How to stay fit and active indoors

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Did you know that if you don’t move around much, you are more likely to get diabetes and heart disease? In fact, people who don’t move around often have a 22-49% higher chance of dying early*.

If you walk less than 1,500 steps a day and sit for more than 12 hours a day, you are at risk. This could be people who work from home, stay-at-home parents, or people who are new to a place with cold winters.

It can be difficult to stay active when you have a lot to do and the weather is cold. But with some planning and dedication, you can add simple activities to your day even when you’re inside. If you also eat healthy, drink enough water, and get enough sleep, you can stay fit and healthy this season.

How much activity do we need?

Adults, including seniors, should do at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. It can be anything from intense exercise to everyday activities like cleaning the house, gardening, or taking the stairs. According to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, these activities can help you stay healthy.

If you don’t have time to walk or exercise, or if you belong to one of the groups mentioned above, there are still ways to reduce the bad effects of not being active.

Healthy 24 hours poster

How to stay healthy why staying indoors

Important: If you have any health problems, it is important to talk to your doctor before you start a new diet or exercise plan. This is especially true if you plan to do any activities that require a lot of energy.

  1. Indoor power walking

    Have you heard of the 10,000-step challenge? This is a great goal to aim for every day. You can make it part of your normal activities. For example, you can walk around your house, go up and down the stairs, or walk while talking on the phone or listening to a podcast. If you have time to go out, you can take your kids to walk around the mall. It will help to have a pedometer or fitness tracker. This can be a watch like Fitbit, or you can download a free app to your phone like SpeedApp (for iPhone) or Pedometer (for Android).

  2. Do “exercise snacks”

    These are short activities that you can do every one to four hours to break up inactivity. You can jog in place, climb the stairs, do jumping jacks, burpees, or even have a dance break. It’s a great way to add activity to your work day. You can set alarms on your phone to remind you throughout the day. Exercise snacks have been shown to improve your heart and breathing health. They can also give you energy boosts that make you more productive.

  3. Transform your screen time into active time

    If you like to watch shows to relax, make it more active by walking in place or standing up for one to five minutes every one to two hours. You can also use your treadmill or stationary bike while watching. It will help to use a headset so you can move freely.

  4. Get a standing desk

    If you are working from home, you can benefit from using a standing desk. It can help reduce back pain and leg cramps. You can also do leg curls, stretches, and other exercise snacks while standing. If you want more exercise options, put a treadmill or a pedal exerciser under your standing desk.

  5. Meditate

    This doesn’t look active, but it’s like a workout for your mental health. All you need is 10 minutes of quiet time. You can do it when you wake up or at the end of the day. It’s important to do it regularly. Meditation has been found to reduce stress, improve focus, prevent memory loss, and increase self-awareness. An easy way to start is to use a YouTube video as a guide. Here’s a great example:

    10-Minute Meditation for Beginners, Goodful.

Let’s have a healthy 2023!
Sources: *Health stats from Annals of Internal Medicine: Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults; and National Library of Medicine: Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: systematic review and meta-analysis; How to get 10,000 steps a day at home and outside, Humairah Irfan, Muslim Moms; Unique ways to stay fit indoors, DIY Active; Top 5 negative side effects of a sedentary lifestyle, Dr. Satish Vayuvegula; and Snack your way to better health with bite-sized breaks, Scott Lear, The Conversation. Accessed December 15, 2022.

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Community Resources

For more tips on nutrition and physical activity by age, go to Canada’s Food Guide (Physical activity and healthy eating) and Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines.

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