In Fit2Lead Part 1, you learned the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and how it impacts your health. Fit2Lead Part 2 will be educating you on how to implement healthy habits into your lifestyle. If you are new to this series, I encourage you to start with Fit2Lead Intro then make your way to Fit2Lead Part 1 before reading on to get the full "Impact"!
So we start with a few questions;
- How did you spend your last 24 hours?
- What percentage of your day was spent sitting, i.e., at our desk, on the couch, at the dinner table?
Take a moment and assess the last 24 hours by considering the time spent sitting vs. walking around, going up and down steps, cleaning, etc.
It’s important to recognize the difference between physical activity and exercise. Caspersen, Powell, and Christenson lay out the differences clearly for us in the article, “Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research”.
Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that result in energy expenditure.
Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive and has as a final or an intermediate objective, the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness.
In layman’s terms, physical activity is an unplanned, unstructured activity such as taking the stairs, extending your walk to and from your car by parking at the far end of the lot, and cleaning the house. Physical exercise is more structured and planned; going on a walk or run, doing resistance training, or taking a cycling class.
Here are three easy steps to implement physical activity into your day:
1. Take the longer route
We typically need to get to where we are going and fast, but if you have a few minutes to spare, try these few action items:
- Park at the far end of the lot
- Take an extra lap around your workstation before sitting down at your desk (this will also give you the chance to say a friendly hello to co-workers and “Impact” their day!)
- Take breaks from your desk to fill up your water bottle or go to the bathroom, when you do, review the step above!
One of my exercise physiologist professors always said, “The elevator is for the sick and the injured, you are healthy, take the steps and get healthier.”
3. Stand up more at home
Whether answering emails or chopping vegetables for dinner, opt for standing and ditch the chair. They make ergonomically designed workstations for these very situations.
While structured and planned exercise is important, physical activity (remember the definition you learned above) is as well to create that healthy lifestyle we all seek.
Next up in Fit2Lead Part 3 is Exercise: “What Type and How Much”
Here’s to an “Impactful” and healthy journey.
Libby Perritt | EP-C
Founder of Faithfully Fit Army
Caspersen CJ, Powell KE, Christenson GM. Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research. Public Health Reports. 1985;100(2):126-131.