Before lockdown, my evenings were quite busy and relatively active. Whether that be socialising, playing sport or running errands, most evenings consisted of some sort of activity. Whether many of these activities could be classed as “exercise” is debatable, but it wasn’t often that I was sat on my backside in an evening. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have been forced to stay indoors and most of my evening activities are no longer available. This means that I’ve gone from being quite busy in the evenings to almost nothing, developing a mild addiction to Netflix (other streaming services are available) in the process.
Also, due to working from home now, I am spending more time sat down and in front of the computer than I ever have before, only getting up to eat, drink or use the toilet. Although I am quite active at the weekends, from Monday to Friday I’m sat down for the majority of my working day, as well as easily clocking up 4 or 5 hours on the sofa in an evening.
I realised that I needed to make a change, so have come up with a micro change for both my working day and in the evenings. I am going to set an alarm on my phone for every hour from 10am to 5pm, which is 8 alarms each working day. This is simply my cue to walk up and down the stairs. I will aim to do the same between episodes of whichever TV series I am binge watching in the evenings, up until 10pm. Meaning as a bare minimum, I’ll be moving every hour for 12 hours of each working day.
I’m hoping this may motivate me to do a little more at certain times, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself to do any extra. This is merely the minimum amount of activity I need to achieve to avoid long periods of being sedentary. Hopefully, this will allow me to clock up a few additional steps, help to improve my posture by breaking up the long periods of time spent hunched over in front of my computer as well as allowing my eyes and brain a small rest from the screen.
As always, I have given this a go before posting it as my weekly micro change, and I have to say that this has been incredibly easy to implement. For me to walk from the kitchen where I am working, through the hallway and to the top of the stairs and back takes just over 50 steps. I am doing this every hour from 10am to 10pm, so 12 times each day as a minimum.
More often than not, I have found myself either travelling up and down the stairs more than once or completing a few squats at the top. Maybe this is because being more active is at the forefront of my mind at the moment or that I’m subconsciously trying to make the trip to the top of the stairs more worthwhile. Either way, it’s motivating me to do even more than I planned, so that can only be a good thing. I have also noticed myself being more focused when I sit back down in front of my work and I’m getting less distracted compared to before. Even though my hourly steps only take a minute or two to complete, it seems to help my mind rest and reset, allowing me to be more productive in my work time.
Although the short-term benefits of this micro change have already started to take effect, it thought it would be useful to try and quantify the long term benefits too. So, here goes:
I am now climbing the stairs a minimum of 12 times each day more than usual, taking around 50 extra steps each time. This is an extra 600 steps each day. I’m only focusing on this micro change from Monday to Friday, so I’ll be taking an additional 3,000 steps each week, minimum. This works out as an extra 156,000 steps per year. For the average person, It is generally accepted than 10,000 steps will burn 400-500 calories. More often than not, I have been doing more steps than the minimum, so I’ll select 500 calories per 10,000 steps on this occasion. This works out to be around 2.5lbs of fat over a year, simply by walking up and down the stairs each hour.
It’s worth bearing in mind that this week’s micro change was mainly implemented to break up my long periods of sitting, rather than being focused on significantly increasing my activity and calorie output. Bearing that in mind, I am pleasantly surprised that such a small change can lead to over 150,000 extra steps and burn over 2lbs of fat, as well as giving my body and brain a small rest from a computer, improving my posture and helping me become more focused with my work.
To read about my other micro changes click on the links below
If you would like some support to make healthy lifestyle changes One You Lincolnshire can support you to become Smoke Free, help you to Drink Less, Move More, Eat Well and Lose Weight. For more information see https://www.oneyoulincolnshire.org.uk/lincolnshire-residents
Chris Laming, Physical Activity Coach
June 19, 2020