Three strange events have occurred in 2017:
On one occasion – the result of a mid-cycle whim, if you will – it occurred to me I’d unintentionally covered more than 40km over the course of one day. So I reset the dial and repeated the process the following day. And the day after that. And, yep you guessed it, the day after that. Without pushing myself to extreme limits and effectively enjoying a casual cycle before training clients, I’d racked up more than 150km in five days.
Since the start of the year, I’ve covered nearly 1500km – the equivalent of cycling to Barcelona. That’s a relatively epic return from a relatively modest undertaking. Each block of cycling lasts absolutely no more than 10 minutes. Four or five of those a day: perfecto, amigo.
Why am I telling you this? Because if I wasn’t on that bike, I’d be sitting down. I’d be sedentary. I’d be occupying dead time by playing dead myself.
Recent claims suggest an hour’s activity offsets a sedentary day and potentially resultant health issues. The problems with such claims, however, fall with how that “hour’s activity” is measured. Is it an hour all at once? How heavy is the activity? Should you do more if not so heavy and less if you’re going all out?
For me, the simple task of “activating yourself” during times when you’d ordinarily be sedentary is sufficient enough. Yes, you can’t be active all day and your body needs rest, but there are moments when a simple, not-needing-to-go-to-the-gym tweak to your routine can make huge amount of difference in the long run.
Here are a few ideas:
Don’t be a phoney!
Speak on the phone a lot? Great. Speak on the phone a lot while hunched on your sofa? Not so great.
Next time you commence a conversation, get up and walk around a bit. You could even make it that day’s activity: “I need to catch up with Brenda about that pack of Digestives she nabbed from the cupboard. Tell you what, I’ll head for a walk around the block and call her then.” No distractions, something to keep you occupied and a way of escaping the house for an hour.
How many times a day do you slope up those stairs? Swap the slope with a sprint. It may be an incredibly dated cinematic reference, but Pierce Brosnan claims the technique helped him get in shape to play James Bond, so if it’s good enough for 007, it’s good enough for you. NB: if you live in a bungalow, revert to running on the spot for a minute at a time.
That’s right. Anywhere. Living room floor while watching TV, kitchen floor while cooking, bedroom floor while, er, tidying up, even your bathroom floor (providing you have enough space and make it clear that’s what you’re doing in there). For as long as flat surfaces remain, sit-ups will be possible.
See above. For variation, prop your feet on the bed, sofa, toilet… You get the idea.
Wall squats: anywhere!
Find a wall, plant your back against it and slide into the squat position for as long as you choose (minimum 30 seconds to make it worthwhile). You could even do it while brushing your teeth. Firm glutes and minty fresh breath. Result!
OK, not quite Olympics (although creating some form of stationery-based events is something extra to think about for a rainy day). But counteract those hours of sitting in front of a computer by, well, not sitting in front of a computer.
Need the loo? Go to the one on the next floor. Thirsty? Fill your glass half way so you have to revisit the water cooler. Take the stairs rather than the lift, park further away from the entrance, if you take the bus… walk! Or, if that deadline is just far too pressing for you to drag yourself away from the desk, try and sit upright and stretch your legs and arms to get that blood-a-pumpin’ round your system again.
Set an alarm every hour or so and each time it goes off, try and complete one of the tasks above. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to Barcelona!
Right, all this typing has worn me out. I’m off for a sit down…