Living an active lifestyle is key to a healthy and fulfilling life. Whether it’s walking, running, lifting weights, or playing sports, staying active can help you maintain your physical and mental health.
But for some people, finding the motivation to exercise regularly can be difficult. In this article, we’ll explore what makes an active lifestyle and provide 10 ways that you can become more active to improve your overall health and well-being.
Stick around till the end, where I’ll answer some of your frequently asked questions.
What makes an active lifestyle?
To lead an active life, you must meet your body’s daily physical demands. This can be compared to having a balanced diet; you must get the right amount of fiber, protein, and healthy fats every day.
Just like with nutrition, creating an active lifestyle means that you move your body, do weight-bearing movements, and increase your heart rate, each day. I prefer to think of this as a comprehensive checklist or categories for movement.
The movement checklist includes
- Leisure movements like walking, cleaning the house, and yoga.
- Strength training like weight lifting, bodyweight exercise, and CrossFit.
- Cardiovascular training like running, bike riding, and hiking.
By doing so, not only will you feel revitalized but also have much less chance of developing chronic diseases including heart disease or diabetes.
10 ways you can become more active?
There are countless ways you become more active. Here are my top ten ways that I become and say more active:
1. Go for more walks:
Walking is an excellent way to increase your daily physical activity and improve your overall health and well-being.
In a recent meta-analysis (study of studies) looking at nearly 50,000 people that walked either 3,000, 5,000, 7,000, or 10,000. Those who walked 7,000 or 10,000 steps a day experienced a 40-50% decrease in mortality risk (risk of death) compared to those who walk 3,000 or 5,000.
Pro Tip: Schedule a 10 min walk after each meal. This will help improve your digestion and helps break up your physical activity throughout the day. This schedule has made it so on average I hit about 9,000 steps per day for the last year.
Click here to read more about how to incorporate more steps throughout your day
2. Join a workout class:
Joining a group exercise class can be both fun and challenging. Working out with others can make it easier to stay motivated, as the classes often create a positive atmosphere.
A study called Effects of Group Fitness Classes on Stress and Quality of Life of Medical Students stated:
“Participation in regular group fitness classes led to a statistically significant decrease in perceived stress and an increase in physical, mental, and emotional QOL compared with exercising regularly on one’s own or not engaging in regular exercise”
As a dietitian and creator of online content, I am often alone in my workspace. I enjoy attending boxing classes at my local gym to beat the solitude blues. Every time I am done with a workout, I feel relieved, energized, and happy.
3. Hire an online personal trainer:
Unless you are a fitness junky, chances are you only know some basic exercises. While there is nothing wrong with that, you won’t get too far if you don’t know what to do.
Investing in a personal trainer can be incredibly advantageous. They are trained to craft an exercise routine that fits your unique physique, and they not only give you feedback but provide much-needed accountability so you remain on track throughout your fitness journey.
4. Get a Bike
Creating an environment that is conducive to physical activity can be a key factor in living a more active lifestyle. An easy way to do this is by investing in a bike for commuting or leisurely rides around the neighborhood.
Over the years, I used my bike to supplement my active lifestyle, and it has been one of the best investments I’ve ever made. During the season of summer and spring, I love to ride around trails near my home. Additionally, I take pleasure in journeying into Denver for night rides whenever possible.
5. Standing Desk
Starting each week with 168 hours, we’re still left with 128 precious hours after eight hours of sleep. Of those, 40 are allocated to work – one-third of our weekly time spent sitting at a desk.
One way to break free of sedentary life is to invest in a standing desk. Standing desks are adjustable, allowing you to switch between standing and sitting. This promotes a more active lifestyle, and you can also get a walking treadmill to incorporate more movement into your workday.
6. Park further away
Finding any opportunity to be more active is a win! An easy way to do this is to park as far away as possible. Choose the furthest spot whether you are at the grocery store, mall, or work parking lot.
My grandmother taught me this lesson, whenever we could not find a parking spot, she would always say, “looks like we are getting our exercise today.”
7. Get a Dog
Getting a dog is a great way to become more active. Not only can dogs provide companionship and love, but they also give us the perfect reason to get out of the house and explore nature.
Having a dog forces us to be more active in our daily routine because they need to be taken out for walks, runs, and hikes. This is a great way to get fresh air while increasing your heart rate.
I recently got a new puppy, a Belgian Malinois named Kita (Key-ta) and if you are familiar with the breed, you know she does not do well with lack of training or exercise, which makes me more active.
8. Subscribe to a Fitness Youtube Channel
Nowadays, we have nearly unlimited access to information. One of the best ways to stay on track with your fitness goals is by subscribing to a fitness Youtube channel.
Fitness YouTubers post videos for all kinds of exercises, from kettlebell workouts to yoga.
When I do not have enough time to drive to the gym, I will throw on either a kettlebell workout from Juice and Toya or a yoga workout from Yoga With Adrian and blast a 20-30 workout in my living room.
9. Get some workout equipment
Working out does not always have to be at the gym or outdoors. Investing in home workout equipment is a great way to stay active even when you cannot attend the gym.
Things like a jump rope, kettlebells, resistance bands, and a pair of dumbells are great pieces of equipment that provide endless possibilities for an active lifestyle.
Personally, I get away with the following equipment:
- A pair of 20-pound dumbbells
- 15lb and 35lb kettlebell
- Jump rope
It does not have to be fancy; it just has to get the job done.
10. Have a mobility routine
In today’s day and age, where we sit in the car, sit at work, and sit to go to the bathroom, it’s common for many of us to suffer from poor mobility. Coming from someone who considers themselves an active lifestyle – mobility is key.
A daily routine of stretching and foam rolling can break up sitting patterns and help you take each joint through the full range of motion.
Personally, I like to work on my mobility at night while waiting for TV. I will typically use the following routine.
- 90:90 hip stretch
- 90:90 Windshield Wipers
- Romanian deadlifts – hold the stretch
- 1 min squats – Sit in the hole of a squat for one minute
- The greatest hip opener – From Squat University
Frequently asked questions
What stops people from being active?
Most people view time as the biggest obstacle to an active lifestyle. Prioritizing your health and wellness can help overcome this belief. Take a moment to evaluate how much of your day is genuinely being used to better yourself.
Is 10,000 steps a day considered active?
Staying active involves more than just taking 10,000 steps a day. You should also do activities that raise your heart rate and add resistance, like HIIT, weightlifting, yoga, or a brisk walk. These activities help keep you fit, healthy, and relieve stress.
How do I start being active again?
Restarting your fitness routine after taking some time off can feel like a mental and physical battle. However, it’s important to remember that the first week or two may be tough, but you will eventually get into the swing of things.
Why do I have no motivation to exercise?
Exercise may be uncomfortable at first, but it’s worth it. The temporary unease is replaced by a sense of empowerment when you see what your body can achieve. Remember how much better you’ll feel afterward!
The key to a more active lifestyle is remembering how much better you’ll feel afterward.
Whether you are simply going for a 10-minute walk, doing a HIIT routine, or hiring an online personal trainer – any activity is better than none.
Additionally, starting slow and gradually increasing the difficulty of your workouts is the best way to stay motivated and ensure you’re on track with reaching your goals.
Don’t forget that taking the time to care for your body and mind is one of the most important investments you can make.
Now it is time to get after it!
Let me know in the comments some of your favorite ways to live a healthy lifestyle.
Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.
Noah Quezada is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in Denver, Colorado. Over the course of more than a decade, he has gained extensive experience in helping clients manage their weight through in-person sessions. Noah is also the 2023 President of the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.