The evidence is overwhelming: moving your body can stave off heart disease, diabetes, and immobility as you age. Like a car, if you don’t drive it around every so often, it will start to creak and break down. The same with humans. Moving your body allows blood to flow, joints to build flexibility, bones to strengthen, and muscles to build. You don’t have to bulk up or start a running regimen. But even a daily walk around the block is better than nothing at all.
If you’re used to sitting most of your day away, from the car to the office to your comfortable TV chair to bed, then you’ll need some motivation to begin moving those muscles. After all, you’ve probably spent years doing exactly what you’ve done, it’s hard to break old habits.
First, write a list of reasons why you might want to accomplish. For example: lose some weight, be able to walk a mile without back pain, be able to carry your baby grandchild without struggle. Some down-the-road reasons might be: the ability to sit down and stand up from a chair without issue, avoid falling, avoid a heart attack, want to feel younger and stronger. This list challenges you to face your prior excuses.
Next, consider what activities you like to do that require you to move. Do you like gardening? Try cutting your own grass as an excuse to get outside. What about walking the dog? You can give your dog a workout too by traveling an extra block each day, and then adding another each week. Maybe you’re an avid video game player – in which you might be willing to trade up for one that makes you earn points by moving your whole self and not just your thumbs. If you live less than a mile to local businesses you frequent, make a choice to walk there instead. Play a game in which you see how much gas you save by walking instead.
Try to find a companion or join a group to maintain your motivation. Not only will it be more interesting and enjoyable, but it will hold both of you accountable for getting out there. If your companion isn’t available, take some music or an audiobook to keep you occupied.
Lastly, set a schedule and an alarm to remind yourself to move on a regular basis. Each hour, stand up and bend all your joints, walk or jump around for a few minutes, or even do a short desk workout. The same if you’re binge-watching TV all evening: at each commercial or every 30 minutes, make sure to get up and move about. Then commit a time each day to do your activity.
Remember: start slow and ease in. You don’t have to commit to a half-hour walk right away. Try going five minutes and then take a break, and then go another five. Each time you head out, increase your distance or pace just a little. You’ll soon notice results – the ease of moving with less pain. You might even start to feel hungrier and have more energy, and find yourself growing a little stronger as well.