Modern life is stationary. It doesn’t matter if you’re working at a desk all day, sitting watching the television at night, or doing any number of other life activities. 21st-century life is more sedentary than practically any other time in history.
With so much time spent sitting around, it’s important to resist the tendency to slip into a full on sedentary lifestyle. If you feel that happening — or it already happened — here are a few tips to help you break out of those habits and re-engage with a more active life once again.
1. Get Into a Rhythm
Before you start buying equipment or looking up exercises, think about your schedule. If you don’t find consistent time to get moving, anything you try to do will fizzle out before long. It’ll be shouldered out by more sedentary commitments that can too easily monopolize your time.
To avoid this happening, be purposeful about your active time. As you find activities that can inspire you to get out of a more sedentary lifestyle, always consider how you can factor them into your schedule for the long term.
If you want to start exercising first thing in the morning, build a morning routine that helps you keep to this new structure every day. If you want to play a sport, join a group with an online community perhaps, that can keep you accountable to keep showing up. However you go about it, look for ways to establish rhythms in your life. Remember, sedentary activities are a natural default for most of us. If you don’t build predictable momentum into your plans, your new activities won’t last for long.
2. Facilitate Exercise
Exercise isn’t easy. In fact, it can be downright difficult to maintain at times — especially when compared to the relative physical simplicity of most sedentary activities. That’s why, if you want to be more active, you need to make an effort not just to find the time but to facilitate the activities themselves.
There are multiple ways to do this. For instance, if you want to start going to the gym or taking a fitness class, buy a gym membership or sign up for a workout streaming service, just do it. Knowing that you’re paying for the service can be a motivating factor that will help you take advantage of it.
If you don’t have a fitness club in easy reach, you can build your own home gym. Don’t just buy a few dumbbells and a yoga mat. Invest in a thoughtful space with the right equipment, amenities, and all that fun stuff.
3. Tailor Your Activity
Often the reasons that keep us sedentary aren’t just about lifestyle. They’re also about health. If you suffer from a sore back, a knee injury, or any number of other, more serious health concerns, it can make it difficult to get moving. And the truth is, if you find that something like backaches or joint pain is holding you back, you can’t just go along with the crowd. At a certain point, the pain isn’t worth the effort.
But that shouldn’t stop you from moving. Instead, look for unique ways that you can tailor the fitness and activity portions of your life to your particular needs. Using joint pain as an example, don’t just skip your workout because your arthritis is flaring up. Instead, come up with a set of exercises, like isometric lunges or wall slides, that you can fall back on that won’t aggravate those sore joints.
4. Combine Activity and Fun
So far on this list, we’ve primarily covered deliberate exercise techniques. While these are excellent ways to get moving, there are plenty of other ways to reintroduce activity into your life, too. For instance, you can look for ways to combine activity and fun. Rather than always opting for sedentary entertainment choices, like watching television or playing video games, look for more physically rewarding activities.
Join a soccer league. Sign up for a dance class. Go for a bike ride. Repurposing your free time to double as active time can help you exercise without even realizing it.
You can even use everyday things like walking the dog or cleaning the house as an opportunity to get moving rather than just another chore that has to be done. Instead of doing a bare-bones walk with your four-legged friend, find a podcast you like and choose a longer route with nice scenery. If you need to clean, put on some music and dance while you do so. You get the idea.
Breaking Out of a Sedentary Lifestyle
A lack of movement is par for the course for far too many people these days. If you find that you’ve slipped into a sedentary lifestyle, it’s time to break out.
Use the tips above to find new activities and establish healthier rhythms in your life. That way, when it does come time to sit for longer periods, you won’t have to worry about unhealthy fitness habits as you do so.
Dan Matthews is a writer, content consultant, and conservationist. While Dan writes on a variety of topics, he loves to focus on feeling better both mentally and physically, and imparting health tips to others can help make the world a better place to reside. When Dan isn’t working on new content, you can find him with a coffee cup in one hand and searching for new music in the other.