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Wandering Traveler

Staying Active:

​In a nutshell:

  • Staying active through the day has tremendous health benefits.

  • Try to use simple measures such as walking, taking the stairs, or standing to be more active during the day. 


Our lives in general have become significantly more sedentary. Many of us spend hours seated behind computer screens during various meetings. Cars and public transportation have replaced walking, and automation has taken away many labor chores that we used to do. Our busy schedules have also led to fewer numbers of people who exercise. These changes have contributed to many health consequences such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and bad posture. So far we have focused on diet, but a healthy lifestyle is more than just what we eat; it is also what we do. 

Many people associate staying active with exercising. But we know that staying active is more than just exercising. Exercising is very important, but just as important is remaining physically active throughout the rest of the day. Research has shown that the most beneficial lifestyles for our memory, bones and cardiovascular systems are the following lifestyles in order:

  1. Those who exercise and remain active throughout the day.

  2. Those who exercise but are sedentary the rest of the day.

  3. Those who do not exercise and are sedentary throughout the day. 

So it's best to exercise regularly, but staying active the rest of the day is also important.


For some of you this is an easy task; if your daily work is labor-intensive such as working in construction, working in the restaurant industry, being a flight attendant or any other job that requires you to be on your feet and constantly moving, then you do not need to make any changes. 


But if your daily work involves prolonged hours of sitting and inactivity, then you have to be more mindful and implement changes that encourage you to become more active.  As primary care doctors, we spend most of our working time behind the computer screen looking at patient data or sitting in exam rooms talking to patients. So we make a conscious effort to be more active by standing and walking as much as we can.  

Co Workers

Here we will go over some suggestions to help you achieve this goal. The overall theme is to use your legs as much as you can:

  • Parking your car at the farthest spot rather than the closest. So, if you are not restricted by a physical or medical ailment, stop going round and round the parking lot to find that perfect first spot next to the door. You are cheating yourself. 

  • Once inside, try to maximize your walking rather than minimize it:

    • Set your default printer to the farthest away.

    • Walk to your coworkers' office instead of sending them a message.

    • Try to use the bathroom one floor up or down. Babak reports using the bathroom every 3 hours, a sign of good hydration. So, during a 9-hour work day he climbs the stairs at least 3 times. 

  • Unless restricted by joint issues, ALWAYS use the stairs instead of the elevator. 

  • Try to schedule a short walk around the office/home every hour. This could constitute just two minutes of standing up, stretching and walking down the hall. 

  • You can even do some exercises such as a few squats, lunges or push ups every couple of hours at work.  You can do this in a very small space where you are standing. There is no need to have a fancy office or gym.  

  • If you have to sit for a prolonged time, try getting a standing desk and stand half the day.  If you cannot afford one, try a makeshift standing desk (we put our laptops on top of a book shelf). But avoid standing ALL day, as this can harmful to your back.

  • Next time you take your kids to a game try and do a few laps of walking around the field instead of sitting the whole time. You will be surprised how many other parents will be impressed and join you. 

Office Space

You can see from this list that the idea is to try and mindfully increase your activity as much as you can by making small but important changes in your routine daily life. An active lifestyle does not mean being active every second, rather moving around and increasing your heart rate by just the smallest amount a few times a day: small changes with tremendous cumulative health benefits. 

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