Do you work in a job where you have to sit a lot? By the end of the day, does your back ache, and you feel blah like your body isn't doing the best? Have you ever heard the saying "Sitting is the new smoking?"
The Heart Foundation says "Over 25% of American adults sit for over 8 hours every day. 44% of those people get little to no exercise." How insane is that? Sitting for over 8 hours a day and that a little less than half of those people get a work out in.
As a writer, this is something I'm trying to improve, so I wanted to pull together some things I've learned that might help you sit less and get more steps.
The Method To The Madness of Sitting Less
We all know that sitting all day and not moving isn't good for us but how do we change and have a healthier life by sitting less and moving more? We also know that it's not healthy to come home from work and just sit on the couch and watch TV the entire night. The Heart Foundation says "The average American watches approximately 3 hours of television every day."
#SpeakingToMyPastSelf here as well. That's what we did every night. We also ate in front of the TV.
1. Plan Your Meals Ahead Of Time On An APP
Sit down with your smart phone and download a food tracking app. Here are a few that I've tried and like.
MyFitnessPal - There is a Free version of this and a paid version. I've found everything I need in the free version.
FitBit - This is another of my FAVES. It's so easy because I have a FitBit tracker and so inside the app I can track many things.
MyPlate Calorie Counter - This is also an app that has a free and paid version.
My FAVES are MyFitnessPal & FitBit.
2. Plan Your Meal The Night Before On Your Food Tracking App
It's so easy to whip out your phone and plug in the foods that you plan on eating tomorrow. Then after eating those meals you can adjust them in the app if you had more or less or if you ate something with it.
I love that these food tracking apps have so many food items saved inside their food libraries. And if you can't find it, you can even scan the barcode of the food with the barcode scanner. Pretty nifty.
3. Prep At Least One Extra Meal On Sunday Night
Prepping at least a minimum of one extra meal on Sunday nights will help you later in the week and you'll be soooo thankful that you made it for lunch or that supper you do not know what to make.
Plus, when you use this meal to pack lunches, you'll also be saving money since you won't have to eat out.
When you buy your lunch daily on average you spend about $10 a meal. At the end of the year that would be $2,500. (Be sure to check out this article with Jonathan Blumberg about this very topic.) Can you believe that? $2,500 is a lot of money to spend on take out just for lunch.
A VISA survey found you spend an average of about $6.30 when you bring your own meal from home.
So other than making you feel healthier by eating food that's more nutrient rich and filled with that oh so good energy that you need to get through the entire day, you also save money. Who doesn't want an extra $2,500 in your pocket at the end of the year?
Who doesn't want an extra $2,500 in your pocket at the end of the year?
4. Take A Hike
No, not that kind of hike. You don't need your hiking poles for this. Well, you could, but people might look at ya strange if you are walking through town.
Taking a walk will help you have a better attention while working, it'll help you release serotonin levels which will help you sleep better at night. If you feel stressed out or anxious, taking a walk will help you get rid of that nervous energy.
Also, The Arthritis Foundation says "Research finds that people who exercise regularly in their fifties and sixties are 35% less likely to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts. That number shoots up to 45% less likely for those who have underlying health conditions."
There are so many benefits to walking. I recommend if you don't have a FitBit or another kind of step tracker that you get one, because it's so helpful for tracking your activity during the day.
Try to aim at getting 10,000 steps a day.
5. Take Stretching Breaks
If you've been sitting for a while get up. Try to get up for a few minutes every hour and take a walk around the building or walk up and down the stairs a couple times. I know this is more achievable for some people than for others, but getting up and moving at least once an hour is better than nothing during your work hours of sitting.
6. Get A Workout In Everyday
Earlier, I mentioned a quote from The Heart Foundation about people watching about 3 hours of TV a day. In a full week (including the weekend) that means an average person may watch TV for 21 hours. That's ALMOST A WHOLE DAY!!! A Whole day!!
We usually sit while watching the TV. That means that you've spent a whole extra day sitting. My husband and I stopped watching much TV. We used to be your TV series binge watching couple. We'd sit there after a long day of work watching other people going on adventures and solving their issues as we sat on our derrières. #DontMindMyFrench 😂
Those three hours could be used to get a workout in. Or if you have a workout machine in your house, move it in front of the TV and make a rule that the only way you can watch TV is when you're on the treadmill or bike.
Otherwise another thing you could do, is go on a TV watching ban. Yep, this is something my husband, and I did. There was a period that we didn't watch any TV for months. We are still currently on a somewhat TV ban. In the last three months, we probably haven't even watched 10 hours of TV. It's been nice. So instead I've been listening to audiobooks and reading a lot more. It's amazing what you can do in three extra hours a day.
7. Drink Tons Of Water
Okay, not tons. That would be unhealthy. But you get what I mean. Haha... The old standard says that you should try drink eight cups of water a day. That can be different for everyone though. Once thing I've heard from multiple fitness professionals is that you should take your weight and turn it into ounces and then divide it in half. That's how much they say you should drink.
Equation: (Say you are 200 lbs) That would be 200 ounces divided by 2, which would be 100. That would be equal to about 12 cups of water.
Another wonderful benefit to drinking tons of water (That you may not think is a benefit, because it's slightly annoying) is that you will need to get up and go to the restroom often. #Annoying But also great for getting your steps in. You'll need to
8. Eat At The Dining Room Table
This might sound like a silly one, but one thing that we did a lot was ate our meals in front of the TV and then we ended up planted there for the rest of the night. When you eat at the dinner table, you get to fully embrace eating and spending time with those you love. Soak in that and cherish it. When you are able to fully cherish and concentrate on the food you are eating, you'll make better choices when it comes to paying attention to if your feeling full or need more. It's also nice to be present.
Hope this post encourages you in your healthy-living journey!