Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Back To Work - How To Remain Active?

It may be Tuesday morning, but it probably feels like a Monday morning.

So here is a very cute picture of a puppy to make you feel better!

Now that we feel much better, just remember for those of you who dread Mondays (or Tuesdays in this case)... it's the very day of the week to become productive, reaffirm your commitments and motivations, and strive for success!

So, there is nothing special here. There is no magic lamp, or genie within. In reality, being healthy and physically active is extremely simple in theory. The problem may often lie in practicality and in one's own motivation.

A few simple, quick, and easy tips and suggestions to remain active during the work day, especially for those of you unfortunately stuck at a desk. I will attempt to convince my lovely wife to be my guinea pig and tell me how much of a difference it makes if you implement these. I warn you, incoming conclusive anecdotal evidence in a few days from this :P

Noom Walk
1) 99% of people have some form of smart phone. This is a scientifically true and sound statistic, so you have to trust me on that one (:P)! Download a basic app that tracks your steps. I use Noom Walk (here is a link to android users, sorry iPhone users you have to find it yourself), but any will do, and you don't have to spend a cent.

The first thing with using a pedometer - try to always improve on the day before. Don't worry about setting lofty goals immediately, but work on small, steady, attainable improvements day by day.  Adhering to a program is paramount, much more so than any one time success. This will help build your confidence and motivation.

Now that you have a pedometer, and I have told you to do better.. well, you have everything you need. Success! You are healthy! .... not really, well maybe for some :P But for most you are looking for more.

So many stairs!
2) You have heard this a thousand times before, but it's repeated for a reason. It's simple, and it works. Take the stairs to your office if you work in a building with more than one floor (and by extension, use the stairs if you live in an apartment building). However, here is the key difference in my philosophy versus what you will often hear in magazine articles - this alone will make a VERY small difference in your overall goal of being more physically active. 

In fact, while I am on the subject, allow me to tangent momentarily here. If you want to be healthy, and live a more active life, the goal at the end of the day is to make a whole lot... and I mean A WHOLE LOT of small parts lead to a greater sum. That is, focus on the small and attainable day-to-day goals you set for yourself. There is no quick fix. There is no magical recipe. It's as simple (and as difficult) as simply move more. The great part, though? You get to feel better, have more energy, and invest in the absolutely best long term health plan you could ever hope for.

In line with #2, there are many more ways to increase how much you walk: Get off the bus several stops early on the way to work and on the way home; anytime you need to talk to someone in the office, don't send an email unless necessary, rather walk to their office and talk to them directly; heck, make an excuse to talk to a co-worker for a minute just to have to walk over to see them, or make "unnecessary" trips around the office every time something comes up just to be more active. Just to be clear, I'm not advocating to significantly reduce your work efficiency and slack-off; but rather, to spend a small extra amount of time investing in your health. Just remember, there is a nearly guaranteed chance that in increasing your physical activity and subsequent health, your work productivity will increase and easily make up for spending a few minutes walking around.

3) And the last tip of the day, maximize your lunch break. This is perhaps one of the best opportunities to increase your physical activity. Unless you are very fortunate and you have an extended lunch and/or very easy access to a gym nearby, this isn't the time for a hardcore workout. Use your surroundings to your advantage. If you need to save time, or it's the middle of winter, use the stairs in your building as a means to get some cardio in. Otherwise, take a nice stroll and try to get a moderate pace. Heck, get a moderate to high pace if your work allows for you to be hot and sweaty.

Just remember, the key is to get as much extra physical activity in. Do things in small, attainable bouts. This will give you the confidence to succeed - the confidence to stick to your better, healthier lifestyle.

And finally, the most important advice... smile - be happy!