Three Easy Ways to Move More and Live Longer

Life is short and having a sedentary lifestyle with little to no physical activity could make it even shorter. Much of our time is spent either sitting or lying down – from our commute to and from work, to sitting behind a desk for eight or so hours, coupled with the fact that most of us spend our free time watching TV or being glued to our smartphones, all while sitting down on the couch. 

A sedentary lifestyle is called sitting disease for a reason; numerous studies have found a link between prolonged sitting and chronic diseases, which could then increase the likelihood of early death. The World Health Organization states that roughly 2 million deaths per year are attributed to physical inactivity. 

Experts at a British Nutrition Foundation conference declared that a lack of physical activity can lead to mental health problems; According to Professor Nannette Mutrie, an expert in exercise and sport psychology at the University of Strathclyde, a person’s risk of having depression is doubled if they are inactive. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to decide between getting more exercise (and having less time) or doing nothing (and just resigning yourself to the fact that death is inevitable), because below are three easy ways to move more and live longer: 
 
1. Forget about things that run on fuel. 
 Instead of driving your car or taking a bus, why don’t you try cycling to your destination. Not only is this good for your overall health; you would also be helping the environment! You could also spare yourself from the stress caused by being stuck in traffic or from finding the perfect parking spot.

Cycling is enjoyable, inexpensive, and relatively easy – as most of us have been riding a bicycle since we were children. It increases strength and stamina; it’s also a great muscle workout, since it uses all of the major muscle groups as you pedal. Other physical health benefits of riding a bicycle include reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, increased muscle strength and flexibility, decreased body fat levels, improved posture and coordination, and strengthened bones. 

Bike riding is also good for one’s mental health, for it helps decrease stress levels and reduce stress and anxiety. 

2. Go for a walk. 
If you have an active and energetic dog, then use that to your advantage; if not, then you should probably get one. Kidding aside, taking your (or your neighbor’s) dog out for a walk would not only make the both of you happy; it could be extremely beneficial to your health as well. 

Walking increases heart and lung fitness and muscle strength and endurance. It reduces body fat and the risk of stroke and heart disease. It also makes bones stronger, and it improves balance. 

If you or your neighbor don’t have a dog, ask your spouse or your child to take a walk with you instead. But if you would rather be with yourself, that’s perfectly fine! 

Incorporate walking into your daily routine by taking your lunch out in the park, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to local shops, and getting off one stop earlier and walking home. 

3.  Do chores. 
Seeing that dirty pile of laundry in the corner should be enough to get you out of bed and get moving. Now you might think that doing chores barely counts as exercise, but it does help a lot, according to a study by Norwegian researchers which was published in the British Medical Journal. 

Cooking and washing dishes mean sitting less, and any type of physical 
activity is encouraged, especially among those who have a sedentary lifestyle.

 “The observation that light intensity physical activity also provided substantial health benefits is important for public health as this suggests that older people and those who are not able to be physically active at higher intensities will still benefit from just moving around,” said study authors Ulf Ekelund and Thomas Yates. 

Takeaway
The modern world has made it difficult for some to be active and to make time for exercise. Luckily, we don’t actually have to sacrifice the little free time we have just to workout. "People think they have to start going to the gym and exercising hard to get fitter," said Dr. Elin Ekblom-Bak, of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm. "But it doesn't have to be that complicated. For most people, just being more active in daily life -- taking the stairs, exiting the metro a station early, cycling to work -- is enough to benefit health since levels are so low to start with. The more you do, the better." Exercising regularly is indeed essential for our physical and mental health, but you don’t have to do it vigorously just to stay healthy. Just moving more and sitting less make a big difference.