Six Simple Ways To Sit Less And Move More

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Sit Less

Many people have been taught or led to believe that the only way to get exercise is through scheduled exercise sessions. This can be a little discouraging for people that struggle with finding enough time to dedicate to an exercise routine.  Fortunately, exercise doesn’t need to be formal for it to benefit you.

It’s no secret that formal exercise is a great way to get your body moving.  However, there are many ways to move more and sit less throughout your day without having to go to the gym. One of the best ways to keep your body moving throughout the day is to incorporate movement into your daily life and responsibilities. The technical term for this type of movement is non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or N.E.A.T.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis includes the physical activity you perform outside of exercise, eating and sleeping. There are many N.E.A.T. activities that we already do that can count as exercise.  Simple tasks such as raking leaves, physical labor, climbing stairs, and even fidgeting help us use our muscles and burn calories. These types of activity can help contribute to your overall health long term.

Research suggests that people who move throughout the day are more likely to reach and/or maintain their fitness goals versus those who sit throughout the day and then hit the gym for one exercise session.  This doesn’t mean that you should give up on your exercise sessions.  What it tells us is that the more we move throughout the day the better it is for us.

Most people spend the majority of their day at work. One way to move more and sit less is to incorporate non-exercise movement into your workday. Farming, construction and housekeeping trades are good examples of high N.E.A.T. jobs because they require quite a bit of movement. On the other hand, desk jobs usually require quite a bit of sitting.  So how can you increase your N.E.A.T. during the workday? Here are some simple ways to incorporate more movement into your day:

Consider using your car less. If it’s possible, walk or bike to work instead of driving.  The extra activity can boost your mood while allowing you to breathe the fresh air.

Schedule walking meetings. Take your business outdoors and boost your team’s creativity with a walking meeting. Walking is an effective way to expend energy, stimulate the brain, and connect with the rest of your team.

Stand up and take breaks. Give your eyes and body a break from the computer screen by doing things like filling up your water bottle, taking out your own trash and/or recycling, or checking in with your coworkers. This gives you a reason to get up and get some movement.

Take the stairs. This is an oldie but a goodie. Skip the elevator and take the stairs to keep your body moving throughout your day.

Stand instead of sit. Adjustable desks are becoming more popular in the workplace.  My husband uses his standing desk for most of his workday.  If these desks are not available to you, raise your work and/or devices to a podium or counter so you can stand periodically throughout your day.  Resting heart rate is higher while standing so a standing work station offers more physical activity.

If you’re finding it difficult to get up from your desk while you are working, there are plenty of other ways you can incorporate movement into your day.  Other examples of non exercise activity would be:

  • Playing with your kids
  • Doing yard work
  • Grocery shopping
  • Walking your dog
  • Cleaning the house
  • Running errands without your car

If you’d like to sit less and move more, think of one or two ideas that you can start with to weave movement into your day or week.

Accumulated physical activity throughout the week can add up and as a result contribute positively to your health and wellness.  Every little bit counts!

Make it a great and active week!

Shared with love,

Jennifer

The Desire To Be Healthy Versus The Desire To Be Thin

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Social media is an interesting platform.  I use it because I think it’s a great way to interact with my family, friends, clients, and the people and/or businesses I like to follow.  In general, it’s a great way to connect with people.

However, wherever there are people, toxic behavior can pop up.  I personally believe that there is more good than bad on Social Media but unfortunately there are some real trolls that hide behind their computers.

I recently saw an example of this when I stumbled upon a video regarding health and weight that made my blood boil. Total disclaimer, I have no idea if this nasty and judgmental person is a fitness professional or simply a shallow minded fitness nut operating on outdated information.  I didn’t watch the entire video because I could only stomach watching the first few minutes before I had to shut it off.  Yes, it was that awful.

Normally, I do my best to ignore nasty people and move on.  This time I couldn’t.  This human being was stepping on my turf and based on what I did hear, this person is NO expert.  I have spent years coaching people, taking classes, and studying fitness and health in order to help people stay fit for life.  I felt morally obligated to address what I believe to be a completely misguided point of view.

Basically, this person was claiming that size is always related to your health and if you have some extra padding in certain places you are unhealthy and at risk of heart disease.  This individual had no problem hurling all kinds of other ridiculous insults that in his mind he thinks should help and motivate people.  Really??

This type of thinking and flat out assumption is one of the main reasons I take issue with the marketing and theories that a portion of the fitness industry is promoting.  Usually, the desire to be thin has very little to do with health.  The intellectually honest side of my industry knows this,  and we are preaching a totally different message these days.

Over the years I’ve trained people of all sizes and I’ve learned that it is never a good idea to judge someone’s health by their size.  I’ve had the opportunity to perform numerous health assessments and review enough doctor’s reports to learn that there are larger people in great health.  I personally know curvy women that run marathons and look amazing in skin tight clothing.  I also work with men who are fit and strong with larger builds.  Sure, there are people that need to lose weight for health reasons (some of it serious) and I help coach them throughout their weight loss journey with compassion and common sense.

However, I’ve also seen a lot of damage done to people’s bodies due to yo-yo dieting and overtraining in their attempt to achieve a certain size.  Eating disorders are very real and they are usually camouflaged under the guise of “eating healthy.”

Not everyone was designed to be thin, or tall, or look super ripped.  Healthy bodies really do come in all shapes and sizes.  We have a choice and it’s pretty simple.  We can focus on taking care of ourselves and enjoying our life, or we can allow a very powerful industry and some incredibly judgmental people to bully us into trying to force our bodies to become something they are not.

Years ago, I was at a very low weight that was not healthy for me so I decided I was going to stop focusing on being thin and focus on self care instead.  I weigh more now and I’m way healthier.  However, during the time I was underweight, some people would observe my body size and assume I was healthy based on my looks.  My own personal experience is a perfect example that there is so much more to being healthy than a height and weight chart.

I recommend that you focus on self care and then put on your blinders.  Turn off the diet messages that are tempting you to restrict yourself just to fit into society’s narrow view of what a healthy body should look like.

Sometimes the best way to avoid the shallow people in this world is to turn off the chatter and ignore them altogether.

Make it your best week yet!

Shared with love,

Jennifer Ledford

 

A Few Thoughts After What Happened In Las Vegas

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Last week, our nation experienced a tragedy that shocked people around the world.  We are grieving the loss of fellow Americans and others that were visiting our nation.  I am having a difficult time holding back the tears while I write this.  My heart hurts.

The tragedy that took place was a harsh reminder that none of us really know when we will leave this world.  A reminder that it’s really important to focus on what matters most and living life to the fullest.

What comes to mind when you think of a life lived to the fullest?  I think that’s a really important question for all of us to ponder.  What do you really want in this life?

The lovely actress Sophia Loren was once quoted saying “I’d rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero.”  So simple, yet so profound.  To me that quote means she would rather live her life enjoying each day than be a slave to a scale or to a clothing size.  In other words, she is allowing herself to be free to LIVE.

When I was smaller than a size two I was criticized by photographers.  No matter how hard I exercised or restricted the food I ate, I still wasn’t perfect enough for them.  Constantly restricting myself to gain approval from others ended up being a prison and led me into depression.  When I decided  to stop caring about what others thought and shifted my focus to living a full life I got my joy back.

Allowing yourself to be free to live your life doesn’t mean that you stop exercising and eating well.  It simply means that you won’t restrict yourself in an attempt to manipulate your body into a size that it wasn’t naturally designed to be.  If your goal weight doesn’t allow you to enjoy the things you like in a way thats moderate and healthy, then you could end up being pretty miserable.  Or, in the worst case, you could harm your health.

Life is way too short to allow superficial things and ideas to control you and cause you to miss out on living life to the fullest.  Which is why I passionately recommend you design a life that is well balanced and brings you joy.  In other words, just be you.

When you allow yourself to “just be you” and live authentically, you are giving yourself permission to be free.  And with that freedom, comes peace.  Being at peace with who you are and what you are capable of at any give time, gives you the freedom to focus on the things that matter most and are most precious to you.

Make it a great week.  Spend quality time with the ones you love and doing the things you love.  Time and experiences are two things we can never get back so it’s good to invest our time wisely.

Shared with love,

Jennifer