In the old days we worked our bodies daily. We chopped and carried wood. We ventured out into the fields to plant and harvest crops. We hunted for our meat. We built our own homes with our hands. Physical labor was part of our everyday existence.
In Third World countries many people still do the same. Women carry jugs full of water on their heads back from the river while carrying babies on their backs. They harvest their own food, clean their homes, take care of the children and wash their clothing by hand. Industrialization changed all this—for better and, when it comes to our bodies, for worse.
While modern life definitely has its luxurious perks of washing machines to do the laundry, supermarkets to provide us food, cars to get us places, and strollers to carry our children, this way of living has made us lazy.
We no longer use our bodies other than in the hour-and-a-half of time that we carve out for ourselves, three times a week if we’re lucky, to work out at the gym, take a dance class, go for a jog or ride a bike. Many of us sit, at desks, typing on keyboards all day long while our bodies suffer from inertia, pain or illness.
At Health Coach Institute we are all about training our coaches in habit change. When you change a habit, you change a life. Oftentimes, changing one bad habit has a domino effect and suddenly other bad habits fall by the wayside.
We trust that if you get in the habit of doing just ONE of these tips daily, you will absolutely notice a difference in your body and your health.
Here are 5 everyday tips to help you KEEP FIT & CARRY ON:
Ditch the elevator or escalator for the stairs = leg toning workout
Elevators and escalators definitely have their place, and there are times when their speed and efficiency is unparalleled. But there are many times they’re pure luxury for the lazy. If you commute to work by train, take the stairs instead of the escalator. If your office is nine flights up, take the stairs. If your office is in a 50-story skyscraper, take the elevator to the 40th floor and walk the rest. If you’re wearing high heels, take them off for the walk. So what if you get weird stares; you’re the one doing the muscle toning. Airports, parking lots and crowded cities are all great places to get walking. So ditch the airport’s moving walkways. Park your car further than you normally would from the store. Park your car far from your favorite restaurant instead of circling the city block a million times to find the closest parking spot. Use your energy to walk. If you substitute one machine ride a day for one leg walk, you will notice your legs toning in no time.
TAKEAWAY: Get in the HABIT of working your legs instead of riding the machines.
Ditch the elevator or escalator for the stairs = leg toning workout
Unless you’re doing a mega-shop and stocking up for a month’s load of groceries, or you’ve decided to cook a feast for all your neighbors and extended family, try limiting your grocery shop to half a cart full of stuff, to start. That way when it’s time to get it to your car, you’ll have less bags to carry in your new effort to work your arms at the grocery store. It’s amazing how much of an arm workout you can actually get just from carrying four bags of groceries from the store to your car. You can even do mini lifts and feel how that strengthens your biceps. To add to the challenge you can ditch the cart altogether and carry a shopping basket or two around the store. Again, if you do this every time you do grocery shopping, your arms will slowly be getting pumped.
TAKEAWAY: Get in the HABIT of pumping your biceps instead of cart pushing
Ditch the professional housecleaner for elbow grease = full-body workout
Granted, while you’re busy juggling home, work, kids, exercise and romance, it’s one of life’s perks to return after a long, hard day at work to a spotless house that you’ve paid someone else to clean. But for the sake of getting a workout on an otherwise uneventful Sunday morning, how about just once a month cleaning the house yourself? Or half the house. Or your room. If you already do, you’ll know that it’s hours of scrubbing, washing, sweeping, dusting and tidying. Not the most enticing activity for many. Still, it can feel genuinely rewarding to do it yourself plus you’ll be sweating by the end of it. Consider it a four-hour, full-body, mini-marathon workout. To make it fun, kick everyone out the house, blast your favorite tunes, have a beer or, hell, even a glass of wine and get down and dirty. The next day you may feel like you climbed a mountain but you’ll be grateful for a clean house and a toned body.
TAKEAWAY: Get in the HABIT of cleaning your house instead of outsourcing
Ditch produce shopping for a small veggie garden = full-body stretch
As convenient as it is to stroll up and down the grocery store produce aisle bagging already harvested fruit and veggies in a plastic bag, try planting a small veggie garden in your yard, on your roof, or even on the sidewalk—of course, in some states, this is only possible when it’s warm out. But tending to your own little vegetable patch is great exercise and it’s good meditation too. To tend a veggie garden you need to bend, squat, dig and rake. You’re using your arm muscles, your leg muscles and your hand muscles. It’s a great body stretch and toning exercise and you’re getting down with nature. Besides working your muscles, gardening calms your mind and nourishes your body with healthy food. While you’re at it, hang your laundry out to dry in the sun and wind as a counter-stretch to all that bending on the soil. If you place your laundry line high up, you’ll be giving your arm muscles a great stretch when you reach up with those pegs.
TAKEAWAY: Get in the HABIT of small scale gardening instead of buying produce
Ditch your car for your bike—for short distances = full-body workout
Usually, what’s good for the environment is good for you too. When you can, ride your bike those short distances instead of getting in the car. Like those times when you just want to make a quick run to the corner store (a two-minute drive away) for milk; ride your bike instead. Or those times you want to pay a quick visit to your neighbor (who lives two blocks away); ride your bike instead. Of course, some people live deep in the country, down dirt roads, but it’s still good to get in the habit of riding (or walking) even if just for the sake of it, with no apparent destination. Once you get over seeing the motions of unlocking your bike, putting on a helmet and pumping your tires as a hassle, you may actually love it. There’s nothing like the freedom of riding a bike with the wind in your hair knowing you’re saving money on gas and leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
TAKEAWAY: Get in the HABIT of bike riding short distances instead of car driving
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