As humans, we are on a never-ending hamster wheel that demands we get as much done as possible, but it’s time that we all become a little more realistic about what is and isn’t possible through sheer willpower.
Repeat after us: My willpower has limits.
Try as you might, you can’t accomplish world peace (or even your to-do list) within a 24-hour period. Instead, you must employ tricks and tips to stay engaged, motivated, and active on your quest to do it all.
Here, we’ve given you five quick tricks — that is, easy strategies that you can quickly implement — to stay active and involved in that thing called life.
Tip #1: Embark on a Mission to Live Pain-Free
What’s the number one reason people give for not staying active? Pain.
According to the National Institutes of Health, most Americans experience chronic pain. An estimated 25.3 million adults reported pain every day for the preceding three months in a 2012 National Health Interview Survey. Nearly 40 million adults acknowledge suffering from severe pain, which is also a predictor of other health concerns.
Fortunately, there is an effective, easy way to abolish most of your pain: physical therapy. Hands-on therapy from a trained physical therapist or treatments such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation can help alleviate pain and restore muscle and joint function to help you lead a more active lifestyle.
Tip #2: Get Better Sleep
Though it may seem counter-intuitive to say that you need more sleep when you’re trying to stay active, such a statement is accurate.
Sleep disturbances occur in one-third of the US population, and yet sleep is vital for the proper functioning of the body. Physical therapy can help you achieve better sleep and, therefore, achieve a higher degree of activity in your waking hours. Physical therapists are trained in areas critical to sleep, including pain modulation, cardiovascular health, tissue healing, and cognitive functioning. A physical therapist can also provide suggestions for how you can integrate sleep health with overall well being.
Tip #3: Use Interactive Tools
There are a variety of products on the market that will encourage, inspire, and track your physical activity. Research shows that utilizing such products may, indeed, have a favorable impact on your levels of activity. The key to success is to establish daily, weekly, or monthly goals that are easily tracked within the tool. Other strategies that are helpful include:
- Use the tool every single day. Consistency makes something become a habit and habits are notoriously difficult to break.
- Write down your goal. A common figure is 10,000 steps per day, yet it’s worthwhile to check with a medical professional to avoid overextending yourself.
- Encourage your friends and family to use the tools as well. Many trackers have interactive features that allow you to measure your progress against someone else’s. This informal type of comparison can really serve as an effective motivator. Most of us also benefit from having a workout buddy.
- Engage in activities that you enjoy. While tools come with limitations — namely what activities it measures — it is extremely helpful to choose a tracker based on the activities you enjoy. Such activities are easier to maintain over time.
Tip #4: Grab Rover
What they say is true: A dog may be man’s best friend. Or at least a good exercise companion.
The arrival of a new pet, particularly a dog, is an effective way to get owners moving. “Pets need activity, and actually can be your own accountability friend to get at least a short walk in daily. Even if the dog only forces you to get up and let it out without going for a walk, you will have burned more calories than if you sat in front of the television all day.” Your physical therapist may even suggest a dog as part of your treatment plan.
Tip #5: Get Cleaning
Cleaning your house employs a variety of muscle groups and keeps you active. Every step you take and every inch you vacuum helps you stay fit. For an added benefit, squeeze your glutes and abdominal muscles as you’re trailing from room to room.