It’s become widely understood that sitting is the new smoking, meaning that being too sedentary is extremely bad for your health. When Netflix keeps automatically playing the next episode of the show you’re watching, or you fall down the rabbit hole of smartphone scrolling on your couch, the next thing you know, you’ve been sitting all day long.
The health risks of being too sedentary are endless. When you sit too much, you can end up with major problems with your hip joints and hip flexor muscles, making exercise and mobility painful and frustrating. Being too sedentary means your daily energy expenditure is low, which leads to weight gain, and puts you at risk for some serious health problems such as cardiovascular health conditions. Sitting too much can also lead to poor posture, poor blood circulation, back and body pains, depleted bone and joint health, and more.
It’s not just Oprah who praises the power of walking for weight loss. Walking is known as being a great way to burn fat and lose weight. However, considering all the health risks of being too sedentary, weight loss should be one of the last reasons you walk every day. You should be making it a priority to walk every day because of how harmful inactivity is to your health. This is especially true if you have a sedentary job.
Below are 5 tips that will have you walking more and sitting less.
1. Catch Up With a Friend During a Walk, Instead of a Drink
How often do friends ask you if you want to “Catch up over drinks” or, “Go for happy hour and catch up”? It’s always fun to catch up with a friend and trade stories about what’s new in each other’s lives, but why not go for a walk together instead of a drink? See, instead of a sit-down dinner, drink, or happy hour with a friend, you could suggest taking a walk and catching up that way, instead. Personally, walking and talking (catching up with friends while walking a pretty trail) is one of my favourite things to do. We can walk for hours, chatting away and soaking up the sunshine, and we’ll get home feeling grateful that we got steps in.
Chances are, your friends want to get their steps in too, so suggesting a walk to catch up might be perfect.
2. Find a PodCast You’re Addicted to, and Only Listen to it During Your Walks
Getting hooked on a PodCast is one of the best ways to motivate yourself to go for more walks. Since the average PodCast is about an hour long, and you want to walk for at least an hour, it’s the perfect thing to listen to during a nature walk.
If you get hooked on a particular PodCast, you’ll get to the point where you can’t wait for your daily walks, so you can listen to it. It’s best to explore PodCasts that already have tons of episodes published, so that you have one to listen to every single day.
I personally love the Mile Higher PodCast, which is a true crime PodCast. The thing about true crime is that it’s very addictive, and Mile Higher dedicates each different episode to a different case. Tons of people get hooked on true crime. That’s why the PodCast called Serial practically went viral.
3. Fall in Love with Sunsets
It’s time to fall in love with sunsets, if you’re not already in love with them. You can time your walk with the sunset, and you’ll start looking forward to your daily walk / sunset viewing. Since each day, the sunset will be different with different colors, that means you’ll always be looking forward to your walk.
If sunsets don’t work for you, try exploring and discovering a special scenic location that you’ll look forward to visiting. It could be a particular view point, a garden you discover, or anything beautiful that you’ll look forward to walking to.
4. Time Your Walk with a Phone Call
Perhaps you’re a consultant who needs to call clients each day, or perhaps your best friend lives in another country and you often catch up over the phone. There’s no reason why you can’t time your phone call with a walk. If you have AirPods or any other top-tier technology bluetooth, no amount of street noise will make you inaudible. You’ll be able to have a full-on, long phone conversation while you walk. Why sit in your home and talk on the phone, when you could be out walking? Kill two birds with one stone – your body will thank you.
5. Discover Birds and Wildlife
It’s more than likely that a walking trail near your home has wildlife you can spot while you walk. Whether it’s different types of birds, raccoons, butterflies – whatever is in your area – look out for wildlife during your walks. You might realize you have a passion for birdwatching, or you might find it fun to keep an eye out for that rare blue butterfly that’s tough to spot. Flora and fauna can make walks fun and interesting. All you have to do is be open-minded about becoming passionate about a new hobby such as nature or birdwatching.
Perhaps you’ll even become passionate about nature photography, and you’ll become motivated to go for more walks so you can take photos of the views and wildlife you come across during your daily stroll.
Walking is only one example of ways you can exercise, be more active, and be less sedentary. To find out the optimal exercise routine for you, based on your unique DNA, read your genetic fitness reports from CircleDNA.