How Small Changes in Activity Increase Your Total Body Wellness

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

A large part of the Total Body Diet is making fitness part of your everyday life. However, lots of people get overwhelmed at the thought of exercise. They envision themselves having to hang out in gyms with beefy bodybuilder types, and they let that stop them from doing anything at all.

But it doesn’t have to take a lot of time to become more active and learn to make good moves in your life.

Think about it: You can do leg lifts as you wash dishes or shoulder rolls as you’re driving your kids around town. Even mundane tasks in life can offer an opportunity to use your muscles and gain strength in areas that you never thought possible!

Take a look at the following chart and see how you can make somewhat sedentary activities more active.

Activity How to Make It More Active
Reading a book Hop on an elliptical machine or treadmill and read while you
exercise.
Computer work Get a standing desk to alternate sitting and standing.
Folding laundry As you fold laundry, do side or back leg lifts (alternate
lifting each leg to the side and back, ten times per side).
Talking on the phone While you talk, do squats or wall presses (put your back
against a wall, lower your body to a seated position, and hold for
ten seconds).
Watching TV Do sit-ups, do push-ups, or lift weights while you watch. If
you’re afraid of missing all the action, leave the exercise for the
commercial breaks.

You don’t have to go to a gym to get a proper work out. A large part of the Total Body Diet is making fitness part of your everyday life. By bending, stretching, and walking daily, you’re doing your body good.

How can you do more for your body every day? Take a ten-minute break from your daily activities at least three times a day. That’ll add up to the 30 minutes of activity you need. Not sure what you can possibly accomplish in ten minutes? Here are some ideas:

  • Water your plants or take the garbage out.

  • Walk around your block as fast as you can.

  • Get on the floor or a yoga mat and stretch. If you can’t get on the floor at work, sit up straight at your desk and stretch your arms up to the ceiling, turn your head from side to side, touch your chin to your chest, and roll your neck gently. Repeat three times, breathing in and out with purpose.

  • Walk up and down the stairs to get your blood pumping and leg muscles working.

In the practice of yoga, moving (and living) with intention, or a goal in mind, is a powerful player in transforming your life. If you make a mental intention to move more, your body will follow. Let your intentions lead you to the next activity, and pretty soon moving more will become a natural part of your life.

Just as planning your meals and snacks brings purpose to your daily routine, so will mindful movement. Set a realistic weekly goal, and as you progress, add another day or two to your schedule until you’re getting 30 minutes of activity a day at least five days a week.