My daily routine has certainly changed over the last year. Before March, I commuted from Delaware County into Center City by train and walked two blocks to my 45-story office building. I walked around the building to my multiple meetings on various floors. I would take a walk at lunchtime either to Rittenhouse Square or to pick up something to eat. Then, I’d repeat it all over again that afternoon. Even if I didn’t hit the gym after work, I’d still get in between 7,000 and 10,000 steps per day.
The World Stopped, and so Did I
Like many all over the world, I’ve been working from home full-time since the second week of March 2020. And at the height of quarantine, I got in about 2,000 steps a day if I was lucky. I knew I couldn’t go on being so immobile. The less I moved around, the more down I felt and the more weight I gained.
The fact is, we aren’t meant to sit or be sedentary all day. According to Harvard Medical School, habitual inactivity raises the risk of developing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep-vein thrombosis, and metabolic syndrome. That’s not to say that everyone must walk 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy. In fact, walking as little as 4,400 steps a day can be beneficial.
Tips for Working Activity Into Your Day
It’s hard sometimes to get up from the chair when you’re working from home. For me, I work in the dining room of my house. If my back starts to hurt, I set myself up on the couch, which makes me more comfortable and then I really don’t get up for a while.
Once I started incorporating more movement in my daily routine, my daily steps tripled! Plus, my back hurt less from sitting hunched over my computer all day. Here are some things I did that might be helpful to you, too:
- Dress the part. While staying in my pajamas all day sounds amazing, it also makes me too relaxed. In order to put myself in an active mindset, I wake up and change into workout clothes. Sometimes getting dressed for working out is half the battle.
- Try wearable fitness trackers. I use my Apple Watch every day to track my movement. It also has a feature that tells me to get up at ten of every hour, so I stand and move around. Fitness trackers allow you to set goals and reminders. When I hit my daily goals, I love that it “celebrates” for me with some cool animation.
- Drink a lot of water. My goal every day is to drink at least half my weight in ounces. The more you drink, the more you have to get up and refill… and that means more steps! Drinking water is great for you anyway, so it’s a win-win!
- Go for walks. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, stepping away from my computer is the best medicine. Just a walk around the block is the extra boost I need. My dog, Chase Mutley (named after the Man himself!), is loving all the extra outside time he’s getting. We go on a walk at least once a day. For longer walks by myself, I download podcasts to entertain me.
- Use virtual fitness classes. I’m lucky that my gym holds classes by Zoom, so I can take an hour or less out of my day to take a class. If a Zoom class isn’t available, I take a class on YouTube or through my cable provider.
- Clean your house. I grew up with Saturday cleaning days, which is something I have carried into adulthood. Instead of cleaning everything in one day, spread it out. Do the bathrooms one day, the kitchen the next, the floors the day after that, and so on. If you spread your cleaning out to one big task per day, you’re guaranteed a lot of steps and movement each day.
Getting in 10,000 steps isn’t as easy as it was when I was commuting, but with a little creativity and some extra effort, it’s possible. Independence Blue Cross members, like me, also have access to Blue365, which provides all kinds of discounts on fitness bands and online health classes. Check it out and get moving!