What would you rather do? Sit or walk?
The answer to this question is revealing. It tells you whether you have truly reached fitness momentum and are on your way to a lifestyle of fitness. Sitting is easy. Sitting is relaxing. Sitting can even be fun when accompanied by another enjoyable activity like eating out, spending time with people you love, and attending a ballgame or concert.
But, sitting a lot and for long periods of time can also be dangerous. Movement is the antidote to this danger. But, what would you rather do…sit or walk?
We live in a culture that tries to make sitting our default. I’m no cultural anthropologist, but I suspect this obsession with moving less is much more a recent development in history. Through most of history travel was done primarily by walking. The daily activities of life required walking. And, social interaction didn’t happen unless someone was willing and able to walk to gather with others.
I’m certainly not advocating a return to those days because we clearly have some advantages that our ancestors didn’t have and I”m not willing to give those up. But, I think it’s safe to say we don’t move as much. And, I also believe we have lost something as a result.
For many years now, I have been wearing a Fitbit and tracking my steps. I know there is a direct connection to better fitness and health as a result. I also know, that given a choice I will almost always choose walking over sitting. It’s now my default activity without even having to think about it.
As I write this blog article, I’m sitting next to a window in my home office and it’s hard for me to not stop typing and just go for a walk. Put simply, I feel more pleasure walking than I do sitting. That’s also one of the downsides to walking as much as I do. The most popular blog article on this website is about that very topic.
Changing your default from sitting to walking is an investment in your current and future health, but it won’t happen overnight. It requires reaching a fitness capacity where walking is actually more comfortable than sitting. This week’s companion podcast was recorded as I was walking around Washington DC. I spent all day walking the city and ended with over 32,000 steps on my Fitbit.
I did take a few sit breaks for breakfast, lunch, and a glass of ice tea, but I spent most of the day walking. I started at Union Station and walked to the White House and then over to the Lincoln Memorial. I headed back to Ebeneezers Coffee near Union Station and then walked over to the Navy Yard area where the Nationals were playing before returning to near Union Station where my car was parked.
Walking that much for me is fun! It’s also healthy!
You too can transition from sitting to walking as your default. Commit to walking every day. Make it a timed commitment, such as ten minutes a day, or use your Fitbit to set a daily goal. As you build a walking habit your fitness capacity gradually increases. As that happens movement, like walking becomes easier and more pleasurable. That fitness momentum will eventually change your default activity away from sitting.
And then, one day you’ll notice (without thinking about it) you’re getting up to walk when you used to choose sitting. And, that will be a good day.
To help you get started on building a new walking habit I’ve put together a free 30 Day Fitness Challenge. This will help you set a small daily goal that’s just right for YOU and also make a commitment to reaching your goal for 30 days. This will give you a great start to a new, life-changing, fitness journey!