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10 DIY Hacks for Encouraging Physical Movement at Home

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

Encouraging Physical Movement at Home is important because:

  • At least ¼ of all global cases of breast cancer, colon cancer, and coronary heart disease globally can be traced back to physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle (WHO, 2010)

  • 60% of all adults (18 to 64) do not obtain the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise a week, whereas 80% of the global population of adolescents (5 to 17) are insufficiently getting exercise (WHO, 2020)

  • An adult spends on average 3 to 9 hours sitting, which is a highly sedentary behavior, and a primary reason why physical inactivity rates are so high

(Source: WELL v2, 2018)

Physical movement should therefore be a priority in everyone’s life. In addition to unwanted weight gain, chronic physical inactivity leads to “type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, stroke, dementia and some forms of cancer” (WELL v2, 2018, pg. 99) in the long run.

Furthermore, physical exercise benefits the many systems in our body, such as strengthening our neuromuscular and cardiovascular systems, provides flexibility to our skeletal system and improving our immune system in warding off diseases via the increase of blood circulation containing immunity cells throughout the body.

It should also be emphasized that more and more people are getting less exercise due to quarantine from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We must thus do our part by getting physical exercise to protect our health.

Here are therefore 10 DIY Hacks for Encouraging Physical Movement at Home (from within and outside of) within a reasonable price range:

1) Support Visual Ergonomics for your Workspace

Cost: $50 to $100

Poor ergonomics of a working space has been shown to significantly contribute to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).

To support our visual ergonomics, purchase monitors, height stands and/or arms for screens that are adjustable.

2) Purchase a Desk that allows for Desk Height Flexibility

Cost: $200 to $500

Sit-stand desks allow us to take a break from sitting by allowing us to alternate into a standing position via desk height adjustments.

Standing also allows you to burn at least 25% more calories an hour than sitting. Furthermore, those who have back problems may benefit from a sit-stand desk also.

3) Purchase an Ergonomic Chair at that allows for Seating Flexibility that complies to BIFMA G1-2013

Cost: $150 to $800

The BIFMA G1-2013 is an industry standard guideline for the ergonomics of office chairs. Chairs that are designed to these standards have their height, width and depth appropriately sized to the average human body that works at a desk.

The guideline also provides specs for both arm and back rests, two key components that support our arms, shoulders, spine and back tissues from unwanted pressure and potential injuries.

For these reasons and coupled with the fact that we spend several hours being seated across our lifetime, it justifies the high initial cost of a properly designed ergonomic chair.

4) Purchase a Foot Support item such as a Footrest or an Anti-Fatigue Mat

Cost: $30 to $60

Depending on your preference for standing or sitting, consider purchasing a footrest or an anti-fatigue mat, both of which are designed to keep your feet comfortable upon impact while sitting or standing, respectively.

Long term problems that can result from a lack of foot support include back problems, poor posture and poor blood circulation in the legs.

5) Decorate your Hallways / Corridors / Stairwell spaces

Cost: $100 (average of purchasable items)

Do not underestimate transitional spaces at home.

Decorate them with music, art, plants and lighting so that they encourage you to get up during your breaks. Views to the outside and with some moderate lighting (215 lux) helps also.

6) Get 30 minutes of moderate Physical Activity a day

Cost: $0 to $50

30 minutes of exercise each day has tremendous benefits for our physical, emotional and mental health.

If gyms are closed due to a shutdown, consider getting into bodyweight training and resistance band training. There are many ways to alter the many different training parameters to make it exciting and engaging. A pullup bar is worth investing in also.

7) Identify Off-site Activity spaces within a 800m walking distance

Cost: $0

Knowing what additional Activity spaces within your vicinity is important because it empowers us to maximize our fitness opportunities.

Open Google Map and identify Off-site Activity spaces within a 800m walking radius from your home and save them as favorites onto your map. Strategize if you can utilize the following outdoors spaces for your workouts when indoor facilities are closed, including:

  1. Green spaces

  2. Recreational fields / Courts

  3. Gym / Fitness centers

  4. Hiking / Biking trails

  5. Outdoor fitness zones

  6. Play spaces for children

8) Purchase a Membership that encourages Physical Activity

Cost: $60 to $200

Consider joining a bike sharing program in your local city or town. An annual fee for such programs are typically cheaper than getting ones that are monthly or seasonal.

Also, make use of those indoor facilities (while wearing a mask on and physical distancing) such as gyms and other indoor fitness classes whenever lockdowns are not occurring and when it is safe to do so.

9) Purchase a Bicycle

Cost: $100 to $600

Owning your own bike is freeing. Biking is beneficial during a shutdown because it strengthens our cardiorespiratory system while also allowing us to travel long distances without having to be in a potentially virus-ridden space.

Incorporate a basket in the front or in the back if it makes your grocery runs easier.

10) Purchase and make use of Wearable SMART Technologies & Apps

Cost: $80 to $400

Wearable SMART Technologies like the Apple Watch encourage us to stay active by holding us accountable to a challenge, thereby making exercise more appealing and engaging.

Such devices typically contain sensors that measure our movement via an accelerometer and a gyroscope. When combined with a touchscreen and a well-designed app, both the hardware and software enables you to track and display your health and activity levels in real-time.

Some default Apple apps such as Activity and Workouts are helpful and easy to use. For additional apps that span other operating software, please see the recommended list here.


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