It’s common for a lot of people out there to think you need to dedicate a ton of time in the gym in order to help improve or preserve your health. While dedicated exercise sessions can indeed take up to 60 minutes, there are several less time consuming things you can do on a daily basis to supplement your existing training routine.
#1 Stand on one leg while you brush your teeth.
As long as you (hopefully) brush your teeth every day, this little trick is an absurdly easy way to help preserve hip and knee health. And here’s why.
When you’re in a unilateral stance, different muscles at your hip and core not normally very active in a bilateral stance need to fire in order to keep your pelvis and femur (thigh bone) aligned and stable. Standing on one leg is not hard in the same sense that a heavy squat would be, but it does require smaller stabilizing muscles to fire and put in their share of work.
These smaller stabilizing muscles are often the ones that can get weak over time due to inactivity, so standing on one leg is a nice way to ensure they stay ‘firing’ on a daily basis.
For bonus points, swing your non stance leg in front and behind your stance leg. This will create much more instability, which means your hip and core will need to work that much harder to keep everything steady. This will also get the stabilizing muscles at your ankle and foot firing which will be hugely beneficial for your health in the long run.
#2 Have a seat on the floor.
As a modern society, beds and chairs have pretty much ruined our hip mobility. Because they’re built for convenience and comfort, using them requires zero effort. Everything is built at hip height so you can slide in and out with ease. Unless you’re a seven footer in the NBA, sitting down in today’s world rarely requires you to drop your hips lower than 90 degrees.
You ever hear the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you lose it?” Well this is true when it comes to your body. If you don’t regularly use your muscles, they shrink and get weak. The same applies to joints as well, specifically regarding their full ranges of motion. Chairs, beds, and even toilets have robbed us of the ability to squat low for the sake of convenience and ‘making life easier’.
A super easy way to fix this problem is to simply sit on the floor every now and then. Sitting on the floor (and getting back up) requires you to take your hip and knee joints through much larger ranges of motion compared to sitting in chairs. This added range of motion will help preserve your joint health and keep you feeling mobile for a long time to come.
Plus, depending on how you sit, you can take your joints through different ranges (ex: deep flexion, internal/external rotation, etc), all of which can be beneficial. There’s no right or wrong way, just find some open floor space and take a load off.
Bonus fun fact: studies have been done that indicate individuals who struggle to sit on the floor and stand back up die sooner. Kinda morbid, but very eye opening. You can read more about that here.
#3 Park your car far away from your destination.
Walking is a severely underrated method of exercise that carries with it a ton of benefits. It can serve as a low intensity cardiovascular workout, help stimulate and promote recovery within the body, and even serve as a therapeutic way to relieve stress… all while sparing your joints.
With the growing popularity of fitness trackers, trying to complete 10,000 steps per day is a common goal for many folks. Yet unfortunately, tons of step gathering enthusiasts will go through their daily routines failing to hit this mark. A simple solution to help fix this problem is to simply park your car in the furthest spot possible from your destination.
For some people, finding that elusive first row parking spot is like winning the lottery. First row parking is living the life of luxury isn’t it? You only have to walk 12 feet to get into the building!
In reality, it’s a huge disservice to your body and health. This “added convenience” takes away a golden opportunity to get in a couple extra hundred steps per day. Lots of people probably think this little bit won’t add up. They probably also thought investing in Apple 10 years ago wasn’t worth it.
For context, an additional 300 steps per day (an estimate of how many you’d take by parking far away) adds up to about an additional 109,000 steps per year. That’s about 13 miles. That’s a half marathon.
So there you have it.
3 insanely easy and convenient ways to help preserve your health. And the best part is you won’t even need to adjust your daily routine. As long as you brush your teeth, sit, and drive, you’re good to go!