I was recently reading an article published by the Obesity Action Coalition stating that 40% of the adults in the
United States don’t participate in ANY leisure time physical activity. This means that 40% of Americans are barely
even moving in their free time! It is no wonder that overweight and obesity are becoming a severe problem within
America we’ve got to get physical! It’s time to start moving your body and using it as it was intended. But this may
be easier said than done, we’re talking about changing behavioral patterns, changing a lifestyle. The American College
of Sports Medicine recommends that adults in the U.S. receive 30 minutes to an hour of moderate physical activity
on most days of the week, or 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity on three days per week. So if you are one of
the 40% of the American population who leads a sedentary life, that amount of activity is going to sound outrageous!
How on earth can someone go from barely moving their body to performing that amount of physical activity in a
week? Two words are key here, baby steps. Let’s talk for a minute about the meaning of “physical activity”. For many
people, especially those who dread exercise, these two words conger up visions of sweaty people on elliptical
machines, treadmills, stair climbers and other “monster” type machinery. For the sedentary person thinking of
adding physical activity in this manner can lead to immediate feelings of frustration and basically quitting before
you even try.
So I repeat, let’s take baby steps. Think outside the box when it comes to defining “physical activity”. The important
thing is to start moving your body, start to get active. That doesn’t necessarily mean joining the gym and working out
gung ho for a week, then getting burnt out and quitting. Since we’re talking about changing behavior, it’s important to
develop small goals that you can commit to and reasonably apply to your day to day life. The goal is to create a new
habit in your life which requires you to get physical and in the process burn more calories, lose weight, and reduce
your risk of being overweight or obese, or developing a related disease or condition. So if you are leading a sedentary
lifestyle start thinking about how you
can move your body more in a day. Begin by adding some light leisure time activity into your day, when you are ready
you can incorporate moderate activity and progress from there.
No matter what, just start moving. Here are some ideas of different types of physical activity that are going to add a
little extra calorie burning to your day! Every little bit counts. Get a new hobby such as gardening (you can burn
around 270 calories in an hour of moderate gardening!), get outside and toss a Frisbee around with your kids, a friend
or neighbor, this same idea can go for tossing a baseball, basketball, hitting a waffle ball around the yard, or playing a
little bit of football.
Start a collection, perhaps antiques, dolls, shells (get out for a walk on the beach to scavenge for new treasures!), rocks,
baseball cards, coins etc. then make an effort to go out and do some collecting on your own. Visit stores that carry the
item that you collect, get out and visit special trade shows for the area that you are interested in. Dance! That’s right,
get that body moving. Instead of plopping down in front of the t.v. during your spare time, turn on your favorite tunes and
Listen to the tunes that will get your feet tapping and your heart pumping. Take it a step further and maybe consider a
dance class, there are many communities that have resources for affordable or even free dance lessons. What’s your
Line dancing, square dancing, swing, salsa, ballroom, hip hop, aerobic style, find a group in your area where you can
enhance your education of your favorite style and burn some extra calories in the process.
In the winter time go sledding, or get outside and build a snowman or a snow fort, don’t be afraid to act like a kid, after
all they burn tons of calories in a day! Play billiards, enhance your understanding of angles and add some fun physical
activity into your day.
Try out a new sport, look around your community and see if there is a sport that is appealing to you that you may want
to get involved with. You may find a new activity that you love, that will reduce your stress levels in life, help you make
some new friends and help to improve your fitness levels. Here’s some ideas: bowling, golf, canoeing, kayaking, ping
pong, swimming, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, softball, soccer, tennis, yoga, a martial art such
as karate, or tai chi, kickboxing, basketball, football, ultimate Frisbee, squash, racquetball, volleyball, horseback riding,
bicycling, ice skating, cross country skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, hockey (even air hockey!)
If you have kids, play with them! You’ll burn up tons of calories trying to keep up with your little angels, and get a little
quality time with them as well.
Get a pet! Having a pet such as a dog is a great way to get in some extra physical activity. Take “fido” out for a walk, play
catch, throw some rawhide, having a pet gives you a great excuse to get moving.
Get outside and enjoy some fresh air, if you live in a hot climate try to get up early in the morning or get outside later at
night to get some activity in. Ask a friend or family member to join you and use it as a time to bond with them at the
Go for a walk, find a nearby park and go for a hike. Take up star gazing, get out and visit a planetarium, take a walk
outside in the evening and discover how many constellations you can identify. Take a backpacking trip, learn how to rock
climb, go camping with family or friends and set up your own tent, find area nature trails, state or national parks and get
out and enjoy them. Learn about local wildlife, take up an activity such as bird watching. Hunting or fishing are also great
ways to get outside and enjoy nature while getting some extra physical activity. Also look for unique activities that you
can participate in such as going to visit a cave, a ranch, a wildlife farm, find out what natural treasures you can find
and enjoy in your area.
Learn about your community, local culture and history. Need a weekend activity? Visit a local museum or history center,
join in a community gathering or festival but avoid the fattening foods that possibly go hand in hand with these activities!
Find a local trade show that may interest you and attend it, pretend you are a tourist in your own town. When you live in
the same place for a while it is very common to hear the complaint of “there’s nothing to do” but try to look at your
community from a visitors point of view. Take some time and explore what local “attractions” your community has to offer,
participate and you may find that you learn something new and exciting about your locale at the same time.
Get some chores done, go grocery shopping, clean the house, dust or vacuum, take on a new project and clean an entire
room, make the beds, hang up laundry, clean out the fridge and throw out all the unhealthy foods while you’re at it! While
your standing in line at the grocery store or at the bank don’t be afraid to fidget. You will burn more calories by tapping
your feet or fidgeting than if you’re standing still, even use your time in line to do some light stretching. Have a yard sale,
this is a project that can cause you to burn a lot of excess calories, plus you can make some quick cash in the process!
Mow the lawn, use the push mower instead of the riding mower. Get out and shovel some snow, this is a great way to
burn up some calories and get tons of fresh air. Clean out your car, that’s right spiff it up! Wash and wax your car, clean out
all the trash, vacuum and polish the inside as well! You’ll have a nice clean car and you will have burned up a substantial
amount of energy.
Get out of the car. If you’ve just got to go to a fast food restaurant at the very least try to avoid using a drive through
whenever possible. Since so many people use the drive through today you will probably get faster service by walking
into the restaurant anyways, besides that you will burn a few extra calories and even remind yourself of the healthy food
choice that you need to make once you get inside! Heck if you’re going to get out of the car anyways, why not swing by
the grocery store and pick up a healthy pre-made sandwich or salad instead of a hamburger.
These are just a few ways that you can start being more active in your leisure time. You can improve the quality and
quantity of your life by becoming more physically active, you can enhance your enjoyment of life by finding new activities
that you really love participating in. Remember that living healthy encompasses getting enough physical activity and
exercise and eating healthy as well. If you are leading a sedentary life, don’t get overwhelmed, take baby steps towards
developing a more fit and healthy you. Hopefully you have gleaned some ideas for ways to start moving your body from
this article, just take that first step today!
Diana Chaloux is the co-founder and owner of Destined 2 Be Fit . Diana is also a certified personal trainer through ACE,
AFAA and FPI, a certified Fitness Coach through Wellcoaches, Lifestyle Management Nutrition Specialist, NPC National
Level Figure Competitor (www.dianachaloux.com) and Fitness Model. Diana also has her own personal training studio
located in San Antonio, Texas allowing her to work with clients and members both online and in person! For more
information on how you can work with Diana visit http://www.destined2befit.com