Improving Your Fitness Through Incidental Movement

Do you find it hard to fit the gym into your schedule and you just can’t seem to find any time to workout? Don’t worry about it! Instead of stressing about getting to the gym just change up your daily routine. One of the easiest things you can do to improve your fitness level is to stop driving a car and take any other form of transportation; and even if you don’t have a car then you can still change your day up. As long as you prioritize walking on a daily basis your fitness (and happiness) levels will increase!

The first beneficial thing about many of these alternative modes of getting around is that they involve physically moving your body parts. Yes, even taking the bus or the subway involves walking, standing, and balancing (using proprioception) that we don’t use when we are sitting on our butts in a car seat. Even using one of the car share programs involves walking to the parking spot where the car is kept and then walking home again after you drop the car off.

The second beneficial thing with these carless alternatives is that they have many deep health benefits like lowering stress levels, raising your mood, and perhaps even helping you get better sleep. But more on that later.

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Light Physical Effort can Lengthen Your Life


Worried you’re not getting enough exercise throughout your day? If you don’t think you’re moving around enough then this will be good news for you: every step you take counts to a longer life. A new study has found that it’s how much walking (or movement) you do during the day matters a lot towards longevity. The kind of physical activity you’re doing doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you’re doing something – even if it’s just taking the stairs instead of the escalator.

“Everything counts,” said William Kraus, a cardiologist at North Carolina’s Duke University School of Medicine and senior author of a new study published last week in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The epidemiological study looked at the relative benefits of “bouted” versus sporadic moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on the mortality of 4,840 people who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003-06.

“Does it matter whether that total physical activity was in bouts or not bouts?” Kraus said. “And we found out it didn’t matter whether it was in bouts or not bouts. It’s the total physical activity that matters.”

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Get Fit Through Self-Motivation

A lot of people use the nice weather of the summer as motivation to get fit, however, keeping oneself motivated can be a problem. One approach that is gaining popularity is to change your motivation from positive-reinforemecnt to negative encouragement. Worth a try at the very least.

The basic message is as follows: In modern society we are coddling ourselves into a mushy mess. We get medals for just showing up. We’re inundated with messages about the importance of loving ourselves the way we are. We are told to give ourselves a break. According to RFBF author Ruth Field, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it isn’t much of a motivator.

The traditional you-can-do-it approach to exercise has never worked for me, nor has signing up for expensive gym memberships or designating a workout buddy. I fantasized about hiring a personal trainer in the mould of the Lou Gosset Jr. character in An Officer and A Gentleman, who would harass, browbeat and berate me into physical perfection. RFBR instructs readers to administer tough self-love; I wondered if I could be my own drill sergeant.

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Get High from Running

You may hear from people who run that they feel great afterwards and get “addicted” to running, well it turns out our bodies may be born to run, which is why we get high from it.

As a doctor, Morganti knows what regular running does for her body. “Your heart gets stronger. It gets bigger. The amount of blood your heart can pump is more.” That’s called “stroke volume.” Oxygen metabolism gets more efficient, as well. “That means your blood vessels and muscles absorb more oxygen,” she says. “Running also builds new bone.”

But when I ask her about “runner’s high,” she lights up. “Oh, it’s really like an empowerment. And zen at the same time. You feel strong and light, and you feel relaxed.”

Read more at NPR.

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