Have you thought about improving your fitness by simply making your day a little harder? While many people are dedicated to a consistent fitness regime, exercise can be hard for others due to lack of time, discipline, or both.

The Make Your Day a Little Harder movement, which was started in Canada by Dr. Mike Evans, is his solution to getting people off their seats. It promotes incorporating small lifestyle changes that make life a little more physically demanding and counteract the hazards of sitting too much, which have been compared to those of smoking. Research suggests that people who spend most of their days in a chair are more likely to be obese, have heart problems, cancer and die younger.

Changing behavior isn’t easy, so instead of making major changes, Make Your Day a Little Harder, suggests making small tweaks to your daily routine that can be done without making the commitment to going to the gym every day. Some ideas include:

  • Park as far away from the grocery store, office, or mall as possible.
  • Take a walk after dinner.
  • Don’t sit in the car on your phone. While you’re talking take a few laps around the block or the parking lot. Get out and get moving.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Before you sit down on the couch or at your desk, do 5 calf raises.
  • Add more movement to your household chores.
  • Before picking something up, do 5 squats. 
  • Leave work or the mall on the other side of the building and walk to your car to get more steps in.
  • When you’re watching TV, do squats, sit ups, or planks during commercial breaks.

With life expectancy continues to increase, people are not necessarily living healthier, more active lives.  There are many simple ways to improve your fitness, and taking small steps each day can lead to a healthier future.

Authored by Zach Meeker, Research Assistant for Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center

Click here for full podcast playlist.