Americans move a lot less than citizens of other countries. Average daily step counts vary quite a bit around the world: the U.S. ranks 30th, with an average daily step count of 4,774, while Hong Kong comes first, at 6,880 steps per day.1 Outside of counting steps, there are other measures by which we fall behind in terms of physical fitness and exercise. Even though our step count (4,774) is similar to Mexico’s (4,692), the US’s obesity rate is higher: 3 8% (US) compared to 32.4% (Mexico).2
These figures are sobering. Many of us struggle with our weight and activity levels, largely because we are an especially work-obsessed nation. And yet it’s important to our physical and mental health, to our relationships with others, and our overall sense of well-being to be active.
We all know this, but how do we actually put our intentions into actions? It might be easier than you think.
Measure, measure, measure.
All you have to do, really, is measure your activity. Be totally honest with yourself, without judgment.
Measure how much you move. How often are you active? How many times do you work out every week? For how long? What type of workout? How strenuous is the activity?
Count how many steps you take. Some of us drive to work, while other of us might walk well over a mile each way to get there. These steps count for a lot. If you don’t get a chance to move a lot at your job, or during your commute, find reasons to move – during a lunch break, while making a phone call, or just when you need a moment to think.
Finally, measure how much you stand, sit, and move around. Becoming aware of your sedentary activities and your active moving will give you a better picture of how active you are overall.
When you have a better picture of your overall activity levels, improvement will come, slowly but surely. You will find yourself unconsciously trying to up your step counts or number of workouts. This, in turn, will boost your health. Moving helps us stay active, decrease obesity, boost heart health, increases our energy levels.3
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