“Sitting is the new smoking.” This is what many health professionals are now saying about the incredibly sedentary lifestyles that most Americans lead, and the serious health risks that can result from sitting too much. And when you take into account that the average American isn’t getting their daily steps because they sit for approximately nine to ten hours of their entire day, from a metaphorical smoking standpoint you can now see that too much sitting is very, very bad for your health. Case in point, studies show that sitting for long hours at a time can lead to a greater risk of developing conditions like diabetes, obesity, depression and some types of cancer.
According to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Science, the average American only clocks about 5,000 steps a day, when the recommended amount is at least 10,000.
Sounds like a ridiculously high and impossible number of steps to shoot for? Actually, it isn’t at all! All you need to do is get a bit more fit-savvy by using the following strategies to help you log more steps in your day. Use these strategies consistently and before you know it, you’ll be hitting and even smashing the 10K goal!
1. Take walking meetings.
From our first business meeting of the day to happy hour, most 9-5’ers prefer to sit. But just think of how many steps you could log if you turned your typical office meetings into walking meetings instead – which is especially easy to do when you’re meeting one-on-one with someone.
For example, instead of taking the usual meeting with a colleague in your office, suggest a stroll around the building while you both walk, talk and brainstorm.
By doing this, you’ll log in more steps. Studies also show that walking can help sharpen mental skills, which will then help your ideas flow.
2. Maximize your TV time.
Studies say the average American spends around five hours a day watching TV. And all I can say to that is: WOW! Just think about how many steps you could get in if you moved while you watched TV.
Now personally, I only watch about one to two hours of TV each day and one thing I always do during TV time – no matter what I’m watching – is stand and move. I never sit. I also enjoy jumping rope while watching TV, which is one of the best calorie-torching, do-it-anywhere workouts that you can easily sneak in during TV time.
3. Go mobile while on your mobile.
This is one of the easiest ways to clock in more steps without even realizing it! Just think about all the time you spend during the day on your cell phone – receiving phone calls, making phone calls, ordering pizza – and let’s not forget yesterday’s call to your girlfriend where you spent 30-plus minutes gabbing about “Scandal” or the new shoes you bought. Now imagine if you did all this gabbing while walking too. That’s a lot of steps ladies!
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4. Make your life less convenient.
Truth be told, our world has become so technologically advanced that people nowadays can be quite lazy without even realizing it – such as when we can choose to use everyday conveniences like escalators and elevators instead of stairs.
And in this case, what you want to do is make your life less convenient (and thus more active) by doing simple things like parking a little farther away from the store entrance, rather than circling for 10 minutes looking for the perfect spot.
Also, take the stairs, instead of the elevator. And if you use public transportation, get off one stop before your actual destination. By doing simple things like this, you’ll be able to squeeze in 10 to 15 minutes of more leisurely walking – which can easily equate to an extra 2,000+ steps!
5. Get your loved ones involved.
While you make the personal effort to be more active in your own life, also make sure to get your loved ones in on the fun too!
For example, you can take a family trip to the park for a little b-ball action, instead of plopping down in front of the TV. Or you can plan a mini-golf date with your main squeeze instead of going to the movies. And really, who doesn’t love mini golf?!
Bottom line, you want to make being active a “group effort” because it will help keep you motivated. Plus, it’s also a lot more fun and feels good for the soul when you can get the people you love to also lead healthy and more active lives too.
Dr. Phoenyx Austin, M.D. is a certified Sports Medicine Specialist, bestselling author, and the creator of women’s FitBeauty products for healthy hair and fit body. Find Dr. Phoenyx on her website, YouTube channel, and follow her TeamFitBeauty Instagram page for natural hair and healthy living inspiration.