Lack of physical activity is one of the most severe and damaging characteristic of our modern industrial lifestyle. The human body needs an order of magnitude more physical activity than it typically gets.
Mitigating our increased sedentarity
One way to mitigate this is to consciously look for ways to not only incorporate movement in your day, but each time to try and get the most out of it, which means maximizing effort.
You take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, fine, but then try to climb the stairs 2 steps by 2 steps instead of step by step. Or you’re going down the stairs: same thing, skip a step and try to land quietly to absorb the shock with your lower body muscles.
Carrying groceries? Same thing, carry them by hand but go the extra mile and instead of minimizing efforts, try and carry them with your arms bent, either at a 90 degrees angle or fully bent. Do you know what fully bent works on? A static hold at the top of a pull-up, which is part of the progression towards full pull-ups.
You accumulate training, with no training time
Individually, each single occasion will not make a difference. But if you adopt this approach throughout all the occasions in the day, it will make a difference, both short- and long-term.
And since you’re just maximizing the physical stimuli you get during activities you have to do in any case, you don’t spend any time on getting these additional stimuli, you just spend more efforts during the time you have to spend on that activity. This is a typical example of interstices training.
One of my favorite examples is wearing a backpack: the most efficient way to wear a backpack is to wear it as it was designed to be worn: on your back. So you walk around with a backpack strapped to your back, which doesn’t give you much physical stimuli.
What if you instead walked around by carrying your backpack in your arms? On your shoulder? You’re still spending the same amount of time walking to your destination, except now you’re getting actual physical benefits out of it.
Be creative and stay on the lookout for occasions during your day where you can increase your physical efforts without any other costs than increasing your efforts.
This will take mental focus and efforts at first, but if you do it diligently for your usual activities, it will soon become a habit you do automatically.