Get Strong: Your Monthly Fitness Challenge
Back in October, I introduced my monthly fitness challenge, explaining my "inspiration" and why I think it's so important to do strength work ESPECIALLY as we age. (You can read all about that here.)
How are you doing?
By now, I hope you're having some success with my challenges.
Keep up the good work.
(And if you haven't started yet? Well. You can begin today!)
And add this . . .
Challenge #3 -- Look for ways to add physical activity to your life . . . all day, every day.
Now I'm not talking about "working out" or "exercising" here. I'm talking about plain old, unscripted and unplanned "physical activity."
Yeah. There's a difference.
Exercise . . . is an intentional, planned, structured event or session designed to improve or maintain fitness, usually for a period of 10 minutes or longer.
Physical activity . . . is any movement of the human body requiring a level of effort beyond one's resting heart rate.
Of course, I would love it if you fit in true exercise (as defined above) into your life every day. But that's not what my monthly challenge is about. My challenge is about doing simple, everyday things to improve your fitness and physical well-being without your even trying (much)! So let's forget about the "exercise" part right now, and focus on adding more "physical activity" to your life.
Why? Well. We tend to sit . . . a lot. We generally live very sedentary lives - and especially so as we get older. We sit and read. We sit and knit. We sit and watch TV. We sit and mess with our computers. Lots of sitting. Every day. And all that prolonged sitting adds to the wear and tear on our bodies. We're made to move, after all. And when we don't . . . our joints, tissues, and muscles pay a price. Physical inactivity . . . leads to more physical inactivity. It really is a use-it-or-lose-it kind of thing.
So my challenge to you this month . . . is to increase your physical activity every day.
It's easy! Here are some simple ideas:
- Choose parking places that are a little more inconvenient (by that I mean further from your destination) next time you're out and about. A little more walking is a good thing, and won't take much more time.
- Opt to take the stairs whenever possible. And use them at home every chance you get. Need to run something upstairs? Don't wait; take the extra trip.
- Picking up your mail? Walk to the box, instead of pulling up in your car on your way to the garage.
- Load your own groceries into and out of your car. Go ahead and carry that heavier package.
- Walk around - instead of sitting - while you talk on the phone.
- Hop (or skip or jump) down your hallway.
- Stand up and stretch every 30 minutes or so. Maybe even try a few jumping jacks before you sit back down.
- Have a dog? Add another block to your usual walk.
- Stand up while you put on your socks and shoes. Bend over to tie or fasten them.
- Balance on one leg - and then the other - while you brush your teeth or wash the dishes.
There are so many little things you can do to increase your physical activity every day. It might not count as "exercise," but it does keep your body moving. And the more you move now . . . the more you'll be ABLE to move in the future.
(And that's YOUR future we're talking about.)
"People think they need to feel better before moving more when it's the other way around."
--- Perry Nickelston
Previous Get Strong Challenges:
Challenge #2: Stretch your hamstrings, activate those glutes . . . and spare your back just by changing the way you bend over.
Challenge #1: Strengthen Your Lower Body by Doing Body Weight Squats . . . All Day Long
It makes me happy to say that I do most of those things already (except standing up to put on socks and shoes). There are days that I wish I had a laundry chute to shoot the full clothes hamper down two flights to the washing machine, but I'm looking forward to shoveling and exercising my arms (not really, but that's what I tell myself).
Posted by: Bonny | 12/16/2021 at 07:50 AM
Haha. I am definitely not my mother's daughter when it comes to parking... she would circle the lot until she found the CLOSEST one. I always park a fair distance away. And I can't remember the last time anyone offered to take out/load my groceries (except for drive-up/pick-up where that's the point).
Posted by: Vicki | 12/16/2021 at 11:00 AM
I was just thinking of this before I sat down (ha!) to read your blog. I had been up and down the steps several times and then up and down the basement steps (washer and dryer are in the basement). I do try to not sit at my computer for too prolonged a period of time. Sometimes that is difficult when work is ultra busy, but working from home makes it so much easier to just get up and MOVE!! Good advice Kym!
Posted by: Vera | 12/16/2021 at 11:05 AM
My Fitbit reminds me to move every hour and I do go up and down the stairs a lot! Another helpful movement accelerator is having a toddler around to chase. Lots of movement on the days he is here. This month I am working on doing intentional movement every day and planning to add more yoga back into my life in January. I love your encouragement.
Posted by: Juliann | 12/16/2021 at 04:14 PM
In home child care provider here. A great way to be busy every day. With stairs to the cribs. And a 27lb, just turned one year old, to carry up and down, and a four year old and three year old keep me running around outside, too!
Didn't stop me from gaining almost 20 lbs over the last year and a half (thank you stress eating/drinking) but I've corrected for the that (if it's not in the house I can't have it) and am on my way back to my previous, pre-COVID weight.
Loving these prompts!
Posted by: Mary | 12/16/2021 at 05:51 PM
Amen! As my daughter is fond of saying, "the world is your gym." I do most of these things. I feel so much better when I move more often. I could walk around while I'm talking on the phone though.
Posted by: Jane | 12/16/2021 at 08:32 PM
I live in a house with two staircases and I am up and down all day long. One day last week I was doing laundry (basement) and changing the sheets on my bed and cleaning the bathroom (upstair), than going back down to the basement to get supplies (pantry in basement) and back up to tied my office. That's a usual day in my home. I usually make it up and down at least 10 times a day but some days I have nearly 25-30 flights (to be counted as a flight that needs to be up and down). There are other ways I can do better at getting my move on. Thanks for the reminder and suggestions!
Posted by: Margene | 12/17/2021 at 09:18 AM
We live in a three-story house with a basement, so I do a lot of stairs! I have noticed that I'm not getting as many steps the past couple of weeks because work has been busy (so I've been sitting at my computer more), so I don't really need this reminder to move more but appreciate it all the same! And now that I'm officially on vacation, I can do a longer walk every day, which makes me feel much better.
Posted by: Sarah | 12/17/2021 at 09:45 AM
I love these little suggestions! And they add up quickly! (my weekly weight lifting is hauling laundry down and back up two flights of stairs!)
Posted by: kat | 12/20/2021 at 08:42 AM