In my last post, I shared my story about how having a bowl of oatmeal in the morning completely changed my eating habits. Now, I’ll be talking about how incorporating daily exercise transformed how I currently maintain my fitness level.
It all started around two years ago when I had a super busy month and wasn’t able to find enough time to do my regular workouts. So, I figured, might as well throw in a 15-minute walk for the last leg of my commute to work.
I found that daily exercise in the form of walking in the morning gave me energy for the day ahead. I could breathe in the fresh air (ok, it’s questionable considering it’s downtown Toronto), clear my head, and well, to be honest, savour the last few minutes before I sync my Outlook Email.
These days, unless it’s pouring rain, the wind chill is below -30C, or I’m running super late, you’d better believe I’m walking that last 1.5 km!
Another bonus of eliminating that bus ride is reducing the time spent pressed up against grumpy strangers with morning breath.
It’s also a sure fire way to get some steps in (any other step counters out there?).
Getting My Steps
It just so happens that I’m not the only one struggling to get my steps in.
In a study comparing walking habits, the average Japanese person walks 7,168 steps and the average Swiss does 9,650 steps (10,000 steps is what we should be aiming for). In comparison, the average American walks 5,117 steps. Reliance on cars is partially to blame as Americans tend to drive most of their short trips (1 mile or less).
So, how did the small change of adding a 15-minute walk cause a ripple effect?
Well, once I realized how easy and seamless it was to incorporate more physical activity into my day, I started doing more than just the morning walk.
I started taking the stairs instead of the elevator. (I guess I’ve recovered from Vanessa’s stair climb challenge.
It’s become easier to find a parking spot now that I try to park far away from the store entrance.
I try my best to walk instead of taking transit or driving too close destinations. (In the city, sometimes walking actually ends up being faster!)
I’m always thinking of ways to go the extra mile. I’ve become more aware of my activity levels (and when I’ve been sitting on my butt for way too long. Note to self: numbness is NEVER a good sign).
Incidental Exercise Is Daily Exercise
I’m not the first to come up with this. This approach actually has a name – incidental exercise. It’s the exercise we get from doing our daily tasks.
The beauty of this approach is that it’s not about implementing some crazy fitness routine or making a drastic change. All of these activities were things I was already planning to do. Now, I’ve just started tweaking how I’m doing them.
All these little tweaks add up. Not only are you burning calories, but you’re also crossing things off your to-do list. I’m all for multitasking.
If you need some more ideas about how you can get more exercise into your day, here are some tips from Women’s Health & Fitness Magazine:
- Pace your house when talking on the phone. (Does anyone even talk on the phone anymore?)
- Ditch your remote control for changing TV channels. (Although, this may result in me just watching the same channel all night)
- Clean your house. (Break out the mop and start shining those tiles.)
- Sit on a fit ball instead of a standard chair. (Tighten up that core!)
- Incidental exercise is easy and doesn’t take a huge amount of time or commitment.
The bonus is that it’s free! And who doesn’t like free?
While I’m not preaching that incidental exercise should replace your regular workouts, I am saying is that it can give you momentum to move.
As Isaac Newton said, an object in motion stays in motion. #nerdalert #physicsflashback #shudder
Does this approach resonate with you? How do you incorporate daily exercise into your routine? Let me know in the comments!