Exercising regularly is not the same as living an active life.
Think about it. How many days do you exercise each week? Three of Four? Maybe even every day.
But what are you doing when you’re not exercising? In my typical work day, I’ll go for a run but before and after that, I’m most likely found sitting at my desk tapping away at a keyboard.
So, although I exercise regularly, I’m not really all that active.
A recent post at Estes Park Trail Gazette referred to some interesting data.
The research breaks down even more stating that individuals who have been involved with consistent, structured exercise programs most of their lives will live only an average of 3 months in a disability state. “Active” individuals, who are not involved in regular exercise can also, extend their lives 10 years but they tend to spend an average of 6 years in a state of disability. And individuals who are neither active or exercise oriented will have a shortened life span of 10 years with 6-8 of those years in a state of disability.
So incorporating exercise into your lifestyle can be the difference of 16 years of quality living.
Think about it. 16 years of independence when you’re older. 16 years of not being a burden on your loved ones. 16 years of travelling, playing with your grandkids or great-grandkids, or simply enjoying a peaceful retirement.
So, how do you become more active without exercising more?
- Look for opportunities for incidental activity. For example, park at the back of the car park at the shopping mall rather than waiting for the closest spot. Or take the elevator to the floor below your actual destination and use the stairs.
- Get a bike. How many of your daily commutes are shorter than 10 minutes in the car? You could probably cycle as fast as those car trips given the time you lose getting started, driving in traffic, and parking.
- Play with your kids. Whether it’s rolling around on the carpet or throwing a ball, play is a great form of activity.
- Use a tracker. Many fitness trackers will sound an alarm or vibrate on your wrist when you’ve been sitting for too long. A tracker can be a great way to remind you to get out of the chair and walk around for a few minutes.
- Make it social. Meet a friend at a local park or shopping mall and go for a walk together.
Those extra few minutes you deposit each day into your health account will be paid back with interest later in life.