As we age, there are times when finding the motivation to get up and conquer each day just feels impossible. And with working from home and many social activities being limited this past year and a half due to COVID-19, getting out and staying active might feel tougher than usual. Sitting for prolonged amounts of time has a lot of negative effects on our health, so getting up and moving in any way that we can will keep us feeling good and staying healthy.
Here are 5 simple ways to keep yourself active every day:
Drink More Water
Water obviously has countless health benefits, and as the weather cools down, we tend to forget to drink water as often as we do in the summer. In addition to water keeping your joints lubricated and aiding in digestion, more water intake means more bathroom breaks! While having to get up and go to the bathroom can seem like a nuisance, it keeps us from being sedentary and gets us up and moving, if only for a few minutes to reposition our bodies and stretch before going back to our desks or couches. If you want, you can add lemon to your water, which not only makes it taste better, but also gives you a boost of Vitamin C, which could help fight off colds and improve your skin.
Turn Chores into a Workout Routine
Weekly cleaning tasks that we already do, such as dusting, vacuuming the floors, or scrubbing our kitchen counters can burn over 100 calories in 30 minutes. If we are more mindful of the exercise we are getting while tidying up, we can burn even more. Doing heel raises while washing the dishes, putting on music and dancing while you fold laundry, or doing lunges each time you push the vacuum forward can keep you limber, and you can turn boring chores into fun and unique exercise activities.
Cleaning up outdoors is another great way to exercise and get some fresh air. With the leaves falling and the air getting cooler, it’s the perfect time to trim back your summer flowers that are beginning to wilt, rake a section of your lawn, or decorate your porch with mums and pumpkins for the autumn season. And remember, you’re never too old to jump in a pile of leaves!
Take Your Calls Outside
With more of us working from home and not seeing family as often as we’d like, there’s a good chance we’re taking more phone calls than usual. If you can’t meet up with friends in person for a walk and talk session, taking your call outside and walking around your neighborhood is the next best thing. It’s an easy way to multitask, and is a perfect excuse to get some fresh air and finally call that friend you’ve been meaning to. If you’re not comfortable walking around while being distracted by a phone call, doing some light exercises in the house like squats or stretching while your phone is on speaker works just as well. Whatever keeps you moving!
Act Like a Little Kid
Embracing your inner child is one of the best ways to stay active and to feel good. So learn how to hula hoop again. Skip rope. Pick up some sidewalk chalk and map out hopscotch in your driveway. If you have young children in your family, take them to the park and push them on the swings or play catch. Reminding ourselves that it’s okay to act like a kid sometimes is great for both our physical and mental health, and doing activities that we enjoyed as children is the perfect way to stay active without having exercise feel like a chore.
Set Reminders for Yourself
Nowadays, it feels as if the whole concept of routines has been completely tossed out the window. However, setting little goals and reminders for yourself to do things throughout the day, including staying active, can be a great way to help you get back in the groove. Your phone can be used to set alarms or reminders at certain times, so if you find yourself glued to the couch some days, a notification or alarm to get up and stretch, drink some water, or walk around the block can be helpful not only in staying active, but also in feeling like you have more control over your day.
If you have a fitness or step tracker, like a FitBit or Apple Watch, you can receive notifications for staying active through them as well. If you have a FitBit, it will count you down towards your daily step goal, and it can even give you reminders to take deep breaths and meditate throughout the day (given the state of things, we could all be reminded to breathe every now and then). If you prefer not to use technology, there is always the option of keeping an eye on the time and making mental reminders to do a lap around the house at noon or to get up and touch your toes after you finish the episode you’re watching. Doing what works for your schedule and thought process is crucial when starting new habits.
No matter how you decide to move each day, staying active has a number of benefits, including lowering the risk of heart disease and keeping your muscles and joints strong so that you can live healthily and without physical pain. Choosing not to be sedentary can have mental health benefits as well, including better sleep patterns and decreased stress levels. What we need to remember is that we don’t need a gym membership or expensive home equipment to stay fit and healthy; staying motivated and willing to enjoy all that life has to offer is what’s most important.