily living safer and more effectively. Active does not necessarily mean “busy”. You can be busy just sitting at the computer and we know that sitting expends fewer calories than sleeping at night. Therefore, active means moving your body through space and time such as climbing the stairs, walking to the market, cycling to work, loading and unloading the car, chopping wood, shoveling snow, playing with the kids and cleaning house. Consider the following suggested daily activities to begin creating a more active lifestyle this summer and reap all of the health/fitness rewards. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
There is no doubt that walking is a fantastic activity period and it certainly may be the central activity that you perform for the cardiovascular endurance component of your fitness program. However, consider walking everywhere you are able throughout each day. Purchase a pedometer or a FitBit which measure the number of steps you take each day and attempt to reach ten to thirteen thousand steps per day or more. The more you walk, the more you will be able to walk!
Cycling everywhere too!
Cycling is another great activity that gets you from point A to point B a little faster than walking and may be the activity of choice for those living in the city rather than attempting to park the car. If you are cycling to work and do not want to begin sweating, just give yourself enough time to cycle at a less intense pace. On the way home, you can kick it up a notch if you like, but the key is to use your body as the motor rather than the car.
Climbing the stairs!
If you are able, climb the stairs as often as possible. If you only have five or fewer floors to climb, climb the stairs rather than taking the elevator. And, if there is an escalator, climb up and down rather than standing there. If there is a moving walkway in the airport, walk alongside if possible rather than taking the walkway, but at the very least walk the walkway rather than standing. You will get to your destination quicker and expend more energy along the way.
Carrying, Lifting, Cleaning, Shoveling and Chopping!
Carry the heaviest load you are able to safely, lift what you are able to safely and clean your environment often. Shovel snow if you are safely able to do so and chop your own wood if possible.
The more active you are daily, the more efficient, fit and functional your body will become. The more you do, the more you will be able to do, so be active every day!