Updated 01/28/2022: If you are old like me, then you probably remember the song, Don’t Worry Be Happy. It was a catchy jingle. It is going to be colder than I can ever remember since we moved to Florida in 2005. Please bring your pets inside and if you can help stray pets stay warm, please do so. Check on your neighbors, protect your pipes, and be aware of fire hazards. Be safe! A note about this article. When I first wrote this it was hard to just make 6,000 steps a day. Now, I walk 10,000 steps most days plus a 30 minute exercise routine at least 4 days a week.
Have you ever had your doctor, or other health care worker, ask you if you are active? The answer is most likely yes. But, what exactly does active mean? Most of us will say yeah I am active, I walk a lot, or I play with my kids. But, that is probably not what they mean by active. According to health experts being active actually means having some kind of movement for at least 15 continuous minutes, at a time, for at least 5 days a week. Do you do that? I was doing it, but not enough times a week, so I was considered sedentary even though I was being active at least 3 days a week. You also can’t count what you do on an ordinary day at work. It has to be outside your normal routine. For people who are on their feet all day, this seems dumb. So, because I am almost 50, and have never in my life been thin, I decided to increase my active lifestyle. At first, this was hard. I was tired after walking all day at work, and fitting it at least 15 more min of activity, with a goal of 30, seemed daunting. So, I am going to share some of the things I have done to keep me moving, In later posts, I will share some of my favorite walking videos for when I can’t be outside.
1- If you have a smartphone put a step tracker on it. My phone is a Samsung, and it already had one installed. I started out with a low step count, because I had Plantar Fascitis over the Summer, and well if you have ever had it you know why. Another day for that one. I am up to 7000 steps per day, and I do allow half of them to come when I work at my day job. Every couple of weeks I will increase it to a goal of 10,000 steps per day.
2- When I sit for too long I get leg cramps, so this next one was easy for me. I got rid of the sit-down desk, and chair, and put the computer upon the top of a high dresser. Now I stand, march in place, and type, or watch my classes whatever I am doing on the computer. I can get in at least 15 minutes right there just doing a blog post.
3- Go for a walk on your lunch break. If you can avoid eating do this. Here in Florida, the weather is very often nice enough for this. Unfortunately, I need to eat lunch most days if I want to make it through the day and not hurt someone. Thank goodness I only work 2 days out of the home.
4- Park just a little bit farther away from the entrance.
5- If you like to watch TV, get up and walk around when the commercials are on. We have a DVR so I can go through the commercials, but on those days that I didn’t meet my step goal, I leave the commercials and move through them.
6- This is probably my favorite, play ball with the dog. I have two dogs, one young and one not so much. The young one is hyper and has tons of energy. He does not do well on a leash, but we have a fenced backyard. So, I have marked off an area that is exactly 100 steps around. I throw the ball, walk the steps, and repeat. I do this 10 times, and that is 1,000 steps. Plus, by the time I have done 10 laps he is tired and ready to take a nap. The older one follows me, so she gets her exercise too.
7- I homeschool my daughter, so on days that it is warm enough in the morning, we walk a mile. We really can’t afford more time than that out of the school day, and it counts as PE credits for her.
8- March in place when talking on the phone, doing dishes, folding laundry, or even doing your morning hygiene routine.
If you have a chronic illness you must start small. Overexerting yourself will only cause you to be discouraged, or cause injury. If you can only do 5 minutes, then do 5 minutes. Whatever gets you started, you will build strength, endurance, and muscle. Trust me you will. Once you have gotten where you can move around for at least 15 minutes you can move up to light aerobics, yoga, fitness walking, light weights, etc. I lift light weights at least once a week, not big on yoga though. I have moved up to fitness walking, and aerobics. I now do 30 minutes 4 days a week of being active. I would love to work with you to help you meet your goals. Everyone needs a buddy. Check out my Walking Buddy Plan. Use the contact form to send me a message with questions.