Obesity epidemic: 30 ways to move more

The Obesity Epidemic: Reduced need for movement in our daily lives.


Written by Elise Matthews


The third main driver of obesity comes from a reduced need for movement in our daily lives.  Modern technology is amazing, we have the means to get so much done without expending much effort.  Unfortunately, things like cars, Netflix, Amazon, and computers greatly reduce the need to get up and move as well.  It’s feasible that most Americans have the technology available to go through the day without even accumulating 2000 steps.  In fact, most Americans average 4000 steps each day.  That’s a full 6,000 steps below the 10,000 steps that has become the golden standard for a healthy movement level. 


A very important note: If you have an activity tracker and find yourself ranging in the 4,000 step category on average, I will be the first to say that your goal shouldn’t be to get 10,00 steps.  Your goal should be to average 200-500 more steps than you are currently doing.  When you can easily maintain that increased amount of activity, then increase another 200-500 steps on average per day.  Consistently keep adding 200-500 steps weekly for 12-30 weeks and you’ll comfortably find yourself with 10,000 steps per day and a significantly looser pair of pants!



This past June, did a focus group session discussing strategies for moving more. Our goal was to come up with as many ideas for incorporating more movement (not exercise) into our daily lives.   The point of the focus group was that if technology was going to reduce our need to move, we had to figure out ways to get moving in spite of technology.  Start incorporating one of these into your life every week and you’ll find that an extra 200-500 steps a day comes easily!


Here's what we came up with:


  • Switch from a traditional chair to a physioball which is less stable and forces you to stabilize yourself
  • Try a standing desk if possible
  • Use a headset and walk around your office when talking on the phone instead of sitting.
  • Move the printer across the room so you have to stand up when you print something off.
  • Walk over to a coworker's office instead of calling or emailing.
  • Analyze all the things you do at work and see if there are things you do sitting down that you can do standing up.
  • Choose the stairs over elevators whenever possible.
  • Use the restroom on a different floor and take the stairs when you do.
  • Set a timer or alarm to alert you to move for 5 minutes every hour.
  • When you complete a task at work like emails, take a lap around the office before switching to another task like returning phone calls.
  • Meeting a coworker or friend? Meet at a park instead of a coffee shop or restaurant and go for a walk.
  • Earn your lunch with a 10-minute walk first.
  • For lunch at work, try walking to a nearby restaurant or if you bring your lunch eat anywhere else besides at your desk.
  • Choose the furthest (safest) parking spot from your office or store.
  • Live close to work? Try walking or biking
  • Live close to the grocery store? Walk to get groceries.
  • If you have to drive to shop, try unloading the car one bag at a time.
  • Break up your yard work, gardening, or cleaning into smaller pieces to allow yourself to do a little bit every day.
  • Do a short walk with the dogs or solo in the morning.
  • Take a longer walk with the dogs or solo in the evening to earn screen time.
  • When watching tv at night, get on the floor and stretch, foam roll, or do some abdominal work (planks, back pressure crunch, etc)
  • Get up and walk around the house between episodes.
  • Turn on your show and put the remote control on the other side of the room
  • Plan, prep, and cook your own meals instead of eating out.
  • Get down on the floor and play with your kids or grandkids.
  • Schedule regular active family time like a bike ride, hike, walk, game of catch, frisbee, etc.
  • Dust off your old twister game and play at your next get together.
  • Delay sitting down as long as possible. And when you do sit down, sit on the floor instead of on the couch whenever feasible (you'll sit for a lot shorter time on the floor than on the couch).
  • Try out some new hobbies or crafts that don't involve sitting like bocce ball, gardening, geocaching, dancing, swimming, restoring old furniture, cooking, grilling, home brewing, thrifting, restoring old cars, etc

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