7 Simple Ways to Stay Active Because Sitting is The Worst

Do you have an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to staying fit? So many of us are too “slammed” at work to go to the gym or our kids’ activities are keeping us in the car and off the cardio machine. Waiting until you have the time to get a good run or workout in could mean big gaps in your fitness routine. Despite what we like to think, research has shown that you can’t offset the hours you spend sitting every day with getting a good workout in a few times a week (or a few times a month)¹.

Don’t give up on your health just yet! Instead of spending more time beating yourself up for not exercising than beating up a punching bag, you can just live a more active life! That’s right, simply reducing the amount of time you spend not moving (ie. driving, desk work, watching tv) is a bigger step towards better physical health than running a few miles every once in a while.

Here at Body Gears, we recommend a few basic elements you can easily include in your daily life that truly add up to a more active lifestyle and more years of healthy living.

1. Take the Longest — or Hardest — Distance Between Two Points

In our busy lives, speed and efficiency is the name of the game, but does the time saved parking close to the store really do you any favors? While it may seem more convenient to park as close as you can to the door, it’s also a convenient time to get some physical activity in. Start parking at the far end of the lot (the further you just drove the further you should park) so that you have to walk, push a cart, or carry a bag a greater distance. When there are stairs, take them. If there’s only an escalator, don’t just stand there, stick to the left and walk up the steps. When your destination is 20 minutes away or less, just walk, and when the pedestrian light starts counting down, run to make it before it gets to zero!

2. Pay for Your Lunch — in Footsteps

Skip the cafeteria in favor of a healthy eatery down the street. If you brought your lunch, walk outside for 20 minutes before digging in or take a lap around the office while waiting for the microwave. If you’re retired or working from home, walk to the corner grocer’s to gather the goods for lunch. Don’t start eating until you’ve been up and moving for 5 minutes at the very least and be sure to get a total of 20 minutes of movement in before your lunch break ends.

3. Consider a Standing Desk

Although you’re just swapping one sedentary position for another, standing still for hours is the lesser of two evils. For one thing, it burns more calories through microbalance corrections. You’ll also hunch less (if it’s set up to the right height), meaning that neck and shoulder pain isn’t a big problem. Standing can also boost your health by keeping blood sugar more steady after a meal and by encouraging more movement overall (if you’re already standing, you’ll be more likely to walk somewhere to get something or speak to someone).

4. Fool Yourself Into “Running Errands”

Using a smaller glass for water — or mug for green tea — means that you have to return to the water cooler or kitchen more often to fulfill your daily hydration goals. The more you’re drinking the more you’re also walking to the bathroom. Likewise, you can make going down the hall to borrow a stapler and hiking upstairs to ask someone in HR about your vacation schedule separate trips.

When you go to the grocery store, walk up and down every aisle even if you only needed milk (you might find a great sale). Also, store the TV remotes in the most remote corner of your home so you at least get a little walk in before and after those binge-watching marathons.

If wearable pedometers have taught us anything, it’s that a hundred extra steps here and there really do add up over the course of the day.

5. Use Fitness Benefits as an Incentive for Doing Chores

Organizational experts know that 20 or 30 minutes of chores a day adds up to a cleaner, more organized space. You can certainly get a lot of toys into baskets during that time — not to mention mopping a floor or vacuuming the car. So if you remember that these dreaded tasks also burn calories and build up your core strength, it may help you feel more like tackling them.

6. Keep Equipment Handy

Stash a yoga mat or 5-pound weights under your bed. Hang resistance bands on a hook in the kitchen. Keep a foam roll in the coat closet. That way, you’ll be far more likely to do a few reps while watching TV or waiting for the pasta to boil!

7. Use an Innovative Physical Therapist

The most obvious way physical therapy helps you stay active is by addressing the aches and pains that keep you from pursuing physical activities. In addition, physical therapy sessions are often a workout in and of themselves, which can help you meet your weekly cardio and strength goals. A physical therapist is also a great resource for giving you tips on tweaking your daily habits, going over what a normal day looks like for you and offering advice on how to make it a more active one. If chronic pain is an issue, your PT can show you specific moves that streamline the physical challenges.

Use our online form to request an appointment and find out how physical therapy can help you live a pain-free and more active life.

Staying Active 1 7 Simple Ways to Stay Active Because Sitting is The Worst

Written by: Dr. Julia Melanson, PT, DPT

Edited by: April Oury, PT, MSPT, IOC, CFMT, FAAOMPT, Founder


1. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/08/the-new-exercise-mantra/495908/

2. Ainsworth, Barbara E., et al. “Compendium of physical activities: classification of energy costs of human physical activities.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 25.1 (1993): 71-80


1. American physical activity guidelines

2. Fitness tracker buying guide

As always, consult with your Licensed Physical Therapist for individualized advice. For those in Illinois and California, visit your PT immediately without a prescription or referral.

Give us a call at (877) 709-1090 for more information or fill out the contact us form and we will contact you.

Don’t forget to check out our InstagramFacebook, and Podcasts for more great information and resources.

Copyright © 2018 by Body Gears Physical Therapy
All rights reserved. This blog or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a review.