Purposeful Inefficiency

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Purposeful Inefficiency

You don’t have to be a gym rat to add movement into your day.

This article talks about 24 ways to exercise without the gym. There are some obvious suggestions here, like outdoor activities that count as exercise.

Since I spend most of my days indoors, chained to a computer, I was especially interested in ideas for how to get movement in while I’m working or doing chores at home. I recently learned about a concept called purposeful inefficiency.

Just to backtrack a little, I bought a basic Fitbit tracker a few months ago to keep track of my daily steps. The standard recommendation is 10,000 steps a day, which equals five miles or about 8 Km. I knew that if I set my goal for 10,000 steps, I would get discouraged quickly, because I haven’t figured out how to get that many steps into an office job.

So I set the goal to something that was attainable. And then, every time I hit the goal for three days in a row, I updated the goal to 100 steps higher. That way, I am very connected to the progress I’m making in walking more, but it’s so gradual, I don’t feel like I’m straining to meet the daily goal.

Sometimes, in the evening, if I’m less than 500 steps away from my step goal for the day, I’ll pace around my house holding my cellphone, with the Fitbit app open. It fascinates me to watch the ticker count step-by-step.

Now, what was I saying about purposeful inefficiency? Since I’m counting steps every day, I want to increase the number of steps I’m taking around the house and in the office without necessarily going outside for a walk.

So let’s say I’m emptying the dishwasher. Normally, I would stack all the dishes together and put them in the cabinet in one move. But if I want to be purposefully inefficient, I will take one dish at a time, walk to the cabinet, put it in, walk back to the dishwasher, take another plate, walk to the cabinet, put it in, and so on. You get the idea. I’m still emptying the dishwasher, but in a purposefully inefficient way that gets in a lot more steps.

Same thing with any household task like laundry or cooking. I’ll go to the spice cabinet multiple times instead of just getting all the spices I need for a certain dish one at a time.

This idea also works in the office. Let’s say I have a bunch of books to put back. I can be purposefully inefficient by carrying them into the library and reshelving them one by one.

One other thought about sneaking more steps into my day. When I have a phone call, I talk on my cell and pace my office. In a 10-minute call, I can add a few hundred steps without taking a single moment of extra time.

These are just a few tips for adding more movement into your day without investing in a gym membership. I hope they work for you.

Author: Rebeca Espinoza

Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon. You can find her on Google+ or at rebeca@spatzmedical.com.[:]

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