Get off your buts!

But it’s hot out…”, “But I’m tired…”, “But I don’t have time…”

Well, I’m going to give you some “tough love” here and tell you to stop all of that – it’s time for us all to get off our buts!

Yes, literally AND figuratively. Those are just excuses. We all make them from time to time. Exercise is difficult. The real power of change comes when you can overcome those behaviors. Did you know that even just by moving around for an extra 10 or 15 minutes a day, you can reduce your levels of stress, increase your body’s blood flow, loosen your sore joints and increase your energy?

And it doesn’t always have to take huge efforts to burn calories or be active. Sometimes it can be done by small, everyday changes where you don’t even realize you are exercising. Just increase your daily activity a bit. As with most things, the key is the simpler it is, the better chance you will do it. Also, having company makes it more interesting too – get a workmate, spouse, dog or friend to do the activities with you.

Here are some easy ideas to get you started with being more active today:

  • Take your dog for a walk instead of just letting him out in the backyard
  • Ride your bike to pick up that one item from the store
  • Stand up from your desk and stretch or walk to talk to someone instead of just emailing them (that gives your eyes a healthy break from your computer as well)
  • Clean your house a little every day
  • Plant some flowers – or even better – plant healthy vegetable plants
  • Pull weeds
  • Fold and put away laundry
  • Put your lawn mower wheels a little higher and cut the grass more often
  • Wash dishes
  • Play active board games
  • Treat yourself to a little shopping at an outdoor mall
  • Park farther away at the grocery store (prevents car door dings too!)
  • Walk up or down the stairs instead of taking an elevator
  • Drink more water – you will need to get up and refill more often and probably hit the restroom an extra time or two a day – both giving you more exercise

Here’s the easiest change I have made – park in the far lot at work. Set yourself up for success – drive in the main entrance, directly to the back lot. Don’t even drive by the closer, visitor’s lot. If you see that open space, willpower doesn’t always “have your back.” And if you have a computer bag to lug – even better – build a little extra muscle carrying it and burn an extra calorie or two in the process! (OK, I’ll give you this – if it’s 20° or pouring rain outside, then who could blame any of us for taking advantage of the closer parking spot?!)

Click here to check out a good, comprehensive list of the amount of calories you can burn in 30 minutes with daily activities as well as gym exercising (originally found in the July 2004 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter).  I re-arranged some of the sections of activities so that the daily activities were first so you don’t have to search all through the tables for them.

According to James A. Levine, MD, PhD in his book “Move A Little, Lose A Lot,” sitting only burns 5 calories per hour over one’s normal body processes. That’s close to nothing. But if you simply trade out time spent sitting with standing, you can triple the rate of calories burned (15 per hour.) Going one step further, swapping time spent standing with walking or other light movement based activities can actually raise hourly burn rates a lot more – to 100-200 calories.

Also, check out this infographic (complements of our own Dan C.) about sitting. It’s actually pretty scary!

So, lets all just get off our buts once and for all and increase the amount of activity in our days!

–Yours in fun fitness, Mike


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