health

With the shelter-at-home orders in place with COVID-19, it is even harder to get out and exercise. It may not be easy to change your lifestyle, but the effort can add years to your life.

When you look back on your day, did most of it seem to happen from the vantage point of your desk or couch? If you find yourself sitting more often than not, your sedentary lifestyle could be putting your health at risk.

People who are sedentary spend a lot of time sitting down and get very little exercise, putting them at a higher risk of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and other serious conditions. With the shelter-at-home orders in place with COVID-19, it is even harder to get out and exercise. It may not be easy to change your lifestyle, but the effort can add years to your life.

Here are some small but important changes you can make to get moving more:

Get moving at work

If you have a desk job, you could end up spending a lot of time on your keister throughout the day. You most likely can’t fit a workout into your workday, but you can still get a little more movement into your routine. Find ways to get up each hour, perhaps with a trip to the water cooler, a stroll around the office or a moving meeting with a coworker rather than a sit-down.

Revamp your TV time

There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you need to, and sometimes you just want to spend those hours in front of the TV instead of at the gym. Well, go ahead and do both. Throw a treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical in your TV room and work out while you catch up on your shows. Don’t fret if you don’t have the space, money or desire to turn your living room into a gym. Do some squats, lunges, pushups and other exercises instead.

Plan more playtime

Get your whole family more active with a little bit of planning. Take the kids to the park or go for walks together. If you are planning a family gathering, work in some physical activities like a volleyball game. Bring a basketball, football or baseball to your party and some pickup games are bound to happen.

Trade four wheels in for two

Ditch the car and hop on your bike to run an errand or go to work. Biking to work has gotten more popular in the last few years, especially in bike-friendly communities. Plan a little extra time to bike to work or run short errands and save the environment while you keep yourself healthy.

“Working some exercise into your weekly routine may be hard at first, but the effort can have a major impact on your long-term health,” says Robert Gerken, administrator at Newport Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “Find exercises that you enjoy and are able to do correctly so you have a better chance of sticking with your new lifestyle.”

Change isn’t easy, especially if your body isn’t used to a lot of physical exercise. Start slowly, and talk to your doctor about how to safely get moving. Put these tips into action to convert your lifestyle from sedentary to active. It may take time, but your life is worth it.

Dr. Amy Osmond Cook is a health care technology consultant and VP of marketing at Simplus, a platinum Salesforce partner.