Get The Most of Your Day
Bernsie recently came home with a new fancy-shmancy pedometer that her company handed out to all of their employees. A pedometer isn't a device that measures how many times you pet your cat, that's a pet-ometer. No, a pedometer is a device that you wear on your body that counts the number of steps you take. Each participant is encouraged to log 10,000 steps per day and for those who do there will be drawing with prizes and stuff. I’ve seen other people using similar devices. Some even estimate calorie expenditure and come with a whole program where you can manage and track not only your physical activity, but your nutrition as well. The accuracy of these products is not an exact science, even though they market them that way, but what the hell? – It’s all relative anyway. I applaud almost any effort to get us moving more.
Last year I posted an article about a study that found that people who are active during the day are more likely to be physically fit than those who reserve their efforts for the gym. Since then a few more studies have come up with similar findings. Why? The most common theory is that when we plan on working out after work or plan on attending a weekend boot-camp class we consciously or unconsciously take it easy on ourselves the rest of the time.
Upping the amount you move is easier than you might think and it doesn’t have to take much more time off your already busy schedule. Below I’ve listed a number of ways you can get more exercise, burn more calories and tighten up that back 40 just living life.
I’m reluctant to put this first….
Wake up 30 minutes earlier.
Studies upon studies have shown that early risers are trimmer and mentally and physically healthier than their later rising counterparts. Use the extra time to walk around the block, take Fido with you, he’ll appreciate the extra attention and show you by chewing up only one of your new Pradas. Sit down and have a healthy breakfast rather than wolfing down that “healthy” egg sandwich thing Starbucks is pushing on you every morning. Pray/meditate. Leave for work 8 minutes earlier than usual. Being early lowers your stress and less stressed people are thinner.
Turn housework into an Olympic event.
I haven’t done this yet but it sounds fun. First make a list of all the housework that needs to be done that day. Second, stage all your cleaning stuff for easy access. Put on some bumpin’ music and set the stopwatch function on your smartphone. Now go to town. Work through all the items on your list as rapidly as possible. Work up a sweat. Post your time on your refrigerator and next week try to beat your record. Better yet, challenge a girlfriend to do the same - loser buys lunch.
Park in the back of the lot
Whether you’re running errands or going to the movies, park in the far back of the parking lot. You’ll reduce your stress level, there are always spaces available in the back and you’ll save your car doors because people with door-flinging kids tend to park up front. The walk will do you good too.
Be active at the office.
Take the stairs. We’ve heard this for years and the average commitment to it is about 2.6 days. Even so, it's worth trying to make it a habit. Rather than making inter-office phone calls, walk down the hall to meet with whomever for whatever. This personal touch will help boost your energy level and burn calories, but will also promote more buy-in to your needs and ideas. Extra face time will make your co-workers, underlings and bosses see you as a player.
Stand up and stay standing when someone visits you in your office or cubicle. Not only will you be getting more exercise, but it makes the other person feel valued and creates in them an impression of you as a leader.
Practice Perfect Posture
Maintaining a healthy posture is truly one of the easiest ways to feel better, look better and trim down, yes – trim down. Sitting or standing with poor posture hampers your metabolism. A slow metabolism lowers your energy level, causes lower back pain, makes your tummy stick out and promotes weight gain. Oh, it also causes depression. How? Over 90% of your serotonin receptors are in your gastrointestinal tract, poor posture cramps that tract preventing healthy digestion and reduces your uptake of serotonin. You’re sitting up now aren’t you?
Start a walking group in your neighborhood or at the office
A recent study found that when we exercise in groups we are 4 times more likely to stick to it. Workout partners are less effective because in any given week one or both of you will have reason to cancel and once you start cancelling the partnership is doomed. Groups are proven to be more consistent. Each member will occasionally have a reason to cancel, but it’s unlikely that you’ll all have conflicts on the same days. There will almost always be a few people around to walk with.
I know for a fact that this guy will be walking around your neighborhood today.
See if your company will sponsor your group with T-shirts or an extra 15 minutes of lunch time, they might even subsidize your cross-trainers. Similar programs have proven to save the company money through better health insurance rates, fewer sick days, and greater productivity.
If these little tips sound like commons sense it’s because they are, but in this world of adverscience and pie in the sky promises from supplement companies common sense is desperately needed.
Well, that’s my two cents and it’s worth every penny.