Moving Around

Some people think that once they hit the gym three times per week for an hour, they are entitled to spend the rest of the time in front of the TV or behind the desk because they met their goal. I was thinking the same way. Now, I’m actively seeking constant movement whenever I can, and I feel much better.

The main goal of moving around is to avoid sitting as I believe it’s probably the worst position you can get in, especially once you sit in front of computer for 8 hours straight, then move to the elevator which takes you to the parking lot, where you move to the car which you have parked at the nearest possible spot to the entrance. Then you drive home, where you circle to find the closest possible place to the door, another elevator takes you to your floor, then you finally drag yourself to your flat where crash to the sofa with TV remote before you make it to the bed.

If the description above sounds familiar, it doesn’t matter if you hit the gym five times per week for two hours. You are still slowly killing yourself because you don’t move around enough and those few hours spent in the gym simply can’t make up for your sedentary lifestyle, especially if you sit or lie on the bench-press all the time 🙂

Moving rules

I work in the office behind the desk. My job involves lots of emails and Word typing. When I started to pay attention to moving more, I wanted to make sure to take at least 10 thousand steps as is usually suggested, so I created few personal rules to push myself to move more to achieve this goal:

1. Don’t take elevators
2. Park the car at the farthest place from the entrance
3. Take walking meetings 
4. Walk while having a phone call
5. Walk whenever you don’t have to use the keyboard 
6. Walk while consuming digital content
7. If you can’t walk, stand

1. Don’t take elevators

This one is pretty simple. I have yet to find a building without stairs. Whenever I can, I just take them except for the situation when I carry some heavy stuff around which is pretty rare, though.

2. Park the car at the farthest place from the entrance

Whenever I go shopping, I deliberately seek for the most abandoned spot which is usually the most distant from the entrance. That’s where I park the car. Or I just park it a few blocks away on purpose to take some more steps. This rule has one huge advantage. I don’t get to fight for parking spots, and I don’t have to waste time circling and to wait until somebody goes away. Nobody wants to park where I do, so there’s always a free place for me there. Initially, the only motivation was getting more steps, but these days, I usually grab one of the AirPods, stick it to the ear and listen to some audiobook while walking from the car to my destination.

3. Take walking meetings

This one is pretty hard because it involves other people and they still usually expect to sit while discussing some matters. Most of my colleagues got used to the fact that I don’t sit, but some of them still ask me if at least they can sit while we are talking. I always say that they can, but I rarely join them. Instead, I just walk around the office like a hungry lion in the cage. If I need to sit for a long time, I at least go frequently to the bathroom.

4. Walk while having a phone call

I rarely use the desk phone because it’s hard to walk around with it. I told everyone to reach me on my cell phone, so I can stride while talking to them. It’s actually pretty easy since we have long and empty corridors in the building where I work and with AirPod in the ear, I can leave the iPhone in my pocket. Yes, I look like a weirdo talking to myself, but people slowly got used to it, and I didn’t even care much anyway.

5. Walk whenever you don’t have to use the keyboard

I have Surface Pro as my primary working machine. The main reason I wanted this computer instead of classic clamshell form factor is the ability to use it while moving around. If I have to write something, I use my standing desk; if I don’t, I can just tear off the keyboard and walk around with just the screen since it’s pretty lightweight.

6. Walk while consuming digital content

I rarely watch TV, I especially avoid News, but from time to time I binge some favorite Netflix series. Regarding YouTube, I mostly use it as a source of interesting lectures or discussions about nutrition and biohacks. In all of these cases, I realized that I didn’t have to sit in front of the TV to consume this content. I have a nice big iPad Pro which I can easily carry around, so I’m constantly walking from the kitchen to the living room and back again while watching stuff or reading ebooks. Even though I have TV both in living room and bedroom, the only user is my daughter who enjoys her fairy tales there.

7. If you can’t walk, stand

As a web developer, book author and online teacher, I still tend to work on the computer a lot while creating the content and since I don’t want to sit even in these cases, I have a standing desk both at home and at the office. Standing on the same spot isn’t necessarily healthier than sitting, but the trick is that I can’t stand to stand (pun intended) at the same spot for as long as I would sit in the chair, so standing actually forces me to move more frequently. It’s like dancing around my desk, constantly changing posture, standing on the right foot, then on the left, and so on.

You can learn more in my book THE NEW FITNESS: Forty Years Old Dad in Twenty Years Old Body.


Jan Zavrel

Infopreneur, Evernote Certified Consultant, iOS & Web Developer, Author, Teacher, Lifelong Learner

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