Exercise is a very important part of weight loss and of leading a healthy lifestyle in general. It allows you to burn calories, it keeps your metabolism healthy, it keeps you fit, it helps you to maintain good cardiovascular health, and so on.
But there are times and circumstances where it simply isn’t possible for you to exercise. For example, when you’re pregnant or have some condition where your doctor advises against exercise, when you have some type of significant injury, when you’re recovering from surgery, or when you’re incapacitated in some other way.
Notice this list didn’t include when you don’t feel like exercising? I’m talking about real reasons for not being able to exercise – laziness isn’t a real reason. When you really can’t exercise, what then? What’s the alternative?
The alternative is what I call Routine Activity Level.
Routine Activity Level refers to the day-to-day movement of your normal, everyday lifestyle – at home, at work, at social events, traveling – everywhere. Whatever constitutes part of your regular life.
Many years ago average Routine Activity Levels were a lot higher than they are today. People had to work harder, undertake many more difficult and menial manual tasks as part of their everyday lives, and walk a lot more to get around.
Nowadays, with our modern conveniences such as cars, transport systems, machines, computers, delivery services, and so on, moving less has become the norm. As a result, we have naturally become lazier and more overweight, thanks to our more sedentary lifestyle.
This is one reason why nowadays exercise is more important than ever.
Our bodies were designed for movement, and they thrive on it.
Where exercise is impossible however, an alternative for burning as many calories and moving as much as possible is to increase your average Routine Activity Level as much as you can.
To do that you have to take the initiative to become consciously aware of opportunities that come up in your everyday life to become more active. Each opportunity may only be a few minutes, or even less than a minute, but together they can easily add up to an hour or more of moderate-level activity each day.
Over time they become part of your everyday lifestyle habits and the accumulated effect over weeks and months will significantly benefit your weight loss and health.
At first you’ll probably find increasing your Routine Activity Level to be somewhat of a chore, since you’ll constantly have to be thinking about ways of increasing your movement and physical activity throughout your day. Over time however, it will become a natural part of your lifestyle and you’ll find yourself having a high your Routine Activity Level without even thinking about it.
Remember that each opportunity to increase your movement only needs to be a small thing, lasting a minute or even less. As I said, they add up.
Here are some very simple ideas for increasing your level of daily movement:
- Get on or off your bus a few stops away from your home or destination and walk the rest of the way.
- Never use elevators or escalators – always take the stairs.
- Take a trolley and walk to the shops rather than driving.
- If you must drive to the shops, park far away from the entrance.
- Whenever you walk, walk at a brisk pace rather than a leisurely one.
- Take up an activity such as gardening or bowling.
- Get into the habit of taking the kids or the dog to the park, throw a ball or Frisbee around or fly a kite.
- Wash the car by hand, don’t have it done for you.
- Mow the lawn yourself.
- Wash some clothing by hand.
I’m sure that you can think of many, many more.
You’ll find it quite a challenge however, to know whether you’re making enough of an effort to increase your activity level, and just how much of a difference it’s making to your daily calorie expenditure. That’s why a device such as a Caltrac Calorie Counter is ideal for monitoring this.
The Caltrac is a small electronic device that clips to your clothing at the waist and measures your movements constantly throughout the day. You need to enter some personal information such as your height, weight, age and sex into the unit, so that it can calculate the number of calories you burn as a result of your movements every day.
It updates your calorie burn value every few minutes, so that at any time during the day you can see how you’re progressing so far and make adjustments if necessary. You may even choose to go for a walk to bump up your calorie burn at any point.
The best way to make use of a calorie counter is to wear it for a few days to get an idea of what your calorie burn is for your normal, current lifestyle, before starting to increase your Routine Activity Level. Start implementing changes and set yourself attainable goals – for example burning 100 more calories each day, then 200 and maybe even 300 or more.
As I said, these add up.
Even by burning just 200 extra calories a day, that equates to fat loss of 1.75 pounds per month!
All without exercising!!
The great thing about a calorie counter is that it’s a constant reminder of whether you’re making enough of an effort each day – so there are no surprises at any time. Once you’ve become accustomed to your new lifestyle however you most likely won’t even need it anymore.
Even so, it would be a good idea to wear it once in a while anyhow, just to check yourself. It’s not difficult to unknowingly slip back into old, lazy habits.
Although boosting your Routine Activity Level is a great strategy to implement when you’re not able to exercise, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t use it while you are able to exercise as well, just to give your weight loss that extra kick along!