Do you live in a city? Yes. Cool. Do you own a car? Yes. Alright. Here we go. If you said yes to living in a city and yes to owning a car let’s do something crazy – not drive everywhere. That’s right, put the car keys away and take public transportation or ride a bicycle to work or to dinner. If you live near a grocery store try walking to the grocery store for one of your smaller shopping trips, as in not heavy cans or gallons of milk. We’re talking two bags of groceries here.
The “walk to the grocery” store idea works if you live within about a mile from a grocery store and it’s not uphill both ways in the snow. I don’t want you doing anything super radical here. If its flat ground and it’s a mile away walk to the grocery store. It’ll up your steps for the day. 20 minutes to the store, walk around inside the store using a hand basket (so you know you can carry whatever it is you’re buying), then a 20 minute walk home. The walk home is going to also let you get a bit of a strength workout in as you carry a bag in each hand on the way home.
I understand that not everyone lives within 5 miles of their work so biking to work may not be a viable option. But are there restaurants within 5 miles of your house? Let’s estimate you can bike 1 mile in 5 minutes. A restaurant 5 miles away from your house will take you about 25 minutes to bike. Head to the restaurant, drink some water when you get there (you should be drinking water throughout the day anyways), enjoy your meal, then bike home. That’s 10 miles you wouldn’t have biked that day by leaving the car keys behind for 1 meal.
No bike, live too far from the grocery store, and need to drive to work? Walk to lunch during your lunch break. I’m going to assume you have an hour lunch break. Pick a restaurant that’s half a mile away. That’s a 10 minute walk, 40 minutes to eat, pay, and tip, then 10 minutes back to work. If you only have a 30 minute lunch break then bring your lunch from home, walk 10 minutes to a park or bench, eat in 10 minutes then walk back. The 20 minute walk will clear your mind as you move about looking at the world around you.
Don’t like any of the ideas above? Do you work in a building that has stairs? Take the stairs up to your floor or (if it’s a giant building and you work on the 8th floor but have a meeting during the day on the 9th floor) to your next meeting. Taking a flight of stairs for one meeting when you’d normally take the elevator adds to your steps for the day.
If I haven’t been able to identify you in any of the groups above, take a walk around the block in your neighborhood before or after dinner. Walk the dog if you have one. Or walk the child. Or the cat. Or the significant other. The moral of the story is to pick something you can do during your day that currently involves sitting (like driving a car) or standing (like riding an elevator) and replacing it with movement (like riding a bike or walking.) This one change in your day will get you well on your way towards a healthier you.