Anyone who wears a fitness tracker likely knows — right this moment — just how many steps they've taken so far today. Believe it or not, walking in place is a great way to meet your step goals while burning extra calories and staying active throughout the day.
Sitting is the New Smoking
"Sitting is the new smoking" — have you heard this expression yet? This line seems to be all over the media lately, and rightfully so. According to a January 2015 study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, sedentary time is associated with higher risk for certain diseases, mortality and hospitalization in adults. This is quite alarming, considering anyone with a computer desk job or ride share job (like Uber or Lyft) spends the majority of their waking hours sitting.
If higher risk of disease, death and hospitalization isn't enough to motivate you to get up from your desk to stand up or march in place for a bit, perhaps weight loss might provide some inspiration. According to Harvard Health Publishing, you burn 30 percent more calories when you're standing than when you're sitting. Perhaps it's time to invest in that stand-up desk?
Marching in Place is Exercise
The good news is that marching in place is considered low-impact exercise and it does help burn calories, especially for people with obesity. According to the American Council on Exercise, marching in place is a great method for obese individuals to get cardio in without the risk of injury that's associated with high-impact activity.
Trainers agree that marching in place is a good baseline for those new to fitness — and the progression levels for this exercise come naturally. Once you have marching in place down and are ready for an added challenge, try incorporating arm movements, up and down overhead, as you march to incorporate full-body movement. And once you build up confidence, you can increase your intensity and turn your march into a light jog in place. Remember to listen to your body — we all have different levels of fitness and are challenged by different levels of activity.
High Knees Exercise
Even High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises can be achieved with minimal space (and no gym equipment) by turning your jog into high knees in place. To accomplish this, up your intensity level and drive your knees up toward your chest in your stationary jog. To do this, you'll need to engage your abdominals and pump your arms for momentum. Quickly, you'll notice your heart rate climb as you become breathless and sweaty.
HIIT training involves working at 80 percent or higher of your maximum effort, which results in something called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which allows your body to burn calories in a more efficient manner. To try a HIIT workout with high knees, start with short bursts of maximum high-knee intensity followed by longer periods of recovery. Try 30 seconds of intense high knees, followed by 60 or 90 seconds of slower marching recovery and then repeat. The best part is that this requires minimal space and can even be done at home or in the office!
- StartStanding.org: “Sitting is the New Smoking”
- Annals of Internal Medicine: “Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “Too much sitting linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature death”
- American Council on Exercise: “Tips for Training Clients Impacted by Obesity”
- American Council on Exercise: “7 Things to Know About Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)”