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Be More Active Throughout Your Day

Whether you’re challenged with a chronic condition or not, it’s important for all of us to find more ways to be active throughout our day; not only for our physical health but perhaps even more importantly, our mental health. When the mind is “stuck,” depressed or anxious, the body, in an automatic response, usually doesn’t move.

Lately, I have realized just how out of shape I am. Over the past ten years, I have completely released my fitness habits that included Tae Bo at least three days a week, at the corporate gym Mon-Fri, and walking during my lunch break. Working from home doesn’t lend itself to automatic physical movement.

Yesterday my husband convinced me to get out of the house and go for a “walk” in Palos Verdes just up the hill from us. It was a beautiful day, and I was in the mood for an endorphin rush. We got to the trailhead, and I started to worry a bit. This was a hiking trail, not a walking path. I asked Anthony (the hubby) if this was designated an “easy” trail on his hiking app and he said, “yep.”  No problem, I thought, I can do this. We proceeded up the trail, and it didn’t take long to realize that it went straight up. Now I was really worried. I can barely get up the stairs at our house without huffing and puffing, how was I going to make it up the hill without passing out?

Anthony was a trooper and kept a slow pace with me, but there were times when I had to go faster on the inclines, or my knees were going to give out. Soon I was out of breath. It was in that moment, stopping on the side of the trail, looking up and see more “up,” and then looking out over the ocean and seeing Catalina Island in the distance, that I declared it was time to get my ass back in shape. Do you want to do it with me?

By keeping active, even in small ways, we keep our mind engaged and moving forward in a more balanced and peaceful way, and it becomes easier to stay motivated to stay active.

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Here are a few simple, but effective, steps you can add to your day. While each one alone may not seem like a lot, even minutes a day can quickly (and easily) add up to more physical activity without having to give up large blocks of time in your day.

You CAN be More Active at Work

  • Need to catch up with a colleague or have a quick meeting? Have a walking meeting and get those ideas flowing!
  • Deliver messages in person instead of calling or emailing.
  • Instead of a coffee break, take a stretching or walking break and get naturally re-energized. 
  • Set the alarm to remind you to get up from your desk (every hour if you can) and walk or stretch for two to five minutes. 
  • See if you can modify your desk to allow you to stand some of the day. You can burn up to 50% more calories than sitting with that simple change!
  • Replace your office chair with an exercise ball; it requires more effort to stay balanced and helps strengthen your abs.

Keep Moving at Home too

  • Take a walk after dinner with family, friends, neighbors or even the family dog. 
  • Work in your yard or garden.
  • Before putting that milk carton or orange juice container away, do a few arm curls (remember to do each arm)!
  • A recent Nielsen Report revealed we spend over four and half hours a day watching TV (NOT including DVR-watching time); almost 35 hours a week … that’s practically a full-time job! Can’t give up your TV time? Do some sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, stationary bike riding or stretching while watching your favorite shows or movies. Or maybe dust off that jump rope or hula hoop; have some fun!
  • Dance to your favorite music in the living room. Get your family involved too and make it a friendly competition.

A Few Other Ideas to Move More

  • Remember the Sunday drives with Mom and Dad? How about starting a new tradition of taking a walk each Sunday? Explore your town or local hiking trails.
  • If possible, ride your bike to work. Ride the bus? Get off the bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way to work, home or shopping.
  • Looking for some extra motivation to take that walk? How about listening to your favorite audiobook while you’re walking. A good juicy novel will get you out more often! 
  • Volunteer at a shelter and play with the pets or take a dog for a walk.

No matter what steps you decide to take in your quest to be more active, make sure you enjoy what you’re doing because you’re more apt to keep doing it!

Also, with additional activity, you’re also be releasing more endorphins (the natural “feel good” chemicals of the body) which effectively counteract the adverse effects of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and stress; common challenges faced by many of us (including those with PCOS like me).

I commit to at least 30-45 minutes of cycling while I watch the Ellen Degeneres show (she makes me laugh!). Tell me in the comments what you will do to fit more physical movement in your day.

About the Author Corrie Ann

Corrie Ann Gray is a writer, researcher, coach, and cookie enthusiast who lives in Los Angeles, CA. She started the Clean Body Project to share all of her knowledge and resources with others who are interested in running their own experiment into clean holistic living. She is also known as The Renaissance Soul Writer at www.corrieanngray.com.

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