Food & Fitness

Poll: What Role does Lifestyle Activity play in your life?

Last month’s poll

Last month we examined competitive sports and the Olympic Games. We were talking about whether or not we approve of the Olympics, taking into consideration the detriment to the economy and, more importantly, to the people displaced from their homes for the duration of the Games. Out of 35 voters, 46% like the idea of the Olympics but feel that things have taken a turn for the worse in recent years, 0% were boycotting the Olympics this year (which I guess means that all 46% of us sort of care but not really enough to protest, heh), 49% are avid fans of the Olympics and were watching the Games this year, and 6% don’t care much about sports and wouldn’t have been watching the Olympics anyways.

I suppose I should be celebrating Canada’s gold in hockey, but I figure there’s enough Canadians going wild over it that it doesn’t matter if I’m not all ra-ra Olympics. Admittedly the 2010 Vancouver Olympics red mittens that the mother dear bought for me are incredibly warm and comfy. I’ve turned into a walking advertisement for the Olympics just because I wear the mittens everywhere. I don’t approve of the Olympics, but I guess being warm triumphs my disapproval in this case (what? I’m human!).

This month’s poll: Lifestyle Activity

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t remember the last time I went to the gym.

I own a couple sets of dumbbells, two yoga mats, a stability ball, and a resistance band, so I do strength training a few times a week in the comfort of my own home. I also like to go out for long walks whenever I can. But even though I do those things, I know that they are just supplements to my lifestyle activity.

Lifestyle activity is the amount of activity you do during the day for lifestyle purposes rather than for “exercise” purposes. When we walk to work instead of driving, that’s lifestyle activity. The amount of moving around that we do on the job is lifestyle activity. Most construction workers are likely in top condition without ever needing to go to the gym, just because they move around so much while they’re working.

Unfortunately most people in Western society walk out their doors, jump into their car, drive to work, take the elevator up to the office, sit in front of a computer, drive home, and then sit in front of the TV before going to bed. Even if you do happen to get to the gym for half an hour to an hour during the day (or some other form of exercise), it’s scary to think that so much of our day is spent in a sedentary position.

I walk to work and to school. Just from the walking to and from my destinations, I get about an hour of walking in each day. If I go grocery shopping I walk as well, and carrying those heavy bags acts as a form of “strength training”. Taking the stairs instead of escalators or elevators helps to make the legs strong. Because I’m a receptionist at my workplace, I also am in charge of cleaning, so I vacuum and mop the floors every day that I work. That, too, is lifestyle activity. If you’re an office assistant, you probably get a bit more exercise as well from running around doing errands. Waiters and waitresses get a great arm workout by carrying trays full of heavy plates. That’s all lifestyle activity.

This month’s poll asks the following question: How much lifestyle activity do you do on a daily basis? Exclude the yoga you do in the morning, or your time at the gym, or your power walk at lunch time. I want to know how much lifestyle activity your job and life enables you to do. Do you take the stairs or the escalator? Do you walk or drive to work? Then, let me know in the comments what kind of activities you do to supplement your lifestyle if you don’t get in as much activity as you like. Share your ideas for “sneaking in” a little extra activity!

My tips: If you drive to work, try walking or biking instead. If that’s not an option, take the bus: walking to the bus stop (and getting off the bus a couple stops before your stop) adds up over time! If your only option is the car, park in the farthest parking spot from the building entrance to add even five minutes of extra lifestyle activity into your day. Also, if you work on the 17th floor of an office building, take the elevator up for the first ten floors and walk up the stairs for the last seven. And always walk down the stairs rather than taking a ride on the elevator!

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  1. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman

    I wish I could say itโ€™s a big part of the exercise I get. At one time Iโ€™d say it made up 60 percent. But ever since I injured my knees, all of those lifestyle activities are too painful to do. So instead I get my workout at the gym (the bike is my savior) and through physical therapy exercises. Great question!

  2. Lori

    It used to be a big part of my day when I worked in an office, but now that I work at home it is much less during the week. When we lived in Brazil I didn’t have a car so I walked everywhere. Now it is more of a challenge. It picks up in the warm months and on the weekends and will especially this year when I start my garden. I’m not too concerned about it for myself. I know lifestyle activity helps and I do take walks, park further away and all that because I try to practice what I preach, but I typically get enough structured exercise for my health.

  3. Holly

    I need to be better about this, as I sit at my desk! However, I’m faithful about parking way out in parking lots (double bonus, since it cuts down on door dings!) and fast walking. Yes, I’m that girl at the grocery store who almost runs into several people because I seriously speed walk. I can’t help it!

  4. Lance

    Hey Sagan,
    I definitely do better in the warmer months, when I do get my bike out to ride into work (9 miles). Actually that time on the bike is so good for not only my physical health, but also my mental health (as it becomes just a great time to think more deeply). Maybe if I skiied to work in the winter….(I’m not quite ready to start that yet!).

  5. Mary Anne in Kentucky

    I’m fortunate that my job is really active (grooming dogs involves a LOT of movement even for things you do sitting down) because I sure couldn’t walk 35 miles to work. I hope to have a bike someday, but I won’t be riding it in heavy traffic (at the work end) or in the dark on rural roads (at the home end) and since I have to get up at 5:30 to get to work on time in the car, I’m not really interested in going by human power.

    I am in the habit of parking at a distance from where I’m shopping, unless I’m buying something really heavy. I also carry wood into the house several times a week. I don’t do stairs, though. Since I moved into this house with all the living space on one floor, with no steps up to the doors outside, my hips and knees have stopped aching.

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  7. Emergefit

    There’s room for both. I bike to and from work 6 days per week (no longer own a car), never take the escalator, maintain my own property, carry all my groceries at once, and still make time for the gym, because the utility of the gym helps me take my bike to and from work, skip the escalator, and maintain my own property, and carry all my groceries at once.

    I will suggest that construction workers who go to the gym, and exercise properly, enhance and lengthen their construction worker careers by doing so.

  8. Louisa

    I live in two places– Eureka, California (on the coast), and Guanajuato, Mexico. In Eureka, I have a car, but avoid using it. I walk or ride my bicycle to do errands, go to work, see friends. On a day that I do end up using the car, I feel irritable and cranky! My primary client’s office is on the fifth floor, and I always take the steps. In Mexico, our beautiful, colorful city is a walker’s paradise, and has the added joy of having hills. We don’t have a car there and wouldn’t want one.

  9. love2eatinpa

    well, i work out of my house, so i guess i’m sitting at my desk a lot. however, i’m constantly jumping up to do laundry (carrying the baskets up and down the stairs, bending & twisting to put stuff from the washer into the dryer) and i’m on my feet when i’m preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner for my family. i also always have something to get upstairs so i take the stairs a lot. (and i do go the gym four days a week :))

  10. the Bag Lady

    It depends, for me, on which day of the week it is! I am constantly on the go at work, walking a lot and doing a lot of physical things. When I’m at home, there is housework, laundry, etc. and doing the chores (carrying pails full of oats for the calves…..) I try to always incorporate lots of activity into my day. Of course, walking to work is not an option, but I do park at a distance (except on the days when the weather is truly nasty…. -40? I wanna park right outside the door, thankyouverymuch!)!

  11. Sagan Morrow

    Westwood- ha, I’ve seen people do that sort of thing. Gotta shake my head at it. When I lived in Holland and we had field hockey games, we would bike to the field- sometimes it would take us nearly an hour to bike there- and then play a couple back-to-back games, and then bike home. Usually in the pouring rain. Fun times!

    Holly- I’m a speed walker too. Except because I’m so little, it usually just means that I walk at the same speed as everyone else. Damn short legs ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lance- I agree. It’s hard to WANT to get outside and be active when it’s freezing cold! That’s when I just wish I had a fire to curl up in front of and hibernate for months on end.

    Emergefit- Oh, I’m sure that they do. And I agree, it’s definitely really good if we deliberately squeeze in a workout at the gym (or if we go out for runs or exercise at home etc). But gyms are a modern occurrence; “back in the day” people didn’t need to “work out” because their LIFESTYLE was enough of a workout. I think it’s a little scary that nowadays we can spend so much time in a seated position. Convenience isn’t ALWAYS a good thing.

    Louisa- That sounds lovely! It’s funny; cars make me feel cranky sometimes, too. I just don’t like being in them for the most part. I feel impatient if I’m driving somewhere that I KNOW I could easily walk to (the exception being if it’s REALLY cold out :D).

    Bag Lady- You live in such a heaven of lifestyle activity! Although I bet it gets really exhausting, heh. And yes, -40 I am NOT parking at a distance. If I go to my mums for dinner in the dead of winter- less than 10 minutes from my apartment- I will GLADLY accept her offer for a ride home afterwards. I’m such a wimp when it comes to the cold. I don’t make for a very good Canadian, hehe.

  12. Mark Salinas

    I think that is fantastic, you definitely add to a healthy lifestyle by keeping active. I rarely take the elevator, avoid sitting for extended periods…I am that irritating guy that parks at the other end of a parking lot when many closer spaces are available. If walking is an option, why not feel better and maintain a healthier lifestyle? Great post!

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  14. FatFighterTV

    Well, I must admit I get much more lifestyle activity when it’s not freezing outside. I am fortunate that the grocery store, bank, and post office are all within a mile of where I live, so I always “walk” my errands when I can. Sometimes, I even bundle up and do it in the dead of winter, but I definitely do it much much much more often during the other three seasons!

  15. Monica

    Wow, it’s like you read my mind. I actually just rejoined the gym since I’m not getting in enough “lifestyle activity” now that I’ve moved to the country and work from home (I had no idea how much my daily commute helped me stay in shape until it was gone). I do try to keep active throughout the day by doing chores or walking my post to the mailbox (2.5 miles away!). I often wish I had a dog to walk!

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