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You can’t out run a bad diet, but most of us know we need to eat less Twinkies and eat more greens, drink less soda and drink more water. But to be really healthy, you also have to move.

It’s great if you get to the gym a few times a week to workout, but the world’s healthiest people incorporate natural movement into their every day life.

My day job is working in IT, so for those of you who just said, “I have to sit 10 hours a day.” I get it. I really do. I average 9 hours days, and all of it is spent at a computer.

Just a few years ago, I bought my first fitness tracker. For the first few weeks, I just logged and watched. I was averaging around 3,500 steps a day, which for me is just over a mile a day.

I was shocked. I thought I was pretty active, but the American Heart Association recommends walking 10,000 steps a day! I had no idea how I was going to get those steps in and still work every day.

I had to go it alone. I did my research. I got creative. Little by little I managed to get to 10,000 steps a day, which for me is around 4.5 miles. My current goal is to get to 5 miles a day.

Here are the things I did to increase those steps.

(1) Take the first parking spot you see Instead of cruising the parking lot to get that coveted spot next to the door, take the first spot you see and walk the extra steps to the door. When you’re running errands, you would be surprised at how fast those steps add up!

(2) Turn a bathroom break into a short walk I work from home, and the bathroom is literally next to my office. When I finish in the bathroom, I take the long way around the house to get back to my office. When I worked in an office building, I would take a walk to the bathroom farthest from my office. It only added an extra 200-300 steps, but when you go 4-5 times a day. that can easily turn into an extra 1,000 steps a day.

(3) Walk before meals I have three dogs, and they LOVE when I take a break to give them attention, so I spend time playing in the yard with them before meals. I’ve also used things like walking to the mailbox or a walk around the office park to get some steps in before meals.

(4) Schedule time to clean your house Don’t laugh! I’m serious! You’d be surprised how many steps you get in sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor. Most of us who have full-time jobs and side hustles put off cleaning the house until we can’t stand it, or we have people coming over. Instead, give yourself a cleaning schedule. Schedule 1-2 tasks a day. I found doing this increased my step count by as much as 750 steps a day.

(5) Get creative while you work I have an under-the-desk bicycle I use periodically throughout my day. Whenever I’m reading a document or stuck in one of those meetings that really could have been an email and didn’t need my input, I bike a little. I tried a standing desk, which didn’t really work for me, but it might be a way to go for you. I do tend to stand up and walk around the house when I’m on a call where I don’t need to be taking notes. The joys of wireless headsets!

The most important part is to have fun. Long term transformation has to be enjoyable if you’re going to make it stick. We live in a society that tells us to power through, but the truth is that we do what we like, so experiment and HAVE FUN!

Happy Eating!

Tanya

Author, speaker, and health coach in Tennessee

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