Harness Habits of Healthy Motion
News flash: Exercise is still an important part of your health. There’s no way around it. You probably need to have more movement in your life, and the longer you wait the greater your risk of complications ranging from heart disease to type 2 diabetes. Many of live deskbound lifestyles, have long commutes, and have screen-based leisure time. On any given day, the majority of our waking hours are completely sedentary.
Your gym time is still important, but we have also learned that an hour in the gym will not undo the negative effects of remaining relatively motionless throughout the rest of the day. You need more exercise, and that exercise should be distributed throughout your day.
When we zoom out, this makes perfect sense.
The human body is built for endurance and long days of walking and running. Our ancestors were hunter gatherers, which meant searching far and wide for food and other resources. We spent very little time sitting or reclining. We had no choice but to be mobile. If we weren’t, we would probably starve. When we moved from hunting and gathering to agriculture, which is relatively recent as far as the human timeline goes, our lifestyles shifted dramatically and our bodies have not yet adapted. Our systems still function as though food is scare and finding it is competitive.
That is very much not the case now, clearly, but your body thinks it is. Your body is quick to store extra calories because it thinks you could just as easily starve tomorrow. If your Habits of Healthy Motion are not well-established, your body will store more excess energy as fat and other systems—like your cardiovascular health or your stress response—will begin to suffer as well.
Here are the high points of healthy motion that you should know:
- Going to the gym is still important, but gym time alone will not keep you healthy.
- Take every opportunity you have to stand, such as when you are on the phone or when you are at a standing desk.
- Less intense forms of movement, like walking, can make a big difference. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and park farther from the door.
- Fidgeting can burn up to 350 calories a day and lead to 30 pounds of weight loss in a single year. Bob along to music to keep yourself moving even when you’re sitting.
- Get away from your screen. Find hobbies that get you out of a chair and on to your feet.
You will be hard-pressed to move too much, especially if you sit all day for work. Find every opportunity you can to move, and reap the rewards of Optimal Health.